—-#1) There are several types of admiral, including – admiral, vice admiral, & rear admiral. These are ‘full ranks’. Use the full ranks ‘admiral’, ‘vice admiral’ or ‘rear admiral’ when (Full Rank) is called for above. Use simply ‘admiral’ for all the ranks of admiral when (Basic Rank) is called for above.
—-#2) There are two types of ‘rear admiral’: ‘rear admiral upper half’ & ‘rear admiral lower half’. When spelling out the ranks fully – the type of ‘rear admiral’ is not specified. When the service-specific abbreviations are used – the type of ‘rear admiral’ is specified. Use of service specific abbreviations is covered in my book if you want ot use them but they re a bit complicated to get into it this short post. What I have above is enough to get you through most situations requiring the formal form of address.
—-#3) An ‘official letter’ deals with his official U.S. armed services responsibilities. A ‘social letter’ is of a personal nature and not related to his official duties. How to Address a Rear Admiral
—-#4) ‘Branch of service’ is not included on social correspondence.
—-#5) If the officer is retired, and this is official correspondence, include the branch of service – ‘USN’ or ‘USCG’ – and ‘Retired’ after the officer’s name:
—-—(Full rank)+(Full Name), (Abbreviation for Branch of Service), Retired or Ret.
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USN, Retired
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USCG, Retired
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USN, Ret.
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USCG, Ret.
That makes it clear you realize he’s retired and you are not writing to him thinking he’s still on active duty and acting with the full force of the United States Navy/United States Coast Guard behind his actions.
The salutation is the same throughout:
——-——-Dear Admiral Smith: How to Address a Vice Admiral
If this sort of thing comes up often, my book has this information and much, much more.
– Robert Hickey How to Address a Rear Admiral How to Address a Vice Admiral