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Are honorably discharged military personnel still called by their rank?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm writing an article, and don't know whether to say "former Sergeant," "discharged Sergeant," etc.

I realize this is completely off topic, but Google yielded no results.
post #2 of 18
I have seen retired military titles in the form of Colonel Joe Blow, USMC (Ret.), so I would say that it is formally correct to call retired military by rank. As a practical matter I have also seen it done in cases with people who are former military but not retired. To clarify I am talking about simply using the military rank in addressing them, e.g. Captain Smith to a civilian who used to hold the rank of Captain.
post #3 of 18
Short answer, if you're not retired, then you don't continue to use the rank.

http://www.formsofaddress.info/USA_Retired_Use_of_Rank.html#135

This does not preclude you from saying "the former Sergeant" of course.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by J Darnielle View Post

I'm writing an article, and don't know whether to say "former Sergeant," "discharged Sergeant," etc.
I realize this is completely off topic, but Google yielded no results.

Whatever you do, avoid "discharged Sergeant".
post #5 of 18
In your article, mention that he is no longer in service and then refer to him as Sergeant Whatever. Nobody in the world will have a problem with that usage. It is an informal and respectful usage, and it keeps you away from the unwieldy "former".
post #6 of 18
I would stay with "former Sergeant Joe Blow ....." or simply "Joe blow was a Sergeant in the 2/3rd Remmington Raiders from 1988-1991 ..."

To earn the use of Sgt. Joe Blow (ret) one must, not surprisingly, have retired from the service (usually 20 years time-in or early retirement due to a combat wound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

Whatever you do, avoid "discharged Sergeant".


+ 1

I did overhear someone ask an American Marine when he was "discharged from the corpse" . shog[1].gif
post #7 of 18
I find this to be pompous. Calling a retired doctor "Dr.", former senator "senator", retired professor "professor", etc is pretty silly. You're not a doctor anymore or in the military, so why should you be called that?

I'd say "joe schmo, a retired sergeant" or something.
post #8 of 18
Unrelated: MLK is the only person to keep his docotrate in death. No one ever says Dr Einstein, but it's always Dr King.
post #9 of 18
Some are given permission to be called "Col. (Ret.) John Smith," but that is normally only for those who have a full (40 year) career rather than those who retire after 18 years AFAIK. I think they are called "Mr" otherwise.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post

Unrelated: MLK is the only person to keep his docotrate in death. No one ever says Dr Einstein, but it's always Dr King.

Dr Crippen?
post #11 of 18
It seems to be a bigger deal with flag and general officers who simply can not divorce themselves from that persona. Even Colonels and Navy Captains. If you notice in places like USAA or whatever, they'll refere to someone as GEN John Blow, USA (ret) - just like one of the first posters said. However, I never call retired military by their rank. It's over. It's done. However, I have seen retired military addressed by their last rank, in the South especially. It's not incorrect, however. Just don't say ex-Marine. It's 'former Marine'. They get really pissed off about that. Just sayin.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEARTLESS-531 View Post

It seems to be a bigger deal with flag and general officers who simply can not divorce themselves from that persona. Even Colonels and Navy Captains. If you notice in places like USAA or whatever, they'll refere to someone as GEN John Blow, USA (ret) - just like one of the first posters said. However, I never call retired military by their rank. It's over. It's done. However, I have seen retired military addressed by their last rank, in the South especially. It's not incorrect, however. Just don't say ex-Marine. It's 'former Marine'. They get really pissed off about that. Just sayin.

UK Paras are a bit like that too, even the ones from the Second World War still consider themselves members of the Regiment. Sounds like a good deal if you take away the jumping out of planes bit.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humphrey Appleby View Post

UK Paras are a bit like that too, even the ones from the Second World War still consider themselves members of the Regiment. Sounds like a good deal if you take away the jumping out of planes bit.


Idf paras are like that too


As to rank I never really thought of it, I used to use "demobilized" sergeant but that probably doesn't fit the US model
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post

Idf paras are like that too
As to rank I never really thought of it, I used to use "demobilized" sergeant but that probably doesn't fit the US model

Thats like being a retired doctor and still wearing a white coat and stethoscope.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by idfnl View Post

Thats like being a retired doctor and still wearing a white coat and stethoscope.

No, it isn't.
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