8

What is the proper way to address a person who is an office in the military (USA) who at the same time has a Ph.D.? Would it be Dr. General John Doe or General Dr. John Doe?

  • 1
    I would be surprised if either would cause offence. – gerrit Feb 26 '14 at 18:33
  • 4
    According to Robert Hickey, military rank trumps academic achievement, so you would use the rank only. – trutheality Feb 26 '14 at 18:58
14

Everything I've seen suggests that "General John Doe" without any "Dr." is correct (you've never heard of "General Doctor David Petraeus" right?); for example, military doctors are usually addressed using their rank, not as "Doctor." In part it just sounds clunky to try to use both titles. Similarly at Virginia Military Academy (bizarrely, in my opinion) all of the faculty are officers in the Virginia state militia, and are listed on the website with military titles (http://www.vmi.edu/Content.aspx?id=4294974313), not with the title "Professor" or "Doctor." I think "General John Doe, Ph.D." is more common, though discouraged in some sources I read. I think it's hard to go wrong just addressing someone in the military by their rank.

EDIT: I should probably say that isn't to say that you never combine Doctor with another title: "Herr Professor Doktor" is standard in Germany, (though I'm not allowed to call myself that, since I have a doctorate from the US) and "Reverend Doctor" (or even "Most/Right Reverend Doctor") are established titles, though more common in Britain than the US. Just in the specific context of military titles in the US, it's not standard to mix them with other titles.

| improve this answer | |
  • Your answer looks better than mine... – Pete L. Clark Feb 26 '14 at 19:08
  • Yeah, I'm not sure I agree that double titles are just over the top ("Reverend Dr." or even "Right Reverend Dr." are established forms of address, whereas "General Doctor" isn't). – Ben Webster Feb 26 '14 at 19:13
  • Thanks for the answer. I did a bit more research, and it seems that you are correct. – user87952 Feb 27 '14 at 19:58
  • This seems to be correct. If you look, for example, at the US Military Academy faculty pages, the people who are photographed in uniform are listed with their military rank and the people who are photographed in civilian clothes are listed as "Dr." – David Richerby Oct 1 '14 at 9:17
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure I've been described (though not addressed) as "Professor Doktor" even though both my doctorate and my professorship are American. Maybe it's the "Herr" that was missing. (Shortly before my first grandchild was born, there was a family discussion of how she should call her grandparents; I suggested "Herr Professor Doktor Opa" but that didn't work out.) – Andreas Blass Dec 11 '14 at 22:21
1

CPT John Smith, Ph.D.; MAJ James Dean, M.D.; or LTC John Doe, J.D. are more correct when addressing doctorate officers in writing.

Although this is true that Military rank usually comes before academic in most cases, there are some exceptions.

Doctors in the Medical Corps are often addressed as "doctor." Many medical officers preferred to be called doctor as this title reflects their professional and client relationship instead of subordinate and superior. In addition, JAG officers are sometime addressed using the title of "counselor."

| improve this answer | |
0

in general the only time a rank and title are used together is with Chaplains. Formally it is Chaplain (Major) John Doe, and informally it is Chaplain Doe.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.