Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thank You U.S. Navy

Sailors always remember a thank-you note, long after they forget what exactly they did to deserve it. Of course, there are the usual occasions to write thank you notes, but what are often more interesting are the unexpected ones.

A thank-you note is a gift in and of itself. Thank those Sailors for the great job they did on the Quarterdeck during the Commodore's visit, for the great job they did at Colors this morning, Thank them for the super job they did on the engineering inspection. Thank them for keeping the Command's 5 year safety record intact.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to writing thank-you notes. Most would prefer that you follow this rough guideline.
1. Write the thank-you note.
2. Affix stamp.
3. Mail it. I have been using this formula for 25 years or so and have yet to have one note returned.
If you are the succinct type, a correspondence card works perfectly, as does a small foldover note. Punctuality counts – and it certainly appears more sincere. Generally speaking, the message is brief and usually consists of four parts.

1. The greeting. Dear Petty Officer Smith/Lieutenant Jones.

2. An appreciation of the item or favor.

"Thank you for the the great job on the IG inspection last week."

3. Mention how important it was.

"We couldn't have passed without your great work."

4. Sign off with an appreciation of their service.

"Thank you for your service in our great Navy." That’s it. That is all there is to it.

Good intentions don’t get the job done, and while everyone intends to express a thank you, not everyone does. If your thank-you note is tardy, don’t apologize for being late. You know you are late, and the person you are writing knows it. Just get on with it.

Adapted from Crane's Guidance on Correspondence


HMS Defiant said...

I suppose so. Of course, thanks for doing your job is kind of like finding everybody just a little bit above average and it will dilute the true meaning of doing a job properly if used effusively. Busting butt and going beyond the normal range deserves a thanks but it should take a more concrete form along traditional lines such as, "you all busted hump getting through OPPE. Take the next four days off except for duty section watch standing, or a flag letter or a NAM. Show you really appreciate the accomplishment by going extraordinarily out of your way to show it. Just my 2 cents.

MCPO said...

I agree with HMS. A "thank you" letter being used for someone doing their job? Outstanding Sailors value time off, awards, and superior evals for hard work...Thank You letters should be reserved for personal matters.

If a Sailor truly was the champion that made the IG inspection's outcome favorable...reward them in public with a spot NAM, FLOC, or SOQ in front of the whole command. Leave the thank you cards for the nephew who just gave you another tie for your birthday.

Sean Heritage said...

Great advice and an even stronger example! Your personal commitment to Crane's guidance is inspiring!

I relish each and every thank you note I have received far more than any "award" I wear on my chest. Likewise, I love when a Sailor gives me reason to put pen to paper and thank them for their contribution or their parents for allowing their son/daughter to serve. An award may(?) measure success, but a thank-you note measures significance,

CWO4 Brian L. Ashpole, USN-Retired said...


It is always a personal matter when a senior writes a thank you note to a junior.

Anonymous said...


You write your thank you notes...I'll write SOQ/SOY packages, Awards, and evals to the selection boards to make our future CPOs.

Your sailors can submit these thank you notes in their packages...let's see which one gets them selected for advancement.

CWO4 Brian Ashpole, USN-Retired said...

I never felt that it was my responsibility to get anyone advanced or promoted.
It was my job to give them the opportunity to show others that they had what it takes to succeed at the next highest level.

LCDRLDO/6440 said...

A heartfelt expression of gratitude (written or verbal) from a superior, peer, or junior lasts forever.

Anonymous said...

When speaking of time off, or awards, that is standard issue Navy business, that is the norm, and to a somewhat junior Sailor (educated on the ways of the Navy), not exactly a surprise or special. To be submitted for a NAM is the standard practice for extraordinary performance. One cannot exactly be surprised for being told to don their dress/service uniform for an awards ceremony tomorrow especially if they know they did something noteworthy. In contrast, if I were to receive a thank you letter through the admin department from the CO for a job well done on a specific task, that would honestly be a genuine surprise, and the actual notion would show me that the 1. The CO knows my name, and 2. I am genuinely appreciated by the Command. Time off and awards are valued by sailors, but honestly, in the big picture, they are a cheap thrill of a "Thank you".