How to Address a Reservist

See also
See also Use of Rank by a Reservist.

—-Envelope or address block on an email:
—-—-(Full rank) (Full Name), USAR

—-—-(Service-specific abbreviation for the rank) (Full Name), USAR

—-—-Dear (Basic rank) (Surname),
—-—-Dear (Service-specific abbreviation for the rank) (Surname) 

How to Address a Reservist
How to Address a Reservist on Active Duty?

I am addressing a letter to an Army Reservist currently on active duty.
—-For his address block:
——–(Rank) (Full Name) USA Reserve
——–—-Brigadier General John Smith, USA Reserve
—-—-Dear (Rank) (Surname),
—-—-—-Dear General Smith, 
——————– Jamie

Dear Jamie:
It is correct to use the all-letter version of the branch of service: USAR, USNR, USMCR, USAFR or USCGR. Don’t spell out “reserve’. See the forms that follow.

Department of Defense guidelines give two ways to address a letter… one ‘official” and another for “social” correspondence: On official correspondence you include the post-nominal abbreviation for branch of service; on social, you don’t.

Here is what the official form looks like:

—-Envelope or address block on an email:
—-—-Brigadier General John Smith, USAR
—-—-With the service-specfic abbreviation:
—-—-—-BG John Smith, USAR

—-Social envelope:
—-—-Brigadier General John Smith
—-—-With the service-specfic abbreviation:
—-—-—-BG John Smith

—-Either way the salutation is:
—-—-Dear General Smith,

— Robert Hickey

How to Address a Reservist


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Address a Retired Reservist?

How do you write the name of a retired reservist?
——————–— Dave S.

Dear Dave S.:
When one retires the reference to “Reserve” disappears.

—–The formula is:
—–—–[Rank] [Full Name], [Abbreviation for Branch of Service], Retired
———-[Rank] [Full Name], [Abbreviation for Branch of Service], Ret.

Both Ret. and Retired are suggested in DoD style guides. Those same style guides do not use parentheses around Ret. or Retired. So: no parentheses.

In the following samples I’ve used the service-specific abbreviations for rank. It would also be correct to spell the ranks out fully:

—–—–While Serving: GEN John Johnson, USAR
—–—–When Retired: GEN John Johnson, USA, Retired

—–—–While Serving: Gen Patrick Harris, USMCR
—–—–When Retired: Gen Patrick Harris, USMC, Retired

—–—–While Serving: Gen Andrew Wright, USAFR
—–—–When Retired: Gen Andrew Wright, USAF, Retired

—–—–While Serving: ADM Anne Neville, USNR
—–—–When Retired: ADM Anne Neville, USN, Retired

—–—–While Serving: ADM Christopher Carley, USCGR
—–—–When Retired: ADM Christopher Carley, Retired

— Robert Hickey


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”