The Protocol School of Washington

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Reservist

See also
See also Use of Rank by a Reservist.

How to Address a Reservist
How to Address a Reservist on Active Duty?

I am addressing a letter to an Army Reservist currently on active duty.
—-For his address block:
——–(Rank) (Full Name) USA Reserve
——–—-Brigadier General John Smith, USA Reserve
—-—-Dear (Rank) (Surname),
—-—-—-Dear General Smith, 
——————– Jamie

Dear Jamie:
It is correct to use the all-letter version of the branch of service: USAR, USNR, USMCR, USAFR or USCGR. Don’t spell out “reserve’. See the forms that follow.

Department of Defense guidelines give two ways to address a letter… one ‘official” and another for “social” correspondence: On official correspondence you include the post-nominal abbreviation for branch of service; on social, you don’t.

Here is what the official form looks like:

—-Official envelope:
—-—-Brigadier General John Smith, USAR
—-—-With the service-specfic abbreviation:
—-—-—-BG John Smith, USAR

—-Social envelope:
—-—-Brigadier General John Smith
—-—-With the service-specfic abbreviation:
—-—-—-BG John Smith

—-Either way the salutation is:
—-—-Dear General Smith,

— Robert Hickey

How to Address a Reservist

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Retired Reservist?

How do you write the name of a retired reservist?
——————–— Dave S.

Dear Dave S.:
When one retires the reference to “Reserve” disappears.

—–The formula is:
—–—–[Rank] [Full Name], [Abbreviation for Branch of Service], Retired
———-[Rank] [Full Name], [Abbreviation for Branch of Service], Ret.

Both Ret. and Retired are suggested in DoD style guides. Those same style guides do not use parentheses around Ret. or Retired. So: no parentheses.

In the following samples I’ve used the service-specific abbreviations for rank. It would also be correct to spell the ranks out fully:

—–—–While Serving: GEN John Johnson, USAR
—–—–When Retired: GEN John Johnson, USA, Retired

—–—–While Serving: Gen Patrick Harris, USMCR
—–—–When Retired: Gen Patrick Harris, USMC, Retired

—–—–While Serving: Gen Andrew Wright, USAFR
—–—–When Retired: Gen Andrew Wright, USAF, Retired

—–—–While Serving: ADM Anne Neville, USNR
—–—–When Retired: ADM Anne Neville, USN, Retired

—–—–While Serving: ADM Christopher Carley, USCGR
—–—–When Retired: ADM Christopher Carley, Retired

— 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"

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