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Description: Military acronym for "Return to Base"
In the early days of radio communications, connections were poor and static often ruled the airwaves. Everyday conversations could prove difficult, or you might not have time to spit out everything you want to say. The solution was to come up with a sort of spoke shorthand that could be spoken over the radio to convey messages.
RTB, short for Return to Base is one of those verbal shorthand words. But what does it mean, really?
RTB is not the same thing as "retreat!" or "fall back". It's not an indicator of urgency or emergency on its own. It's simply an order to come home. Patrols searching the area might be ordered to RTB. Or they might be needed to reinforce a base in anticipation.
RTB is also not to be confused with RV--not a recreational vehicle, but rather a command to rendezvous, or meet up.
And there's also RTO, a radio operator. This is the person most likely to be sending or receiving the RTB or RV command.
ROE, or Rules of Engagement--pre-made instructions for when force is authorized to be used against the enemy--might include instructions for when to RTB, for example, after engaging in combat.
And finally, in the analog radio days, ART might sound a bit like RTB. An ART is a USAF Alarm Response Team--a squad of Security Forces that head out when alarms sound on Priority Resources.