Archive for August, 2010

I am addressing a letter to a Reservist.  For his address block, would it be: “Brigadier General John Smith, USAR Ret.” ?
With salutation “Dear General Smith:”  ?
— Jamie

Dear Jamie:
This very question is answered on page 207 of my book.
Department of Defense guidelines give two ways to address a letter to a retired officer … one for ‘official” and one for “social” correspondence.
1) If it is an official letter to him as a Retired General … e.g., you are inviting him to attend a civic ceremony in uniform … then the address block should be:
Brigadier General John Smith, USA, Ret.
2) If it’s social letter to him as a person … and not in relation to his rank … on an issue where his rank is not pertinent …. then the address block should be:
Brigadier General John Smith
In both instances the salutation should be:
Dear General Smith:
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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How does one address the Consul-General (Consul-General of India – Durban, South Africa), when greeting him or acknowledging him in the audience?
— GC in South Africa

Dear GC:
I include all the forms of consuls and consul generals in my chapter on Diplomats and International Officials. Consul Generals are simply Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. …. whatever honorific they are entitled to personally.
They are not The Honourable or Your Excellency …. (unless they are entitled to in in some other way due to personal, prior service.)
So if you introduce him from the podium, you could say something as simple as ….
— Tonight we welcome our special guest, William Smith, The Consul General of India here in Durban
or — Tonight we welcome our special guest, Mr. William Smith, The Consul General of India …
or — Tonight we welcome our special guest, The Consul General of India, Mr. Smith
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Barry C. Black, Rear Admiral ( RET), Chaplain of U.S. Senate will be the speaker at a local event.  How do I properly write the names of other local active and retired naval officials on invitations to attend the event?  Thanks.

Dear ICW:
I have a chapter in my book just on forms of address for the US Armed Services. There are two forms of address in Department of Defense Style Manuals suggested for writing the name of armed service personnel … a social form … and an official form.
I am going to assume you will use official forms. Assuming you are mailing invitations in envelopes, then …
Active Duty — official form:
(Rank) (Full name), (Abbreviation for branch of service)
Rear Admiral James Wilson, USN
Retired — official form:
(Rank) (Full name), (Abbreviation for branch of service), Retired
Rear Admiral Barry Black, USN, Retired
(Rank) (Full name), (Abbreviation for branch of service), Ret.
Rear Admiral Barry Black, USN, Ret.
I actually have many posting on how to address officers …. check out
Active Duty   http://www.formsofaddress.info/USA.html
Retired  http://www.formsofaddress.info/USA_Retired.html
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Good morning from Hawaii:
We have a question about the use of “The Honorable.”  Would it be appropriate to use this for an acting mayor?
Thank you for your assistance.
— Cheryl

Dear Cheryl:
The Honorable is reserved for officials elected in a general election … or those very high officials appointed by the President of the United States and approved by the US Senate.
So if he or she is serving as an acting mayor through an appointment … he or she would not be The Honorable … unless he or she was The Honorable due to other elected service.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

Hi Robert:
Thanks for the speedy reply.  This really helps us.  We have an acting mayor who was formerly an elected legislator. Consequently, we will continue to refer to him as “The Honorable.”  We appreciate your assistance!
— Cheryl

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I hope this e-mail finds you well.  I am currently working on a document for my office and I could really use your expertise.
The document includes a list of Heads of State whom we received in the last year in Washington, DC.  I need to include each Head of State’s name and have hit a few snags with certain countries. For example, listing the President of Haiti I would say “His Excellency Rene Garcia Preval President of Haiti”.  I realized; however, that some countries would list both their President and Prime Minister as “His/Her Excellency”, though not all do.
I’m also wondering about the PM of Moldova, the PM/Chairman, Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The PM of Lithuania, The President of France, the President of Nigeria, the PM of Haiti and the PM of Cameroon.
Forgive me if I’m making this more complicated than necessary!
— KB on The Hill

Dear KB:
Prime Ministers … when out of their countries … are typically addressed as “Your Excellency” whether or not they are addressed that way in their own country.
The officials who get this are head of government, chief of state, speakers of houses & chambers, and minister of ministries / secretaries of deparments. The logic is they are at the level of being ‘ambassadors of their government”  and as such they are given the forms of address typical for accredited ambassadors.
Each official may have a different way they are addressed by their fellow countrymen …. I know for example that a President of France is not addressed with any courtesy title in France  … he is just (Full name), President of the French Republic in France … but when traveling His Excellency (Full name), President of the French Republic is the standard.
If you know they have a different form at home … e.g., The Right Honourable (Full name) …  and want to use that, it would be the best … You will find that in the last section of my book with the country-by-country information.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I’ve come across your interesting “Forms of Address” web site and it shed light on some questions I’ve been wondering about post nominals. However, I’m unsure of the punctuation to be used in multiple post nominals. Could you please explain how I would use punctuation when citing a MBA and a Master of Project Management (MPM)? 
— Neil in Brisbane

Dear Neil:
Do you mean punctuation between serial post nominals?
Neil Henderson, PhD, MBA, BA
Use of periods within post nominals is a matter of style, so just be consistent. 
Neil Henderson, Ph.D., M.P.M., B.A.
Neil Henderson, PhD, MPM, BA
There are rules for ordering post nominals …. ‘high’ to ‘low’ within a category … and if they are equal, I’d do them in alphabetical order.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

Thanks for the reply; I was interested in the punctuation between serial post nominals and you’ve answered my question perfectly! Also helpful is your recommendation for ordering them alphabetically. I will observe this structure when using post nominals in the future. 
— Neil in Brisbane

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I am a US Army Reserve Retired Captain (Gray Area Retiree).  I am employed in the civilian sector.  One of my former soldiers (still serving), has requested a letter of recommendation from me to help him achieve a career goal.
I know that I can no longer use a military letterhead, and I intend to refer to myself as eitherCPT(R) Kenneth Norris, or Kenneth Norris, Captain, Retired.
I don’t have the name of the authority that will be evaluating my former soldier, so I was going to use To Whom it may Concern.
Can you help me with the rest of the letter formatting and correct any errors I may have made thus far?
— KC Norris

Dear CPT Norris:
The DOD guidelines do not suggests either of the forms you mention: CPT(R) Kenneth Morrison orKenneth Morrison, Captain, Retired. The forms DOD guidelines suggest for retired armed service personnel are:
Captain Kenneth Norris, USAR, Retired
Captain Kenneth Norris, USAR, Ret.
Being a Grey Area Retiree does not affect these forms of address.
There are innumerable books on how to set up a letter, but here’s what I would do. On your personal letterhead … or just a sheet of stationery … just set it up as you would any personal letter:
Home Address
To whom it may concern:
(Text of the letter)
(Closing .. Sincerely is standard in business …
Very Respectfully is more standard among the military …
but maybe a bit odd since you don’t know of whom you are being VR?)
Captain Kenneth Norris, USAR, Retired

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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