How to Address Active Duty Military

In the list of posts (in blue) at right many ranks are listed. But forms of address for all active-duty U.S. Armed Services personnel follow the same rules outlined below.

Use of Full Rank and Basic Rank

Most ranks use the same form of (Rank) on the envelope and in the salutation:
—-Rank on the envelope: General, Colonel, Admiral, Captain
—-Rank in the salutation: General, Colonel, Admiral, Captain

But other ranks have a longer form for the envel0pe (Full rank) and shorter form (Basic rank) for the saluation (and in conversation):
—-Full rank on the envelope: Lieutenant Colonel
—-Basic rank in the salutation: Colonel

Some of the other ranks which have both a (Full rank) and (Basic rank) include:
—-(Full rank) / (Basic rank)
——-Lieutenant General / General
——-Major General / General
——-Brigadier General / General
——-Lieutenant Colonel / Colonel
——-First Lieutenant / Lieutenant
——-Vice Admiral / Admiral
——-Rear Admiral / Admiral
——-Lieutenant Commander / Commander
——-Lieutenant Junior Grade / Lieutenant
—-——-–– and many more.

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Official Correspondence

—-Official envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-(Full rank) (Full name), (Post-nominal for branch of service)
—-—-(Address)

—-Salutation: Dear (Basic Rank) (Surname):
—-
—-—-Which looks like:
—-—-—-General Benjamin D. Lambert, USA

—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Lambert:

—-—-—-General Bruce W. Radford, USMC
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Radford:

—-—-—-General David R. Barnes, USAF
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Barnes:

—-—-—-Admiral Timothy W. Thompson, USN
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear Admiral Thompson:

—-—-—-Admiral Eric K. Caffi, USCG
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear Admiral Caffi:

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Social Correspondence

—-Social envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-(Full rank) (Full name)
—-—-(Address)

—-Salutation: Dear (Basic Rank) (Surname):
—-
—-—-Which looks like:
—-—-—-General Benjamin D. Lambert

—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Lambert:

—-—-—-General Bruce W. Radford
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Radford:

—-—-—-General David R. Barnes
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear General Barnes:

—-—-—-Admiral Timothy W. Thompson
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear Admiral Thompson:

—-—-—-Admiral Eric K. Caffi
—-—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-—-—-—-Dear Admiral Caffi:

—  Robert Hickey  How to Address Active Duty Military

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

_____
How to Write My Name in an E-mail Signature Block?

I was recently trying to confirm how to cite my military rank & name in a signature block being used in correspondence. Can you please clear up my confusion.
—————-– TR

Dear TR,

DOD style manuals deal with official correspondence for active duty personnel … so there are guidelines. For example in AFH 33-119 it states: At a minimum, official signature blocks should include name, rank, position and organization, but often include telephone numbers (both commercial and DSN) and addresses (both commercial and e-mail).

Even though it says including e-mail address the one’s I see often don’t include an e-mail address since you have an e-mail from the person and the e-mail is included elsewhere. But that said, based on the forms I see, here’s the formula:

#1) The NAME IS CAPITALIZED, followed by rank, then service on the first line.

#2) The duty title is on the second line.

#3) Other information such as in address, phone, cell, classified e-mail address, etc. Many people include a full mailing address as that would typically appear on official letterhead.

So a formula would be:

NAME, Rank, Branch of Service
Duty line / Name of office
Mailing Address
Phone Number(s)

Which look like this:

DEBORAH LASSITER, Lt Col, USAF
Title of Position
Name of Office
Pentagon, Room, Washington, D.C. Zip Code
Phone: 703-222-3333
Cell: 123-345-6789
—–or
——TIMOTHY W. THOMPSON, LTC, USA
Title of Position
Name of Office
Address, Washington, D.C. Zip Code
Phone: 202-222-3333

A retiree’s address block might look like:

DANIEL C. WALLACE, MSgt, USAF, Ret.
Mailing Address
Phone: 703-222-3333

— Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms 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 Answer?

—-#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)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or 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, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"