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Here Are the Regs on Proper Address of Enlisted Personnel
IT'S OFFICIAL now. On the basis of recommendations by the SecNav Retention Task Force, enlisted personnel will not, in formal usage, be addressed by their last names only. However, for everyday on-the-job situations, no change is intended in the customary usage of last names only for enlisted personnel in pay grades E-6 and below. Chief petty officers (E-7 through E-9) will still be addressed as "Chief" or "Chief Jones".
The formal oral presentation of enlisted personnel will now be, for instance, "May I present Petty Officer Williams". In the case of E-8 and E-9 members, the "Senior" or "Master" will be prefixed where appropriate. Those persons E-3 and below will be addressed according to their rate, such as Seaman, Fireman, Airman, Hospitalman, etc.
There are three major changes in addressing personnel in writing.
For correspondence such as official letters, permanent change of station and TAD orders and directives, the man's rate and pay grade will precede his name. For example, addressing correspondence is as follows: BM2 Robert Francis Williams, USN, 999 99 99. In the text of the correspondence, he will be referred to as "Petty Officer Williams," or , if an FN, as "Fireman Williams".
In official correspondence where the NEC code is required or considered meaningful, it may be added after the serial number.
Salutations for informal letters and non-official correspondence will be the same as the formal oral address or, "Dear Petty Officer (or Seaman) Williams". When addressing the correspondence, however, the man's name will appear in the same manner used for official correspondence.
On certificates and awards, the man's name, his rating and branch of service should be fully written out in this order:
Robert Francis Williams
Boatswain's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy
However, if this format does not lend itself to the arrangement of the pre-typed wording on certificates, the format may be adjusted to fit the certificate.
This is true also in the case of certain forms, reports, alphabetical listings and other similar material. The last name may be written first followed by other matter as desired in order to assist in rapid identification, tabulation and filing.
Below is quick-reference breakdown for addressing all enlisted men within their respective paygrades.