How to Address a Petty Officer

————–For a petty officer and spouse, see Couple, Military

Petty Officer, USN and USCG

In the formulae below, the ranks are fully spelled out. Within the services there are service-specific abbreviations for the ranks. Explaining those is a bit complicated for a this post. I cover them completely in my book if you are really interested . If you are familiar with these abbreviations – use them. If you are not familiar with them – using the fully spelled-out form is also correct.

—-The formula for an envelope or address block on an email is:

—-U.S. Navy
——–(Full rating) (Full Name), USN
—-—-(Address)

—-U.S. Coast Guard
—-—-(Full rating) (Full Name), USCG
—-—-(Address)

—-In conversation or in salutation it is simplified a bit:

——–Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
—-—-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
—-—-Fleet/Command Master Chief Petty Officer, USN or USCG
—-—-Master Chief Petty Officer, USN or USCG
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Master Chief (Surname):

—-—-Senior Chief Petty Officer
——–—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Senior Chief (Surname):

—-—-Chief Petty Officer
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Chief (Surname):

—-—-Petty Officer First Class
—-—-Petty Officer Second Class
—-—-Petty Officer Third Class
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Petty Officer (Surname):

– Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How to Write a Place Card for a Petty Officer?

I am the protocol officer at a dinner tomorrow night and a wounded warrior is to be at our table. I have no clue how his place card should read.  This is his rank: Hospital Corpsman-Petty Officer First Class-HM1
– Evelyn in Aerospace

Dear Evelyn:

USN and USCG enlisted personnel are verbally addressed by their basic rank. The classes of Petty Officer – First, Second, and Third – are all orally addressed as ‘Petty Officer (Surname)’. The serviceman will have an occupational specialty (a rating)  – you mentioned he is a hospital corpsman – there’s no reference to his specialty in the formal forms of address.

The function of a formal place card is only to show a guest which seat is theirs.  On placards and tent cards more information is typically included. On a place card, only the conversational form of address is presented:
——Petty Officer (Surname)

– 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"