U.S. Navy Style Guide

Navy editors and writers should follow the most recent edition of the Associated Press Stylebook except as noted in this U.S. Navy Style Guide.

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abbreviations, acronyms - Upper case abbreviations even if they are not true acronyms, like NATO. Also, spell out in first reference.

The individual augmentees (IAs) met May 5. All Sailors reporting to IA duty are invited to attend.

Other examples:
BUMED - Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
CIWS - close-in weapons system
CNO - Chief of Naval Operations
OPTEMPO - Operations Tempo or Tempo of Operations
OCONUS - Outside Continental United States
RHIB - rigid hull inflatable boat
SECNAV - Secretary of the Navy


aboard vs. on board - These two terms mean nearly the same thing and in some uses are interchangeable. "Aboard" is the preferred usage. Use "on board" as two words, but hyphenate on board when used as an adjective. "Aboard" means on board, on, in or into a ship.

The crew is aboard the ship.
An on-board medical team uses the on-board computer.

BUT NOT: The Sailor is going on board the ship.

Also, a Sailor is stationed "on," "at," "is serving with" or "is assigned to" a ship. A Sailor does not serve "in" a ship.

A ship is "based at" or "homeported at" a specific place. A plane is "stationed at" or is "aboard" a ship; is "deployed with" or is "operating from" a ship. Squadrons are "stationed at" air stations. Air wings are "deployed with" ships.


accept, except - "accept" means to receive and "except" means to exclude


active duty (noun), active-duty (adjective) - Lower case on all references.

As a noun, two words: Navy personnel serve on active duty.

As an adjective, hyphenate: All active-duty personnel must participate.


affect, effect - See AP Stylebook


air wing - Use as two words.


aircraft - acceptable characterization of naval aviation platforms. Do not refer to military aircraft as "airplanes" or "planes."


aircraft designations - Always used as a letter(s) followed by a hyphen and number: SH-60B.

Note: For print publications, aircraft name (e.g. Tomcat, Hornet, etc.) should be italicized. For News Service story submissions, use regular text (e.g. Tomcat, Hornet, etc.)


aircraft squadrons - Spell out full name of squadron on first reference. On second reference, use abbreviation and hyphenate.

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 deployed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). During their deployment, VFA-97 maintained a perfect safety record.


aircrew, aircrew member - Per Webster's one or two words.


all hands, all-hands - Two words as noun: He call all hands to the meeting. Hyphenate as adjective/compound modifier: They attended the all-hands call.


Anchors Aweigh - not Anchors Away


anti-aircraft, anti-submarine - Hyphenate


Arabian Gulf - use instead of Persian Gulf


armed forces - Capitalize only as a proper name (Armed Forces Day), not as a noun (the armed forces) or adjective (an armed-forces member). Lower case unless part of a title or when preceded by U.S., as in U.S. Armed Forces.


attribution - Identify the source of reported information; especially objective and opinioned-based statements. Include context in which comment was made if it is not apparent.

Use "said" in quotes. Do not use "says."

See "quotation marks."


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