How to Address a Lieutenant Colonel

——–For a retired Lieutenant Colonel, see second post.
——–For a Lieutenant Colonel and Spouse see Couple, Military

Lieutenant Colonel, USA, USMC or USAF

—-Envelope, official: How to Address a Lieutenant Colonel

—-—-Lieutenant Colonel (Full Name), USA/USAF/USMC

——–—-LTC (Full Name), USA

—-—-—-Lt Col (Full Name), USAF

—-—-—-LtCol (Full Name), USMC

—-Envelope, social: How to Address a Lieutenant Colonel

—-—-Lieutenant Colonel (Full Name)

——–—-LTC (Full Name)

—-—-—-Lt Col (Full Name)

—-—-—-LtCol (Full Name)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Colonel (Surname):

Above I’ve shown the rank fully spelled out and abbreviated. Note that each service has a service-specific abbreviation for the rank. Both spelling out and using service-specific abbreviations are correct. If you are looking for more detailed information, look in my book: I get into it all there.

— Robert Hickey How to Address a Lieutenant Colonel


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Address a Retired Lt. Colonel?

How do I address a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel?  My initial thought would be to present his rank before his name like “Dr.” and after his name use “U.S. Army” like “D.D.S.” goes after the name for a dentist.
Would this be proper to use?
—-—-John M. Smith, LTC, USA, Ret.
—————-– KG

Dear KG:
The correct form depends on the situation.

(1) Is it official correspondence regarding an official action by a retired officer?  The official form defines the correspondence involves his rank/service in the Armed Services. It also specifies that he is retired and not active duty.   

(2) Or is it personal / social correspondence?  Retired personnel are entitled (at their preference) to use their rank socially. It is a privilege accorded only fully-retired armed services personnel.

—-Official form of address:
——–—-Lieutenant Colonel John M. Smith, USA, Retired
————(Address)        See Note #2
——–—-Lieutenant Colonel John M. Smith, USA, Ret.
————(Address)        See Note #2

—-Social form of address:
——–—-Lieutenant Colonel John M. Smith
————(Address)        See Note #2

—-Salutation or conversation, both official and social:
——–—-Dear Colonel Smith,    See Note #1

Note #1.: Yes – it’s correct that Lieutenant is not in the salutation.
Note #2: There are service-specific abbreviation for Lieutenant Colonel.  Use them if you want to. They are standard within the armed services. Take note of the different capitalization and spacings in these service-specific abbreviations:
—-—-USA – ArmyLTC
—-—-USMC – Marine CorpsLtCol
—-—-USAF – Air ForceLt Col

—-You didn’t ask how to address a Lieutenant Colonel orally, but in conversation (direct oral address) he is:
—-—-Colonel Smith

– Robert Hickey

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”