How should a civilian address an active duty officer?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by BSCAR, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. BSCAR

    BSCAR Member

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    I'm not an army brat and haven't spent much time around officers. I have to have a phone conversation with my RC. Do I throw in a bunch of "sirs"? Do I address him by his rank? What about a retired officer?
     
  2. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    "Sir" or "Ma'am" will never be wrong. You might as well get used to using these titles.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Agreed, here and there, but don't worry about doing it all of the time.

    On a side note, officers who want non-military folks to use their ranks (especially after they retire) annoy me.
     
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  4. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Kind of on topic. I am a parent that will be bring my DS for NROTC orientation this weekend. I will have the opportunity to meet with the officers of the battalion. I know it would be appropriate to address the officers by their rank or rank and last name. Would it be totally inappropriate for a parent to address them by their first name?
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I always used rank and last name except for the PNS (Naval Captain). He was introduced to me as Skipper by another officer, and I always called him Skipper. Of course I only saw most of them at NROTC football tailgates.
     
  6. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    5Day: Most likely, they will introduce themselves to you with their first name only. Thus referring to them by first name in that case would be appropriate. I would never do that but its my military background impacting my actions. In the ROTC setting, they are used to interacting with civilians and will be less formal. That said, it is my experience that USMC officers are more rigid in regards to this. My advice is to refer to USMC officers as Sir/Mam or Captain "Smith" or whatever. The rank is their first name.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'll be sure to use first names only! I'll help indoctrinate those jar heads for a future where their old ranks are no longer needed.

    Nothing like seeing a guy who has been out for 20 years still insist on being called by his rank to make you question how smooth the transition was.

    Now, if the person is in an official capacity and I'm working with him/her in my official capacity, I may view of differently.


    Reminds me of a time I went back to my high school where my mom was the guidance counselor. She introduced a new teacher (my age) as Mr. XXXXX. Yeah... I'm not calling him mister unless it's to students.
     
  8. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I will see how they introduce themselves and follow that lead.
     
  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    LiTS: I haven't ever run into that before excel with Colonel Sanders!
     
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  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    :topic: somewhat.... brings to mind a story. I worked with a lot of folks who had doctorates. I was a technical peer of theirs but only had a Bachelors degree. Anyway, I was in a technical discussion/argument with one of them (user interface can be such a matter of opinion), let's say it was Dave, and it extended to a break. I always called folks by their first name. Anyway, during break he and I are in standing at adjacent urinals continuing our discussion and I called him Dave as I usually did. He said, "It's doctor!". I thought to myself, you've got to be kidding. Here we are standing at the urinals together, taking a leak, and suddenly you want me to call you doctor? I don't think so buddy! BTW, I won the argument.
     
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