Using Cadet Ranks in Staff Emails?

Okay, I basically class staff emails in to two categories:

  1. Informal staff discussions - planning Sqn nights, discussing attendance, event organising etc

  2. Formal emails - sending names off, speaking to people outside the Sqn: Sector officers and everyone above.

Today I spent my Sunday trying to finalise tomorrow’s parade night and sending out emails to get staff away dates so I can plan the July training plan - informal emails.

In today’s couple of emails I mentioned three separate cadet NCO’s once each. One, asking a staff member to organise some courses because joe blogsy keeps pestering me for them. Two, asked CO to ask Wexo to replace john smith who can’t attend a camp anymore with a different cadet. Three, writing a date and description of activity that night e.g July 1st - Jane Doe’s sports evening (just using the surname) all to get staff to confirm availability that month.

All of these mentionings were really informal however I later get a s***ty email from Sqn Co telling me to refer to cdts by their ranks when speaking to them (always have done/still do) and when referring to them.

Do you always use cdt ranks when referring to them in staff emails?
Was I out of place in these examples?

Usually this isn’t a problem but it’s suddenly come up, what’s your thoughts?

Are you a staff member? If so your OC sounds like a tool.


Yup ,I’m VRT and been staff for 5yrs.

Agree with Prune, your OC is a total throbber.

As ever, the solution is simple - as you are so obviously unable to do the job to your OC’s satisfaction, you should pass on your duties to one who is. Which, as your OC is a total throbber who has doubtless alienated the rest of the sqn staff, will be your OC.

Enjoy your newfound life.

What I have found in recent months is if people are looking for ways to criticise you, they will use any little thing they can to do so.

I speak from personal experience - I am getting the blame for something that involved me but was discussed at a level way above my own. I was even told by wing staff that had I not had previous issues, the afore mentioned would never have been considered a problem.

But essentially, I agree with the above - your OC is a massive tool & needs to pick his battles. Otherwise his staff will leave & go somewhere they aren’t getting hassled for minor issues - be that a different Sqn, wing or even another cadet organisation.

if the emails are being used on an “official” basis (&/or being sent to or from an “” email address), then I would have considered using cadet ranks as normal protocol, same as for any form of Service writing.

However, an adverse email is not appropriate; a simple (verbal) “Oh, by the way, please can you use cadet ranks in future correspondence” request would have been more than sufficient.

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Just to throw more mud about. I do the yearly program, bader and ultilearn for my lot. If I need to contact cadets I email them and CC the boss, ALL my dealings with cadets I address them by their first name, they address me by my first name. Before I get abuse about respect etc. I did serve for 26 years and retired as a SNCO, so know a little about respect and protocol. We need to remember that they are kids not airman/women. If your standard of work is not good enough for your OC, suggest to them that you are willing to undertake some tuition from them at your convenience, if that is not possible maybe they should take on the task themselves, obviously if they have time to read and then criticize then they have time to do it them self.

I can understand why an OC might want staff to use formal terms - far more about protecting staff against future problems than about formality for the sake of formality - but there’s a significant difference between either leading by example or a quiet, and friendly, word of advice and having a go at someone in writing and on an official email system…

Possibly well intentioned, but a very poor, and very silly, way of going about it.

It very much depends on context and who else us going to see the email. If it’s for internal use only who cares as long as the information gets accrossed, some of mine have ridiculously long or double barrelled names and as such go by shortened versions, we regularly use those in emails when referring about said cadets. If it’s going off the unit or upto Wing then I would expect a level of formality as it appears more professional.

When I email my cadet NCO’s I use their first names and when they email me they call me sir. Previous exception to that was when I had a CWO as my Adjutant and as such I allowed her to call me by my name in the same way I would any other member of staff.

To be fair I apply the same system when dealing with Wing staff, if the email is informal and just for there eyes they will get first named, if it’s likely to be passed on to someone else then it’s Sir/Ma’am.

Frankly call cadets by Christian names it works for other youth organisations and it’s what happens in school, as long as it doesn’t get misread as over-familiarity or being their mate by the cadets or the others or parents thinking its a bit odd given we push the military angle. I knew if I was in bother at school as I was called by surname, there were only 2 of us in the school and the other unrelated was a girl, so unlikely to be in trouble.
In the modern era being regarded as over-familiar can be problematic as it has the possibility of leaking into social media if people aren’t careful and becoming a whole different game.
As long you haven’t got lots of the same surname, surname is better in emails or conversation etc., as you’re more likely to have more same Christian names than surname. Using a rank can be a differentiation point as well.
I personally struggle to remember cadet’s names at the best of times unless they’ve been with us for a year or two or they’re problem children or do everything.

I don’t hear the other cadet forces calling their members by their first names.

It varies from person to person. I stick to surnames with newcomers to establish that extra discipline, but I relax this in informal situations with senior cadets. On parade or formal situations it is of course surname or rank/surname. As far as I know, there is no rule written that says I must call cadets by their surname at all time.

The CCF in my experience do this the majority of the time.

I understand your point of view Teflon. However, as you say we are “pushing the military angle”. As I said previous after 26 years in the RAF, I can not remember the last time I called any of my subordinates by their rank and surname. SAC Smith can you… Cpl Bloggs just pop and … it does not happen, it is Bob or their nick name. It also depends on how respectful and mature your cadets are. The lot I work with know when to call me by my Christian name and when not too. As for social media, if you have any cadets as “friends” on social media you deserve everything coming to you. As for knowing every cadet by name, it is your responsibility to know ALL your cadets or you will fall into the trap of only knowing the good, the bad and the gobby. The grey cadet deserves the same amount of recognition as the high / low fliers.

Well that explains a lot about their discipline.

You see that is where the difference is. In my case, I have been there, done it full time for a living and not just played at it. Your comment reference discipline is quite interesting. I am here trying to guide these young people into how to be responsible citizens. Obviously you are trying to recreate a Corp of yestur-year bullies based on “Bad Lads Army”. In my 18 years of dealing with the ACO, I can say hand on heart that there are far more staff within the ATC trying to morph the cadets into there own little 1950’s Air Force. The old battle of the ATC “v” CCF is dying with the CEP. There are many CCF cadets now in the same financial background bracket as the majority of the ATC. It is up to all of us to mould todays youth into respectful individuals, no matter what branch of the ACO they come from.

I’ll bite. This comments interests me. You suggest we are playing at it. Playing at what? We aren’t here trying to be a mini air force. I don’t train my mini airmen to react to scramble sirens, or get trashed at the Bop and charged the following morning. You seem to be one of those who thinks the ATC is full of pretend officers, and SNCOs yet you seem to be here yourself. I’ve been in the ACO for longer than 18 years, and ive seen more regular members of the RAF be something they are not, than i have seen in the ACO (and remember the ACO is bigger than the RAF).


Those who have nothing constructive to say always revert to insults. You proved my point. Thank you.

to @Plt_Off_Prune defence…he has put something constructive then insulted you.

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Don’t think I have ever been “playing” at being an ACO instructor - I’m pretty sure I have just been an ACO instructor. Also, it is very rare I call a cadet by their first name - I am sure my cadet don’t think anything by it and I am sure my NCOs recognise the respect I give them by calling them by the Rank they have earned. I expect to be called Sir (or boss) and I return the compliment to cadets in a similar way.

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