originators code are placed in descending order,
with the date the letter is signed being the last item.
FILE NUMBERS. The file number is a four-
or five-digit number which represents a letters
subject, helps to file and retrieve correspondence,
and eventually dispose of it. The file number is
the appropriate standard subject identification
code (SSIC), which can be found in SEC-
NAVINST 5210.11 series. A file number is re-
quired on all correspondence.
ORIGINATORS CODE. An originators
code, formed according to local instructions and
serving as a basic identification symbol, appears
on all outgoing correspondence. It is usually the
office symbol of the drafter, but it may be the
hull number of a ship. An example is: AD18-80.
This is office/department 80 of ship AD-18.
SERIAL NUMBERS. All classified cor-
respondence must have a serial number. Whether
unclassified correspondence is also serialized
depends on local policy. A command that pro-
duces little correspondence probably does not
need to serialize. An activity that uses serial
numbers starts a new sequence at the beginning
of each calendar year and assigns the numbers
consecutively. The serial number, when used, is
combined with the originators code. The follow-
ing format is used: Ser AD18-80/0726.
There is no punctuation following the Ser and
no spaces before or after the slash. For classified
correspondence, the classification letter precedes
the serial number (C for Confidential, S for
Secret, T for Top Secret). For example: Ser
This is the sixteenth piece of confidential cor-
respondence originating from this ship since the
beginning of the year.
DATES. Date all copies of a letter. Type or
stamp the date on the same day that the cor-
respondence is signed. Follow a day-month-year
order without punctuation. Use the first three let-
ters of the month and the last two digits of the
year, i.e., 13 Mar 87. The date is placed flush with
the identification symbols on the line immediately
below the originators code.
Every standard letter must have a From block.
As a general rule, use the commanding officers
title, the activitys name, and, for a command
based ashore, the geographical location, without
the state or ZIP Code. The precise wording of the
address comes from the Standard Navy Distribu-
tion List (SNDL), OPNAV P09B2-107 (Parts 1
and 2), or the List of Marine Corps Activities,
MCO P5400.6. Type From: at the left margin,
on the second line below the date. Two spaces
follow the colon, then the title and address of the
originator. Continuing lines begin flush with the
first word following the heading:
From: Commanding Officer, Fleet and Mine
Warfare Training Center, Charleston
Some variations exist. If a one-of-a-kind title
adequately identifies an activity, i.e., Chief of
Naval Operations, the location is unnecessary.
Alternately, some commanding officers prefer the
entire mailing address to aid in replies.
In general, the To block follows the same for-
mat as the from block. Type To: at the left margin
on the first line under the from block. Four spaces
follow the colon then the title and address, in-
cluding the ZIP Code. Additionally, the use of
codes is encouraged. Place codes after the activi-
tys name, i.e.,
Naval Medical Command
(MEDCOM-16). Add the word Code before codes
that start with numbers. A code that starts with
a letter is readily identified as a code.
To: Commander, Naval Medical Command
(MEDCOM-16), Navy Department,
Washington, DC 20372-5120
A via block is used when one or more activities
should see the letter before it reaches the action
addressee. The format is similar to the from and
to blocks. Type Via: at the left margin on the first
line below the to block, with three spaces follow-
ing the colon. Type the title and activity of the
via addressee. Where there is more than one via
addressee, they are listed with Arabic numerals
in parentheses in the sequence through which the
correspondence is to be sent.
The subject is a sentence fragment that tells
the reader at a glance the subject matter of the
letter. Type Subj: at the left margin on the second