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Using Personal Titles #14: U.S. Military Titles, by Dennis Oliver

 

 

Using Personal Titles #14:
U.S. Military Titles

 

Military organizations throughout the world also use specific
titles for different ranks. The general rule for U.S. military
titles is simple:

in speaking:

rank + surname
or
sir / madam


in the address of a letter:

Full rank + full name
address


in the greeting of a letter:

Dear + rank + surname:
or
Dear Sir (or Madam):

____________________________________________

 

The major ranks in each branch of the U.S. military are:

Army, Air Force, Marines

     
General   Captain
Lieutenant General   First Lieutenant
Major General   Second Lieutenant
Brigadier General   Chief Warrant Officer
Colonel   Warrant Officer
Lieutenant Colonel   Cadet
Major  
Sergeant   Private

Navy

     
Fleet Admiral   Lieutenant
Admiral   Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Vice Admiral   Ensign
Rear Admiral   Chief Warrant Officer
Captain   Warrant Officer
Commander   Midshipman
Lieutenant Commander    

 

_________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

1.  

When there is more than one "level" of
a rank, show the full rank in addresses
of letters, but use the rank in speaking
and in greetings of letters:

full rank   rank
General
Lieutenant General
Major General
Brigadier General
  General
     
Commander
Lieutenant Commander
  Colonel
     
First Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
  Lieutenant
     
Chief Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
  Warrant
Officer

full rank   rank
Fleet Admiral
Admiral
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral
  Admiral
     
Commander
Lieutenant Commander
  Commander
     
Lieutenant
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
  Lieutenant
     
Chief Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
  Warrant
Officer

     
2.   All of the above ranks may be held by
either men or women.
     
3.  

Some ranks have unusual pronunciations:

Lieutenant = loo-TEH-nunt

Colonel = KER-null

Ensign = EHN-son

 

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