How to Address an Admiral

————–For an admiral and spouse, see Couples, Military

How to Address an Admiral, Vice Admiral or Rear Admiral

The formula is to use the official form of their name on official communications and in official situations:
————–(Full rank)+(Full Name), (Branch of Service)

——-Envelope or address block on letter or email: How to Address a Rear Admiral
————–Admiral (Full Name), USN
————–(Address) How to Address an Admiral

————–Admiral (Full Name), USCG

————–Vice Admiral (Full Name), USN

————–Vice Admiral (Full Name), USCG

————–Rear Admiral (Full Name), USN

————–Rear Admiral (Full Name), USCG
How to Address a Vice Admiral


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

On social communications and in social situations the branch of service is not included:
————–(Full rank)+(Full Name)

——-Social envelope: How to Address a Vice Admiral
————–Admiral (Full Name)

————–Vice Admiral (Full Name)

————–Rear Admiral (Full Name)

——-Salutation or conversation (oral address) for all of these use:
——-——-(Basic rank)+(Surname)
——-——-Admiral (Surname) How to Address a RearAdmiral

Here is some addition information: How to Address a Vice Admiral

—-#1) There are several types of admiral, including – admiral, vice admiral, & rear admiral. These are ‘full ranks’. Use the full ranks ‘admiral’, ‘vice admiral’ or ‘rear admiral’ when (Full Rank) is called for above.  Use simply ‘admiral’ for all the ranks of admiral when (Basic Rank) is called for above.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-#2) There are two types of ‘rear admiral’: ‘rear admiral upper half’ & ‘rear admiral lower half’.  When spelling out the ranks fully – the type of ‘rear admiral’ is not specified.  When the service-specific abbreviations are used – the type of ‘rear admiral’ is specified. Use of service specific abbreviations is covered in my book if you want ot use them but they re a bit complicated to get into it this short post. What I have above is enough to get you through most situations requiring the formal form of address.

—-#3) An ‘official letter’ deals with his official U.S. armed services responsibilities. A ‘social letter’ is of a personal nature and not related to his official duties. How to Address a Rear Vice Admiral

—-#4) ‘Branch of service’ is not included on social correspondence.

—-#5) If the officer is retired, and this is official correspondence, include the branch of service – ‘USN’ or ‘USCG’ – and ‘Retired’ after the officer’s name:
—-(Full rank)+(Full Name), (Abbreviation for Branch of Service), Retired or Ret.
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USN, Retired
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USCG, Retired
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USN, Ret.
—-—-—-Rear Admiral (Full Name), USCG, Ret.

That makes it clear you realize he’s retired and you are not writing to him thinking he’s still on active duty and acting with the full force of the United States Navy/United States Coast Guard behind his actions.

       The salutation is the same all the different types of admirals:
——-——-Dear Admiral Smith: How to Address a Vice Admiral

—-#6) For how to abbreviate these ranks, see military abbreviations.

If this sort of thing comes up often, my book has this information and much, much more.

– Robert Hickey How to Address a Rear Admiral    How to Address a Vice Admiral

Related Posts:
Couples: Private Citizens
Couples: Christian Clergy
Couples: Rabbis
Couples: Military
Couples: U.S. Officials
Couples: Same Sex


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”