How to Address a Petty Officer

————–For a petty officer and spouse, see Couple, Military

Petty Officer, USN and USCG

In the formulae below, the ranks are fully spelled out. Within the services there are service-specific abbreviations for the ranks. Explaining those is a bit complicated for a this post. I cover them completely in my book if you are really interested . If you are familiar with these abbreviations – use them. If you are not familiar with them – using the fully spelled-out form is also correct.

—-The formula for an envelope or address block on an email is:

—-U.S. Navy
——–(Full rating) (Full Name), USN

—-U.S. Coast Guard
—-—-(Full rating) (Full Name), USCG


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-In conversation or in salutation it is simplified a bit:

——–Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
—-—-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
—-—-Fleet/Command Master Chief Petty Officer, USN or USCG
—-—-Master Chief Petty Officer, USN or USCG
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Master Chief (Surname):

—-—-Senior Chief Petty Officer
——–—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Senior Chief (Surname):

—-—-Chief Petty Officer
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Chief (Surname):

—-—-Petty Officer First Class
—-—-Petty Officer Second Class
—-—-Petty Officer Third Class
—-—-—-Letter salutation:
—-—-—-Dear Petty Officer (Surname):

– Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Write a Place Card for a Petty Officer?

I am the protocol officer at a dinner tomorrow night and a wounded warrior is to be at our table. I have no clue how his place card should read.  This is his rank: Hospital Corpsman-Petty Officer First Class-HM1
– Evelyn in Aerospace

Dear Evelyn:

USN and USCG enlisted personnel are verbally addressed by their basic rank. The classes of Petty Officer – First, Second, and Third – are all orally addressed as ‘Petty Officer (Surname)’. The serviceman will have an occupational specialty (a rating)  – you mentioned he is a hospital corpsman – there’s no reference to his specialty in the formal forms of address.

The function of a formal place card is only to show a guest which seat is theirs.  On placards and tent cards more information is typically included. On a place card, only the conversational form of address is presented:
——Petty Officer (Surname)

– 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”