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How Do You Write Retired Military Rank and Name?

how do you write retired military rank and name

There are many things that you need to learn for a smooth transition back into civilian life. One of those things is how to write a retired military signature. You will also need to know and remember small rules, like capitalizing military rank in a sentence. Fortunately, this guide on “How do you write retired military rank and name?” curates everything you need to know.

By the end, you should be able to write military rank and name retired and abbreviate retired military rank without having to pause or second-guess yourself. If you are not a veteran reading this, you will be able to respectfully and appropriately address retired military members.

Writing Military Rank & Name After Retiring

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The proper way to write retired military rank differs depending on where you are addressing the veteran.

Here is how to write for the address block of an email or letter or an envelope:

  • (Full Rank) (Full Name), USMC/USAF/USA, Retired, (Address) or,
  • (Full Rank) (Full Name), USMC/USAF/USA, Ret., (Address) or,
  • (Full Rank) (Full Name), USN/USCG, Retired, (Address) or,
  • (Full Rank) (Full Name), USN/USCG, Ret., (Address)

For example,

  • Captain Donald N. Thompson, USN, Retired, 100 Street or,
  • Captain Donald N. Thompson, USN, Ret., 100 Street

However, when and where the address block of an email or letter or an envelope is used also plays a role.

  • In official correspondence or situations, it is important to not only include the person’s rank but also specify the service branch designation and that the person is retired or no longer on active duty.
  • For social correspondence or situations, like a holiday card or wedding, you will want to address the person with rank. But it is not necessary to include his or her service branch designation or specify that the person is retired or no longer on active duty.

Official correspondence or situation is when the veteran’s participation is related to service in the military, and vice versa for social correspondence or situations.

Similarly, rank is always included in social situations for oral addressing but may or may not be in official situations. Again, it relies on whether the situation is directly related to the veteran’s service in the military.

Note: Rank is not included when the veteran leaves service before his/her designated retirement, even if he/she was discharged under honorable conditions.

Abbreviations

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In any case, however, abbreviations can be used. They are more commonly referred to as service specific abbreviations. Thanks to them, it is possible to identify a member of the Armed Forces at first glance. Anyone—civilian military personnel—can use them at any time.

The abbreviations are by rank (From highest to lowest) for each military branch, as follows:

STANDARD STYLE

The U.S Army

  • General: GEN
  • Lieutenant General: LTG
  • Major General: MG
  • Brigadier General: BG
  • Colonel: COL
  • Lieutenant Colonel: LTC
  • Major: MAJ
  • Captain: CPT
  • 1st Lieutenant: 1LT
  • Second Lieutenant: 2LT
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-2 to W-5: CW5, CW4, CW3, CW2
  • Warrant Officer W-1: WO1
  • Sergeant 1st Class: SFC
  • Staff Sergeant: SSG
  • Sergeant: SGT
  • Corporal: CPL
  • Specialist: SPC
  • Private 1st Class: PFC
  • Private E-2: PV2
  • Private E-1: PV1

The U.S Navy

  • Fleet Admiral: FADM
  • Admiral: ADM
  • Vice Admiral: VADM
  • Rear Admiral (Upper Half): RADM or RADM U
  • Rear Admiral (Lower Half): RDML or RADM L
  • Captain: CAPT
  • Commander: CDR
  • Lieutenant Commander: LCDR
  • Lieutenant: LT
  • Lieutenant (Junior Grade): LTJG
  • Ensign (ENS)
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-2 to W-5: CW5, CW4, CW3, CW2
  • Warrant Officer W-1: WO1
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy: MCPON
  • Fleet Commander Master Chief Petty Officer: FLTMC
  • Force Commander Master Chief Petty Officer: FORMC
  • Command Commander Master Chief Petty Officer: CMDCM
  • Master Chief Petty Officer: MCPO
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer: SCPO
  • Chief Petty Officer: CPO
  • Petty Officer 1st Class: PO1
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class: PO2
  • Petty Officer 3rd Class: PO3
  • Seaman: SNS
  • Seaman Apprentice: SA
  • Seaman Recruit: SR

The U.S Marine Corps

  • General: GEN
  • Lieutenant General: LTG
  • Major General: MG
  • Brigadier General: BG
  • Colonel: COL
  • Lieutenant Colonel: LTC
  • Major: MAJ
  • Captain: CPT
  • 1st Lieutenant: 1LT
  • Second Lieutenant: 2LT
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-2 to W-5: CW5, CW4, CW3, CW2
  • Warrant Officer W-1: WO1
  • Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps: SgtMajMC
  • Sergeant Major: SgtMaj
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant: MGySgt
  • 1st Sergeant: 1stSgt
  • Master Sergeant: MSgt
  • Gunnery Sergeant: GySgt
  • Staff Sergeant: SSgt
  • Sergeant: Sgt
  • Corporal: Cpl
  • Lance Corporal: LCpl
  • Private 1st Class: PFC
  • Private: Pvt

The U.S Air Force

  • General: Gen
  • Lieutenant General: Lt Gen
  • Major General: Maj Gen
  • Brigadier General: Brig Gen
  • Colonel: Col
  • Lieutenant Colonel: Lt Col
  • Major: Maj
  • Captain: Capt
  • First Lieutenant: 1st Lt
  • Second Lieutenant: 2nd Lt
  • Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force: CMSAF
  • Command Chief Master Sergeant: CCMSgt
  • First Sergeant E-9: 1stSgt
  • Chief Master Sergeant: CMSgt
  • First Sergeant E-8: 1stSgt
  • Senior Master Sergeant: SMSgt
  • First Sergeant E-7: 1stSgt
  • Master Sergeant: MSgt
  • Technical Sergeant: TSgt
  • Staff Sergeant: SSgt
  • Senior Airman: SrA
  • Airman 1st Class: A1C
  • Airman: Amn
  • Airman Basic: AB

The U.S Coast Guard

  • Admiral: ADM
  • Vice Admiral: VADM
  • Rear Admiral (Upper Half): RADM or RADM U
  • Rear Admiral (Lower Half): RDML or RADM L
  • Captain: CAPT
  • Commander: CDR
  • Lieutenant Commander: LCDR
  • Lieutenant: LT
  • Lieutenant (Junior Grade): LTJG
  • Ensign (ENS)
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-2 to W-5: CW5, CW4, CW3, CW2
  • Warrant Officer W-1: WO1
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard: MCPO-C
  • Command Master Chief: CMC
  • Master Chief Petty Officer: MCPO
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer: SCPO
  • Chief Petty Officer: CPO
  • Petty Officer 1st Class: PO1
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class: PO2
  • Petty Officer 3rd Class: PO3
  • Seaman: SNS
  • Seaman Apprentice: SA
  • Seaman Recruit: SR

CIVILIAN STYLE

Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force

  • General: Gen.
  • Lieutenant General: Lt. Gen.
  • Major General: Maj. Gen.
  • Brigadier General: Brig. Gen.
  • Colonel: Col.
  • Lieutenant Colonel: Lt. Col.
  • Major: Maj.
  • Captain: Capt.
  • 1st Lieutenant: 1st Lt.
  • Second Lieutenant: 2nd Lt.
  • Cadet: Cdt.
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-5: Chief Warrant Officer 5
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-4: Chief Warrant Officer 4
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-3: Chief Warrant Officer 3
  • Chief Warrant Officers W-2: Chief Warrant Officer 2
  • Warrant Officer W-1: Warrant Officer

Navy & Coast Guard

  • Admiral: Adm.
  • Vice Admiral: Vice Adm.
  • Rear Admiral: Rear Adm.
  • Captain: Capt.
  • Commander: Cmdr.
  • Lieutenant Commander: Lt. Cmdr.
  • Lieutenant: Lt.
  • Lieutenant (Junior Grade): Lt. j.g.

Enlisted Ranks:

Army

  • Sergeant Major of the Army: Sgt. Maj. of the Army
  • Command Sergeant Major: Command Sgt. Maj.
  • Sergeant Major: Sgt. Maj.
  • 1st Sergeant: 1st Sgt.
  • Master Sergeant: Master Sgt.
  • Platoon Sergeant: P. Sgt.
  • Sergeant 1st Class: Sgt. 1st Class
  • Staff Sergeant: Staff Sgt.
  • Sergeant: Sgt.
  • Corporal: Cpl.
  • Specialist: Spc.
  • Private 1st Class: Pfc.
  • Private E-1 to E-2: Pvt.

Marine Corps

  • Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps: Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps
  • Sergeant Major: Sgt. Maj.
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant: Master Gunnery Sgt.
  • 1st Sergeant: 1st Sgt.
  • Master Sergeant: Master Sgt.
  • Gunnery Sergeant: Gunnery Sgt.
  • Staff Sergeant: Staff Sgt.
  • Sergeant: Sgt.
  • Corporal: Cpl.
  • Lance Corporal: Lance Cpl.
  • Private 1st Class:
  • Pfc. Private: Pvt.

Air Force

  • Chief Master Sergeant Major of the Air Force: Chief Master Sgt.
  • Major of the Air Force Chief Master Sergeant: CM Sgt.
  • Command Chief Master Sergeant: CCM Sgt.
  • Senior Master Sergeant: Senior Master Sgt.
  • Master Sergeant: Master Sgt.
  • Technical Sergeant: Tech. Sgt.
  • Staff Sergeant: Staff Sgt.

Note: Service specific abbreviations can be used to address retired reservists, using the formula: (Rank) (Full Name), (Abbreviation for Service Branch), Retired/Ret.

For example, you would write retired army rank like this: GEN Tom Smith, USA, Retired.

Conclusion

That wraps up our article on “How do you write retired military rank and name?” Hopefully, you have picked up a lot of useful information. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

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