The Protocol School of Washington

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Colonel | USA, USAF, or USMC

How to Address a Colonel: USA, USMC or USAF

—-Envelope, official:
——–Colonel (Full Name), USA

——–Colonel (Full Name), USMC

——–Colonel (Full Name), USAF

—-Letter salutation:
——–Dear Colonel (surname):

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Colonel in the Veteran Corps of Artillery?

I have had the pleasure of meeting a very nice person who was kind to my 6-year-old son. This gentleman forwarded to me photos of my son, taken at a recent event that are really cute. I would like to send him a thank-you note.

—-His business card has his name written :
——–COL Charles C. Lucas Jr.

—-The lower left of the card:
——–Veteran Corps of Artillery
——–State of New York

My question is how should the envelope and salutation be written?
——————– Cathy R.

Dear Cathy R:

Since it is a social note address it to:

——–COL Charles C. Lucas

——–Dear Colonel Lucas:

He’s a member of an honorary militia. His rank is honorary … important in its own context.  The Veteran Corp of Artillery (VCA) is in the view of the Department of Defense, a social organization.

—-So, in official events at the Pentagon he is:
——–Mr. Charles C. Lucas

—-At events of his organization (and to you in this context) he is:
——–COL Charles C. Lucas

– Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms of Address on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.


Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – but leave out your name and change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.