How to Address a Military Couple

How to Address Military Personnel and Spouse?

If you are addressing an envelope to a couple and he’s a 2nd Lieutenant in the USMC, how should it read?
————————-– Marilyn Huddleston

How do I address an envelope to 2nd Lieutenant in the USN and his wife. She kept her maiden name.
————————-– David Kramer

Dear Ms. Huddleston & Mr. Kramer:

—-On social correspondance the formula is:

——–(Rank) (Full Name)
——–and Mrs. (Shared Surname Name)

——–(Rank) (Full Name)
——–and Ms./Dr. (Full Name)

——–(Rank) (Name)
——–and Mr. (Full Name)

—-#1) The member of the armed services is listed first: people with ranks are listed before people without ranks.

—-#2) Use of and between their names (before the spouse’s name) implies they are married.

—-#3) On social correspondence branch of service – USA, USMC, USN, USAF, or USCG – is not included. On an official letter you would include branch of service.

—-#4) Formally you don’t break up a (rank)+(name).  That means to avoid  Second Lieutenant and Mrs. (His Name).  Write each name as a unit.

—-#5) Formally people with ranks get their name on a line by itself, so put the spouse’s name on the next line.

— Robert Hickey

How To Address Married Military Personnel With the Same Rank?

How do you address an invitation to a married Army couple with the same rank?
—-Captains John and Mary Smith
—-—-Captain John Smith and Captain Mary Smith
—————————— Candy J.

Dear Candy:
When someone has a special title/rank – you write their full name – don’t mix it with the other name: Both get their rank + full name.

Military officers of the same rank are always ordered by seniority. One member of the couple has an earlier date of rank … which gives that person higher precedence / greater seniority.   I can guarantee you they have discussed this and the couple knows which of them has higher precedence/seniority by date of rank! So you need to contact them if you are determined to do it correctly.

Outside envelope: How to Address a Military Couple

—-—-Captain John Smith
—-—-and Captain Mary Smith(if he has seniority)

—-—-Captain Mary Smith
—-—-and Captain John Smith(if she has seniority)

Yes, even when personnel have the same ‘rank’ one has seniority. If you are unsure – list the man first, the woman second – in the order established in “Mr. and Mrs.”

Inside envelope:
—-—-Captains Smith
—-—-Captain Smith and Captain Wilson(different last names, more senior person listed first)
—-—-Mary and William(informal)

— Robert Hickey

How to Address a Military Couple

How to Address Married Military Officers with Different Ranks?

My brother and my sister-in-law are USAF. My sister-in-law holds a higher rank (Lt Col) than my brother (Major). When addressing an envelope does the higher rank come first, or does the male get first billing as done in “Mr. and Mrs.”?
———————–— Mary Vogelsang

Dear Ms. Vogelsang,

Always list the higher rank first in joint address when the correspondence is to them equally or to the higher person.

—-So the order of the names should be:
—-—-Lieutenant Colonel Linda Smith
—-—-and Major William Smith

— Robert Hickey How to Address a Military Couple

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address an ‘Honorable’ and Military Spouse?

I am addressing invitations and one couple invited is a retired judge and her brigadier general (Army) husband, also retired. Your book says that once honorable, always an honorable. Is a judgeship considered a “rank”? Who is higher?
~ Virginia @ Public Works

Dear V@PW:
Yes, being “the Honorable” is a personal rank which stays with the person. As a retired judge she is still the honorable.

—-On the envelope it would be:
—-—-The Honorable Nancy Doe
—-—-and Brigadier General William Doe

—-#1) Both retired judges and retired generals are address as Judge and General in retirement

—-#2) There are service-specific abbreviations for military ranks, but above I’ve show it fully written out. Writing every word fully is the most formal.

—-#3) The General’s branch of service, USA (United States Army), and Retired are not used on social correspondence.

—-#4) Elected officials and judges of federal, state, and municipals courts have higher precedence than armed service officers, so if you are inviting the judge, or both equally, the judge’s name is listed first. The officer could be first if the officer were the intended invitee. Invitees are listed before their guests.

—-#5) On the inside envelope write their names as you would address them in conversation:
—-———–Judge Doe and General Doe

— Robert Hickey

How to Address a Military Couple

How to Address a Member of the Military & Dentist?

How do I address an envelope to a Navy captain (Joshua Jones) and a dentist (Brooke Jones) who are married?
—-—-Captain Joshua & Dr. Brooke Jones
—-—-—-—-— D. Bainbridge

Dear D. Bainbridge:
Most formally people with titles and ranks get their names as a unit … not combined with another person’s name. Since he is in uniform … military uniformed personnel have precedence over civilians … so the USN Captain is listed first.

—-So the form would be:
—-—-Captain Joshua Jones
—-—-and Dr. Brooke Jones

— Robert Hickey

—-See These Related Posts:
—-—-Couples: Private Citizens
—-—-Couples: Military
—-—-Couples: U.S. Officials
—-—-Couples: Same Sex

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 – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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