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Archive for March, 2011

In our line of work we deal with numerous elected officials.  What is the proper salutation and address for a letter to a Mayor of a City who is also a practicing medical doctor?
– Lisa in Temple, Texas

Dear Lisa:
Being Mayor trumps being a Doctor.
Address him as the mayor
Once he’s out of office he will revert to be Dr. (Name), former Mayor of Temple, Texas.
The custom in the US is to address someone in the manner which is pertinent to the conversation … and to give a person just one rank or honorific at a time. So if you are addressing him as the Mayor, address him as a Mayor.
All that said …. Bill Frist, former Senator from Tennessee was an MD and asked to be addressed as “Dr. Frist” when he served in the United States Senate rather than “Senator Frist.” It was his personal preference, so people respected his preference, but other physicians in the Senate followed the more traditional way.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Do you happen to know if the The Right Honourable may continue to be used by a former Lord Mayor of a city in the UK.  In this case, it is the former Lord Mayor of Westminster, who, to my knowledge, carries no other honorifics, titles, peerages, or post-nominals.
If so, would it be: The Right Honourable, the former Lord Mayor of Westminster, Mr. Duncan Sandys?
– Chris

Dear Chris:
Absent being a member of the Privy Council or being a peer who would use The Right Honourable, he reverts simply to Mr. Sandys, former Lord Mayor of Westminster.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Is there a particular way to address mail to the widow of a deceased pastor?  I look forward to your response.
– Lois and Dave

Dear Lois and Dave:
Wives, or husbands, of pastors, rabbis, doctors, professors, elected officials, military personnel, diplomats … or any kind of official … do not receive any form of address based on their spouse’s rank, office or position.
Most traditionally … and formally the widow of a pastor was and continues to be:Mrs. (Husband’s full name).
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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We are writing a resolution to honor the memory of a Navy pilot.  He was given the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade posthumously.  In the resolution, would it be more proper to continue to spell out the rank in its entirety, abbreviate as Lieutenant J.G., or simplyLTJG?
I am thinking it should be written in entirety but I could not find protocol for this anywhere.
— S. R. Woods in Virginia

Dear S. R. Woods,
I would use what they use within the USN most formally:
Lieutenant, jg (full name), USN
lower case “jg”
I show that form on page 217 of my book.
Day to day, in the USN they also use the service-specific abbreviation you note:
LTJG (full name), USN
There is no limitation to using the abbreviation LTJG within the Navy.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

 

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Quick question when doing a toast to the president of Taiwan is it:
1)  To His Excellency the President of Taiwan — with the response being; To His Excellency
2)  To the President of Taiwan — with response being; To the President
My instincts say number one but there is a debate. I have a copy of your book but don’t see a form for this. 
— D.C. in Colorado Springs

Dear D.C.,
I would use #1 … and thus toast the person rather than the office. Regarding #1, His/Her Excellency always precedes a full name, then, list the office:
His Excellency (Full Name), The President of Taiwan
It is “he” who is excellent … not the job.
And the end of the toast could absolutely be:
To His Excellency
I have two forms for a visiting head of state … the second form uses Excellency.See page 408 in the book in the Chapter on International Officials. Note that I include in there a reference to (Personal Honorific If Presented):  Many internationals include a honorific in there before their name such as Dr. or Professor. In the USA we don’t include an honorific when we use a courtesy title, but if your visitor does, you should include it.
– Robert Hickey
www.formsofaddress.info

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Is my son-in-law abusing the use of the title: SSGT, USMC, even if including “Vet” on return address labels such as this one:
SSGT Todd S. Miles, USMC, VET
124 Rivington Avenue
Fairmont, AL 34567-8901

He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps several years ago after serving two years state-side on active duty and then a couple of years stateside in the reserves at which time he “got out”.  He claims once a Marine always a Marine and uses that as justification to use his former rank and service affiliation on correspondence … such as in the return address on envelopes. He receives no income related to his military service since he “got out.”
I appreciate the fact that he served his country in the Marine Corps, but is this legal, appropriate and/or otherwise proper?  I don’t desire that my daughter’s friends and/or relatives to be laughing behind their backs if this form of address does not fit into at least one of those descriptions.
— Ben Packard

Dear Mr. Packard,
Use of one’s former rank by non-retired military personnel is not a prescribed usage of the Department of Defense.
The way he presents his name is clear … he is a veteran and not an active duty Marine(thus not impersonating one) … and he’s also clear that he is not a retired Marine.
On an invitation to an official Marine function he would formally be Mr. Todd S. Miles.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

 

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I read about on your site how retired military officers can use their ranks in retirement according to U.S. Department of Defense regulations.  I am a retired police lieutenant from a municipal police agency, and I am offering my services as a public safety consultant and trainer.  I am eligible to use my police rank because I retired honorably after 21 years of service.  Please tell me what form or arrangement of my name and title would be most appropriate on a calling card?  I feel almost silly using the title, but it does lend credibility to my opinions, findings, and methods.  If anyone can settle this for me, I believe that you can.
— Lieutenant Ben Baldwin, SDPS, Retired

Dear Lieutenant Baldwin,
If the business card is for you as a consultant & trainer in public safety and using your former rank lends credibility to your opinions, findings and methods …. including your rank would be exactly what the Department of Defense (DOD) prohibits.  Generally police department’s traditions are similar to the DOD rules, which are based on over 200 years of military tradition.
Your municipal police unit may have guidelines. The DOD regulations state use of ranks (identifying oneself by his or her former rank) by retired personnel is restricted to social use, and that ranks are not for use in subsequent professional endeavors if could possibly be interpreted to be endorsed or supported by the DOD.
So, while the DOD has it in writing … the concept applies elsewhere:
* former/retired Judge is socially addressed as Judge (Name).  He’d issue a wedding invitation for his daughter as Judge (Name) since it social and no one would think that somehow the wedding is any sort of an official event.
But if he now works as a lobbyist in Washington for some industry, or as an attorney pleading cases in court … professionally he becomes Mr. (Name).  His professional bio would include his former position, but not his card.  While everyone would know of  … and value his experience … his professional stationery reflects his current professional role.

* former/retired US ambassador is socially addressed as Ambassador (Name),but if he runs for political office he becomes Mr. (Name) … although his bio would include his former diplomatic service.  E.g.
… Mr. (Name) served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium from 1990-1998…
Or in your case it could be:
… Mr. Baldwin served for 21 years in municipal law enforcement achieving the rank of Lieutenant…
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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