Archive for October, 2010

What is a proper personal stationery for a retired US Navy Captain?
— Captain Richard Herold, USN, Retired

Dear Captain Herold,
Here’s what’s generally done:
On a correspondence card just the person’s name appears … without rank or honorific.
Physicians leave off “Dr.”  … clergy leave off “Pastor”
So use:
Richard Harold
On social stationery (letterhead) and envelopes  … use the social form of your name:
Captain Richard Harold
2233 Henderson Lane
Mobile, Alabama, 23456

Use of  your rank as an honorific is totally up to you.  If it’s how you prefer the recipient to address you .. include it. Certainly most Navy Captains use “Captain” as their social honorific in retirement.
You can also include a phone number and e-mail address.
On social envelopes often just the address is used / no name / on the back flap
2233 Henderson Lane
Mobile, Alabama, 23456

Regarding your rank: You could use the USN service-specific abbreviation for your rank … CAPT … but generally civilians don’t understand why it’s capitalized and punctuated the way it is.
Civilian etiquette books say “spell out all ranks” …. the DoD style guidelines state that the service-specific abbreviations can be used by anyone, anywhere. So it is technically correct to use CAPT if you want to.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info



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Robert, I was recently trying to confirm how to cite my retired military rank in a signature block being used in correspondence. Can you please clear up my confusion.
Tom Reardon
Chief Warrant Officer 3
Retired, USA

Dear Tom,
DOD style manuals deal with official correspondence for active duty personnel … so there are guidelines.  For example in AFH 33-119 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:
Title of Position
Name of Office
Pentagon, Room, Washington, D.C.  Zip Code
Phone: 703-222-3333
Cell: 123-345-6789
Title of Position
Name of Office
Address, Washington, D.C.  Zip Code
Phone: 703-222-3333
So based on that a retired address block might look like:
Mailing Address
Phone: 703-222-3333
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Regarding your post where you suggest using “Brother”. All Orthodox monks, except rank novices, are always addressed as “Father”. Amongst themselves they may at times use “Brother”.
— George Canarvon

Dear Mr. Canarvon,
Thanks for the note.
I got the ‘Brother” form from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America office on 79th Street in New York (they publish a book every year on what is what and who is who in their church and it included a section on forms of address) …. and then I confirmed the forms with other such offices around the US.
But I am more of a reseacher … and am not Orthodox. So,I will check it out.
You are the first one to note that … an I am always open to improving my info!

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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How should I present our names as honorary chairs of a fundraising event if my husband and I are both CPA’s and it is an event where the majority of the participants will be CPA’s.  We want everyone to realize we are married even though I did not change my last name.
Is this proper:

Mr. and Mrs. Roland Rodgers, CPA and Linda Fernandez, CPA
Honorary Co-Chairs

— Linda Fernandez

Dear Ms. Fernandez:
You are both Mrs. Roland Rodgers and Linda Fernandez? Right?
Several rules apply in joint forms of address.
#1 rule is if you and your spouse use different surnames … you each use your (given name)+(surname).
#2 rule is that you get an honorific or post-nominal abbreviation … never both.  Your husband is either Mr. Roland Rodgers or Roland Rodgers, CPA … never Mr. Roland Rodgers, CPA
#3 rule is that the “and” between the names of the hosts on a wedding invitation would indicate you are married, however on business occasions (not at a private social event) the concept is that your marital status is actually not pertinent.
So for a fundraiser if you are suing your CPA’s it is:
Roland Rodgers, CPA and Linda Fernandez, CPA

Check out the posting I have on my page on Invitations.
If you encounter this sort of thing often, my book has a complete chapter on joint forms of address.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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

Dear Evelyn:
Naval enlisted personnel are verbally addressed by their basic rank … so all grades ofPetty Officer as addressed as simply Petty Officer (Name). You would address a letter’s envelope with the full rank: Petty Officer First Class (Name).
And while the serviceman’s uniform will have hospital corpsman insignia … there’s no reference to his specialty in the forms of address.
So his place card should read:
Petty Officer (Name)
I cover all the enlisted ranks of all the services in my chapter on the US Armed Services. I was enlisted in the USN, and it irritated me that other books included only officers, not enlisted. So I included everyone bottom to top.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am sending a written invitation to Paul A. Volcker to speak to our organization. I am president of this organization for the upcoming year.
I don’t know exactly how to address Mr. Volcker in an invitation and on the envelope.  He is the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and currently the Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. My sense from looking at your website is that I should use the latter title, since the former title now applies to someone else. But I’m still uncertain about the wording, and whether the envelope should say something different than the letter itself.
Do I do something like the following for the envelope and the inside address:
Paul A. Volcker
Chairman, the President’s Economic Advisory Board

(this seems like a lot to put on one line, but I’m not sure if I and how I should break it up.)
and then in the salutation say:
Dear Chairman Volcker
— Nancy Pence, Princeton Junction

Dear Ms. Pence:
As Chairman of the Federal Reserve he was appointed by The President, so is addressed as:
The Honorable Paul A. Volcker
The rule is that once an Honorable, always an Honorable.  So while he’s no longer Chairman of the Fed, he’s still The Honorable.
Write his name on the invitation as the holder of his current office, not as a former office holder. When he is completely retired and holds no office you will write his name as a private citizen.
Invitations are considered social correspondence, and on social invitations the “office held” is not included in the address.  The idea being you are not inviting the office .. but the person.
The Honorable Paul A. Volcker

I guess one could argue that if you mailing to his office you could include his office, but my guess is that just his name and address will get it to him.
“Chairman Volcker” and “Mr. Chairman” are used in meetings when he is actually acting as the chair … and you hear on TV newsreaders refer to chairmen as “Chairman (Name).”  But Chairman isn’t traditionally a formal honorific like Mr., Mrs., Dr., Senator, Mayor, etc. Consider any club of which you have been a member: you may have addressed the ‘chairman’ as such in a meeting … but didn’t use it all day every day.
All these issues are covered in my book in the chapter on US Federal Officials.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Some in our office say that honorifics shouldn’t be used with any post nominal suffixes  — Mr. James R. Bowden, Jr., for example. Isn’t there a rule that if a name has a post nominal it can’t have an honorific at the same time.
— James Bowden, Georgia

Dear Mr. Bowden:
Yes … the rule is either an honorific or a post-nominal.
But …. Sr., Jr, II, III, IV, etc. are part of the person’s name, they are not post-nominals abbreviations like honors, degrees and professional affiliations are … so … 
Mr. James R. Bowden, Jr.
…. is O.K.
James R. Bowden, Jr., P.E. …. is O.K.
Mr. James R. Bowden, Jr., P.E. … is not O.K.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info


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