military titles

Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual s name.
See the lists that follow to determine whether the title should be spelled out or abbreviated in regular text. Spell out any title used before a name in a direct quotation.
On first reference, use the appropriate title before the full name of a member of the military.
In subsequent references, do not continue using the title before a name. Use only the last name.
Spell out and lowercase a title when it is substituted for a name: Gen. John J. Pershing arrived today. An aide said the general would review the troops.
In some cases, it may be necessary to explain the significance of a title: Army Sgt. Maj. John Jones described the attack. Jones, who holds the Army’s highest rank for enlistees, said it was unprovoked.
In addition to the ranks listed on the next page, each service has ratings such as machinist, radarman, torpedoman, etc., that are job descriptions. Do not use any of these designations as a title on first reference. If one is used before a name in a subsequent reference, do not capitalize or abbreviate it.
ABBREVIATIONS: The abbreviations, with the highest ranks listed first:
RankUsage before a name
Commissioned Officers
lieutenant generalLt. Gen.
major generalMaj. Gen.
brigadier generalBrig. Gen.
lieutenant colonelLt. Col.
first lieutenant1st Lt.
second lieutenant2nd Lt.
Warrant Officers
chief warrant officerChief Warrant Officer
warrant officerWarrant Officer
Enlisted Personnel
sergeant major of the ArmySgt. Maj. of the Army
command sergeant majorCommand Sgt. Maj.
sergeant majorSgt. Maj.
first sergeant1st Sgt.
master sergeantMaster Sgt.
sergeant first classSgt. 1st Class
staff sergeantStaff Sgt.
private first classPfc.
Commissioned Officers
vice admiralVice Adm.
rear admiral upper halfRear Adm.
rear admiral lower halfRear Adm.
lieutenant commanderLt. Cmdr.
lieutenant junior gradeLt. j.g.
Warrant Officers
chief warrant officerChief Warrant Officer
Enlisted Personnel
master chief petty officer of the NavyMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
senior chief petty officerSenior Chief Petty Officer
chief petty officerChief Petty Officer
petty officer first classPetty Officer 1st Class
petty officer second classPetty Officer 2nd Class
petty officer third classPetty Officer 3rd Class
seaman apprenticeSeaman Apprentice
seaman recruitSeaman Recruit
Ranks and abbreviations for commissioned officers are the same as those in the Army. Warrant officer ratings follow the same system used in the Navy. There are no specialist ratings.
sergeant major of the Marine Corps.Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps
master gunnery sergeantMaster Gunnery Sgt.
master sergeantMaster Sgt.
first sergeant1st Sgt.
gunnery sergeantGunnery Sgt.
staff sergeantStaff Sgt.
lance corporalLance Cpl.
private first classPfc.
Ranks and abbreviations for commissioned officers are the same as those in the Army.
Enlisted Designations
chief master sergeant of the Air ForceChief Master Sgt. of the Air Force
chief master sergeantChief Master Sgt.
senior master sergeantSenior Master Sgt.
master sergeantMaster Sgt.
technical sergeantTech. Sgt.
staff sergeantStaff Sgt.
senior airmanSenior Airman
airman first classAirman 1st Class
airman basicAirman
PLURALS: Add s to the principal element in the title: Majs. John Jones and Robert Smith; Maj. Gens. John Jones and Robert Smith; Spcs. John Jones and Robert Smith.
RETIRED OFFICERS: A military rank may be used in first reference before the name of an officer who has retired if it is relevant to a story. Do not, however, use the military abbreviation Ret.
Instead, use retired just as former would be used before the title of a civilian: They invited retired Army Gen. John Smith.
FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE OFFICERS: Use the abbreviations listed here when a military-style title is used before the name of a firefighter or police officer outside a direct quotation. Add police or fire before the title if needed for clarity: police Sgt. William Smith, fire Capt. David Jones.
Spell out titles such as detective that are not used in the armed forces.



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