Last week Gina, one of our guest writers, released a post on her blog, Gina Left the Mall, entitled How to Write to a Soldier. It’s an excellent post. We here at Buoyed Up highly recommend reading it. It gives a very simple break down of how to write a good relevant letter to the troops.
In the comments section of that post, a Navy wife wrote the following:
Just a note from a US Navy Seabee Veteran’s wife: Just because they serve(d) the US Navy, doesn’t mean they are(were) a sailor Seabees HATE being called Sailors since most never even step foot on a boat!
Unfortunately, this created some confusion around what we call members of the US Navy. So without much ado, here is the question, the short answer and the long one.
How do you address a member of the US Navy?
Like it or not, every member of the United States Navy is a Sailor. The officers are Sailors and so are the enlisted men and women. It’s been this way since the dawn of our Navy back in 1775. It’s even enshrined in their creed; which goes like this:
I am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy, and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.
So that is it right? Sailor is the final definitive term. Negative. Sailor is not the final definitive term for a member of the US Navy. Sailor is a general term applied to the Navy. When you do not know specifics about a Naval Service Member you address them as Sailor. If you know more about them, you may use other terms.
How do you address a Sailor?
Mostly, we call our sailors by their rank/rate and/or his or her job in the Navy.
This style of address is indoctrinated into sailors (and to an extent their families) at boot camp. Fledglings to the Navy are identified as Sailor Recruits. Day 0 at the RTC (Recruit Training Command) has SRs (Sailor Recruits) learning the very basics of the rate and ranking structure of the force. They learn who their Chiefs and Petty Officers are. By the time they complete boot camp they can tell you each and every rank and rate they will encounter base on insignia found on their uniforms.
After boot camp sailors head out either into the fleet or to their A-school. It is here they learn their jobs in the fleet and take on another title; Corpsman, Seabee, etc.
So, did you catch all that?
To sum it all up. How Do You Address A Member of the US Navy?
You can address them in multiple ways. You may address them as Sailor, their rate/rank (Admiral, Captain, Ensign, Master Chief, Chief, Petty Officer), or by their job (Officer, Seabee, Corpsman).
What do you call your sailor?