If you’ve ever served in the military or in law enforcement, you have undoubtedly heard the phrase “I got your six”, and probably already knows what it means.

But many civilians have come across this phrase, too.

What does “I got your six” mean, and where did it originate from?

What Does “I Got Your Six” Mean?

“I got your six” essentially means that “I’ve got your back” and is used throughout the military, law enforcement, and even by civilians.

Essentially, it means “I’ve got you covered”, “I’m backing you up”, so there is no need to worry because I’m there to help out, and you’ll be safe with me there.

But how did “I got your back” come to mean this?

Origins of “I Got Your Six”

“I Got Your Six” originated from World War I American fighter pilots.

As the military use a clock format to refer to position, six o’clock is therefore directly behind the fighter pilot – i.e. the rear of an aircraft.

So if a fighter pilot said this to a fellow fighter pilot, it meant that they had them covered, so the enemy couldn’t come up from behind and shoot their plane down.

Despite originally being used by fighter pilots in World War I, today “I got your six” is used by all fields of the military, as well as civilians.

“I Got Your Six” Variations

There are several variations of “I’ve got your six”.

  • ‘Got Your Six’

“Got your six” means that the other person is covering your back.

  • “Take Care of Your Own Six”

While “Take care of your own six” can mean the other person has got your back, it generally refers to how the person should monitor and be aware of their entire surroundings.

  • “Check Your Six”

As the rear of an aircraft is a very vulnerable position, as it is where the enemy attacks from, “Check your six” means to look behind you and pay attention to who is coming up on you.

  • “Watch Your Six”

While “I got your six” means that the other person has your back in the potential of trouble occurring, “Watch your six” is more indicative that something is just about to go down.

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.