Civil Air Patrol Volunteer Now

How To Use Grade Abbreviations

What’s Right?!? 2d Lt, 2LT, 2ndLt, 2nd Lt or 2nd Lt.
Use the right abbreviation in the right place at the right time

Maj. Al Pabon
National Public Affairs Team Leader
In my talks with PAOs and CAP leaders across the country, I have found there is some confusion about the use of correct grade abbreviations in CAP communications. So, here are the ground rules:
First, we do not use Army or Marine Corps style grade abbreviations. Ever. There are standard abbreviations outlined in our regulation, as well as industry standards that we use for selected external communications.
When communicating (e-mail, military style letters) internally and with business partners (such as the military, government and other agencies) the grade abbreviations specified in CAP Regulations (CAPR 52-16 for cadets and CAPR 35-5 for seniors) should be used exclusively. Don’t forget to refer to CAPR 10-1for additional guidance.
Now, here is where things may be confusing. PAOs, when communicating to audiences via news releases, newsletters, blogs, Web sites, etc., should use the grade abbreviations specified in the current edition of the Associated Press Style Guide. AP style not only applies to grades but also to rules that apply to everything from capitalizations, abbreviations and spellings to numerals, terms and much more. This is the industry standard our National HQ Public Affairs team uses for all official publications, news releases, the Volunteer/Volunteer Now and other public affairs/marketing products. This is also the same standard the U.S. Air Force uses for its PA/marketing products.
We (the NHQ/PA and national PA volunteer teams) urge all PAOs to use the AP Style Guide. This ensures the media will take our work more seriously and adds more professionalism to our products and image.
Please go to this Web site for more background on AP style. Click on the grade abbreviations table at right that lists correct use of CAP grades for internal and external usage.
Don’t think of these rules on grade abbreviations and the AP Style Guide as another mandate. Think of them as tools you can use to improve and professionalize your products.
This information will be incorporated into training that is being developed for PAOs and PIOs in the future.
Thank you for your service to CAP, your communities and the nation.
National Public Affairs Team Leader

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