- 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).
Friday, April 20, 2012
Writing to Your New Commanding Officer
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” may be a cliché, but you should keep this in mind when you sit down to write a letter of introduction to your new commanding officer. It’s not rocket science, but it does require some thought and attention to detail.
Your goal is to briefly introduce yourself, provide relevant contact information, fill the command in on any special personal issues that impact your immediate future, and give a sense of cheerful eagerness to get on with your new job. The letter will be read by your commanding officer (CO), executive officer (XO), and department head. Very likely, it will also make its way to your sponsor and the officer you will be relieving. Keep this in mind as you draft your letter; there are some rather infamous examples of poorly written letters of introduction floating around the fleet.
Below are a few tips on drafting your letter:
The above list is not intended to intimidate; it is presented merely so you can avoid some of the pitfalls that previous junior officers have occasionally fallen into. If you keep it positive, to the point, and use the judgment that helped you earn your commission, your letter will serve you well.
From the United States Naval Institute's Naval Wiki HERE.