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Rapid
07-26-2008, 16:53
I tried searching the forums for "etiquette", but I didn't find the answer to the following question in the threads that came up. In US SF (particularly, but I imagine it applies in other SOF too), when does one use "sir" when addressing another SF soldier?

My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it's reserved for addressing officers. But can it be used as a sign of respect between enlisted soldiers (NCOs?). Would a regular infantryman ever call an SF soldier "sir" out of respect? Or even an SF soldier to another SF soldier? What about civilians; are there different standards for them? Can it be seen as common courtesy by them?

And finally, how should a foreign SF soldier use "sir" when addressing US SF? Only towards officers (mandatory or facultative?), or can he use it for enlisted personnel too, should he wish so?

These may be obvious questions for an American, but I am of course a dirty foreigner ;), so sorry!

Eagle5US
07-26-2008, 18:15
Military customs and courtesies dictate that officers are addressed as "Sir" and Enlisted soldiers addressed by their accompanying rank.
When I was an NCO, it would have in fact been disrespectful for another soldier to address me as Sir instead of my enlisted rank. "Sergeant" is generally utilized in the U. S. Army for ranks E-5 (Sergeant) through the E-8 rank of Master Sergeant. There is also an E-8 "First Sergeant" who generally has an overall leadership role. These are generally not found in Special Forces units. E-9's are addressed as Sergeant Major.

Foreign troops are understandably less restricted but we make every attempt to have them address us as appropriate for the situation we are in together and the rank we wear. It helps to maintain good discipline and promote the military model during cooperative training. Additionally, many times it is easier for foreign soldiers to relate "SGT to SGT" due to the general disparity between officers and enlisted in many countries. This becomes advantageous for training, language, camaraderie, and overall friendly good times.

Eagle

Rapid
07-26-2008, 18:39
Thank you for answering my questions. That's pretty much what I thought, but I was a little confused because I often saw civilians calling enlisted personnel "Sir" (on the internet). I was wondering if it was just a civilian thing (i.e. a sign of respect, using "Sir" in the civilian sense), or if enlisted personnel would do that between themselves too. Thanks for clearing that up! In France there's no equivalent to "Sir"; officers are addressed by their rank, similarly to enlisted personnel.

Pete
07-26-2008, 19:15
As Eagle5US said.

In a military setting it is fairly easy.

In a civilian setting it is considered polite to use "Yes, Sir" and "No Ma'am".

There are a number of one term SF, retired SF and still serving SF - as well as other branches and services that post here. I have not seen anybody throw their rank around.

I would say the majority of people who use "Sir" here are commenting on the person and being polite.

"Yes, Sir" "No Ma'am" Its a southern thing

Team Sergeant
07-26-2008, 19:38
Would a regular infantryman ever call an SF soldier "sir" out of respect?


Only once would someone make the grave mistake of calling me "sir" when I was in uniform.

If the individual that called me "sir" was still breathing after I was done yelling I would kill them and bury them in an unmarked grave at a pet cemetery.

Team Sergeant

Rapid
07-26-2008, 19:58
LOL. Thanks, Pete and Team Sergeant.

Edit: earlier I said there was no equivalent to "Sir" over here, but I overlooked the fact that certain ranks hold "Mon" before them (Mon Lieutenant for example), "Mon" being an abbreviation for "Monsieur" of course (which is sort of like Sir).

abc_123
07-26-2008, 20:03
Only once would someone make the grave mistake of calling me "sir" when I was in uniform.

If the individual that called me "sir" was still breathing after I was done yelling I would kill them and bury them in an unmarked grave at a pet cemetery.

Team Sergeant

Now that is too funny.

Also regarding civilian usage... For formal letters or letters from individuals to organizations when the particular addressee is not known then it is common to use, "Dear Sir," or "Dear Ma'am."

When the gender of the addressee is not known then use "Dear Sir" as the default.

optactical
07-26-2008, 20:13
Last I checked every BN has an HSC led by a CPT and a 1SG, 9 times out of 10 that 1SG is a tabbed guy.

There is also an E-8 "First Sergeant" who generally has an overall leadership role. These are generally not found in Special Forces units.

Snaquebite
07-26-2008, 20:29
You will also find Tabbed 1SG's in the GSBs.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
07-26-2008, 21:49
Only once would someone make the grave mistake of calling me "sir" when I was in uniform.

I don't know. When I was not in uniform many folks that had no clue I was an officer referred to me as an NCO. I took it as a compliment seeing as how I always thought of my self as a soldier who happened to hold an officer rank.:D

Eagle5US
07-26-2008, 21:52
Last I checked every BN has an HSC led by a CPT and a 1SG, 9 times out of 10 that 1SG is a tabbed guy.
Ummmmmm....WAYYYYYYYY back when I guess......there were no E-8 1SG's. Each company had their own SGM, then the GP CSM.

My apologies for my information being "dated"...let me go drink my "Ensure" now and change my "Depends" before my 2000 bed time.:munchin

Eagle

Kyobanim
07-26-2008, 22:59
My apologies for my information being "dated"...let me go drink my "Ensure" now and change my "Depends" before my 2000 bed time.

They let you stay up that late at the Senior Center?

Eagle5US
07-26-2008, 23:22
They let you stay up that late at the Senior Center?
I buck the system and trade my applesauce for Levitra:D

Eagle

Guy
07-27-2008, 00:39
I buck the system and trade my applesauce for Levitra:D

EagleDOS people are wondering why, I'm over here LMAO!!!

Stay safe.

Scimitar
07-27-2008, 04:08
This may differ in SF, but is it not generally good manners to refer to an E8 MSG as "Master Sergeant" when initally meeting him and letting him (or her for that mater) advise you to drop it to just Sergeant?

Scimtar

Rapid
07-27-2008, 07:34
Just to clear something up after someone asked me about the original post. The term "dirty foreigner" referring to myself was just sarcasm, i.e. a jab at myself. I hang around a group of around 50% Americans and 50% Europeans, and that's our little completely sarcastic joke referring to us Euros. If any mods think I should remove it though, no problem. :D

Team Sergeant
07-27-2008, 10:50
This may differ in SF, but is it not generally good manners to refer to an E8 MSG as "Master Sergeant" when initally meeting him and letting him (or her for that mater) advise you to drop it to just Sergeant?

Scimtar
A 1SG or SGM is referred to by their rank:

"Good Morning 1SG" or "Doesn't that boot polish smell good Sergeant Major?"

As was mentioned every SF Bn has "one" 1SG in charge of a headquarters support company, (Riggers, cooks, chemical, clerks, etc etc etc) and he's usually an 18Z asked to become a 1SG for the HSC. He's an E-8 that changes his rank from Master Sergeant to 1SG.

All the rest of the Sergeants, E-5 through E-8 (except 1SG) can be referred to as Sergeant.

And no its does not matter if you call a Master Sergeant, Sergeant or Master Sergeant.

Rapid, When we work with foreign soldiers we take into consideration their military custom and if they call their NCO's or sometimes Sr. NCO's "sir" then we just live with it.

TS

Blitzzz
07-28-2008, 23:34
I was made a Team SGT as an E-7. While Sgt is used outside the group areas. I mostly was referred to as "Top". As were many of you. Blitz

Eagle5US
07-29-2008, 07:07
I was made a Team SGT as an E-7. While Sgt is used outside the group areas. I mostly was referred to as "Top". As were many of you. Blitz
Top was considered a dirty word during my team tenure..."Top? TOP!?! What do you think I am, a child's plaything?!?":confused:
That is one title that boiled down to preference I think:D

Eagle

Scimitar
07-29-2008, 08:05
Thanks TS

S

highspeedmdd
07-29-2008, 11:41
In Spanish speaking militaries (like in Colombia) even people of the same rank refer to those with an earlier date of rank by that rank and preface with "Mi".

So, if one Major was talking to another Major who was senior by date of rank, he would say, Si, mi Mayor."

I always thought that was pretty strange...