The ability to write a professional Army memo is a necessity for any service member. The Army sets high standards and provides specific guidelines for non-ambiguous, clear writing in Army Regulation 25-50, "Preparing and Managing Correspondence." It’s essential to set an example for subordinates when writing an official Army memorandum. Take the time and effort to produce quality memorandums that get critical information to your recipients quickly and competently.
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Use 1-inch margins for the top, sides and bottom. Use a ½-inch top margin setting for the header. Center the heading, and type “DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY” in capital letters in 12-point Times Roman bold font. Continue to type the entire heading in capital letters. Press "Enter," and type the department or unit you are serving. Press "Enter," and type the address of your unit or department using the nine-digit ZIP code. You can also choose to download a letterhead template (see Resources). You will need to unzip or extract the file after download. Save the file to your hard drive. A box will open prompting your organisation's information. The template policy is reflected in Army Regulation 25-30. The template has the seal of the Army and the appropriate 12-point Times Roman font setting. Once you have completed the heading, save the file to your hard drive as is.
Change your font to non-bold lower case 12-point Times Roman font, and make sure your text is right justified. Type the date four lines below the heading. The date must be formatted as a numbered day of the month, the abbreviated name of the month and a two-digit year or as a numbered day of the month, the full name of month and a four-digit year. The format for dates must remain the same throughout the memorandum.
Make sure your text is left justified. Three lines below the date, type “MEMORANDUM FOR,” followed by the name of the recipient. Only use “the” before the recipient if the memorandum is directed to an individual.
Skip a line, and type “SUBJECT,” followed by a colon, two spaces and the subject of the memorandum in all capital letters.
Press "Enter" three times, and start the body of the memorandum with a short, concise, to-the-point sentence, followed by the main idea or the reason for writing. Any references need to be listed in the first paragraph. Include title, date and number for publications. For correspondence references, state the type, origin, office representation, date and the subject of the correspondence. For classified references, you must state the reference as “Secret Message.” When referencing classified material, refer to Army Regulation 380-5.
Use active voice and concise, organised sentences. An Army memorandum should allow for rapid reading and be free of grammatical and mechanical errors. Sentences are to be short and not wordy. Write in an informal tone with one- and two-syllable words. Paragraphs should not be more than 10 sentences.
Double-space between paragraphs. Number paragraphs if you have more than one. Letter sub-paragraphs alphabetically and indent four spaces. Place two spaces after the number or letter header. Number or letter the second and third sub-paragraphs in parentheses, and indent eight spaces. If you use sub-paragraphs, you must use at least two.
Close the memorandum by pressing "Enter" five times and with the tab button set on the default setting, press "Tab" six times. Enter your full name in all capital letters. Underneath your name, enter your rank. Underneath your rank, enter your position in title case. Sign your name above your typed full name in black ink only.
Tips and warnings
- Capitalise all ranks and positions.
- Use abbreviations and brevity codes authorised in AR 310-50.
- Print on both sides of the paper if the letter is longer than one page.
- Avoid hyphenation.
- Do not use periods after abbreviated words in an address.
- Do not use memorandums for corresponding with the families of military personnel or private businesses.
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