be addressed by the title of his or her grade, such
preference should be honored. When you are
addressing an officer whose grade includes a modifier
(for example, lieutenant commander), the modifier
(lieutenant) may be dropped.
As a general rule, use the officers title and name. It
is better to say, Yes, Ensign Smith; No, Doctor
Brown; or Yes, Lieutenant Jones; than to say, Yes,
sir or No, maam. However, in prolonged
conversation where repetition would seem forced or
awkward, the shorter sir or maam is used more
Aboard ship, the regularly assigned commanding
officer is addressed as captain regardless of grade.
The regularly assigned executive officer (if of the grade
of commander) may be addressed as commander
without adding the name. In some ships it is customary
to address the executive officer as commander even
though the grade is that of lieutenant commander.
Naval officers are introduced to civilians by title,
and the method of introduction should give a clue as to
how the person should be addressed from then on. You
might say, This is Lieutenant Jones. Mr. Jones is a
shipmate of mine. This serves a double purpose; it
gives the civilian to whom you are introducing the
officer knowledge of the naval persons grade, and it
also gives the correct method of address, Mr. Jones.
Military and civilian practices differ in the
introducing and addressing of enlisted personnel.
Under military conditions, petty officers are addressed
and introduced by their respective title followed by their
last name. Petty officers in paygrades E-7, E-8, and E-9
are introduced and addressed as Chief ______ ,
prefixed by Senior or Master, if appropriate. Petty
officers in paygrades E-4 through E-6 are addressed and
introduced as Petty Officer _______ . Persons in
paygrades E-3 and below are addressed by their last
names only in informal situations. However, in the
formal situation or introductions, their last names are
preceded by Seaman, Fireman, Airman, and so
forth, as appropriate.
Civilians sometimes feel uncomfortable in social
gatherings when addressing enlisted personnel as
described in the preceding paragraph. It is customary,
therefore, for those outside the service to extend to
enlisted personnel the same courtesies they would
extend to them in civilian life and to prefix their names
with Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms., as the case may be. In
introducing them, one should give their titles and
names, then the mode of address: This is Petty Officer
Smith. Mr. Smith will be visiting us for a while.
Thereafter, he will be addressed as Mr. Smith.
In civilian life you are supposed to introduce men to
women and youth to age; that is, a young man to a young
woman or a young woman to an older woman. If the
person is a male member of the clergy, however, you
introduce women of any age to him; or, if a man is aged
or distinguished, you introduce the woman to him.
The same general rules are followed in military life,
except that in most instances naval rank establishes the
order of introduction. Thus, you introduce the junior to
the senior, whether male or female. An exception is that
you always introduce others, regardless of the rank or
sex, to a chaplain. If one of the persons is a civilian, you
follow the rules of youth to age and male to female.
The only proper response to an oral order is Aye,
aye, sir/maam. This reply means more than yes. It
indicates I understand and will obey. Such responses
to an order as O.K., sir or All right, sir are taboo.
Very well is proper when spoken by a senior in
acknowledgment of a report made by a junior, but a
junior never says Very well to a senior.
Sir or Maam should be used as a prefix to an
official report, statement, or question addressed to a
senior. It should also be used when addressing an
official on duty representing a senior. For example, the
OOD, regardless of grade, represents the commanding
officer and should be addressed as Sir or Maam.
If you are a junior addressing a senior, you should
introduce yourself unless you are certain the senior
knows you by sight.
REVIEW 3 QUESTIONS
Q1. What is the quarterdeck?
Q2. Aboard ship, how is the CO addressed?