Saturday, April 21, 2012

Writing that first letter to your Commanding Officer

As an ensign, I wrote a letter to the CO of my first ship. Apparently, he never read it. Then again, he got fired two years later for being a lousy leader (which he was).

There are lots of examples of bad letters...but here is finally some good advice.


Below are a few tips on drafting your letter:
  • Be brief and to the point without being cold. It is okay to let some of your personality to shine through, but don’t bother with a lot of frivolous personal details.
  • Formal modes of address are appropriate. Find out the name of your new CO and begin with “Dear Captain XXX.”
  • Don’t try to be funny--humor rarely translates well on paper, particularly in your first communication with your new commanding officer.
  • Include a full list of contact methods (including addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail) and your travel plans between now and when you report aboard.
  • Give some brief personal details such as where you grew up, your commissioning source, and the name of your wife and kids (if applicable).