How to Write the Date in Military Format

While dates can be written in a number of different ways, most options are not consistent with proper military date format. If you correspond with anyone who is in the United States military, whether for personal or professional reasons, it's a good idea to get familiar with the proper format.

sign with military date format sign with military date format

Military Date Format Requirements

The way the date appears on official military correspondence and other documents must follow a particular order and format. Proper military date format includes the day, month and year, in that order.

There are specific requirements for the number of characters, or numbers and letters. When taking into account the character limits, the format can be expressed as DD MMM YY with no commas. This indicates that:

  • the day should have exactly two numbers
  • the month should have exactly three letters
  • the year should have exactly two numbers

As a result, the military date format for the 3rd of July in 2021 would be 03 JUL 21.

Military Day Requirements (DD)

The first part of a properly formatted military date is the numeric date. All dates have to be exactly two numbers, so the first nine days of each month have a zero in front of the actual number. This ensures there is no duplication in numbers and no variation in the number of characters.

  • 1st = 01
  • 2nd = 02
  • 3rd = 03
  • 4th = 04
  • 5th = 05
  • 6th = 06
  • 7th = 07
  • 8th = 08
  • 9th = 09

Every other day is simply written with the actual number since all of the rest are naturally two digits. For example, the 10th of a month would be written as "10," just as the 28th of a month would be written as "28."

Military Month Abbreviations (MMM)

In the military date format, the month must be expressed as three characters. That means that all months except for May must be abbreviated. Each abbreviation simply uses the first three letters of the month's name. Additionally, the letters that stand for a month must be written in all capital letters.

  • January = JAN
  • February = FEB
  • March = MAR
  • April= APR
  • May = MAY
  • June = JUN
  • July = JUL
  • August = AUG
  • September = SEP
  • October = OCT
  • November = NOV
  • December = DEC

Military Year Abbreviation (YY)

When writing the date in military format, only the last two digits of the year should be included.

  • 2019 = 19
  • 2020 = 20
  • 2021 = 21

Examples of Dates Written in Military Format

To get used to reading or writing the date in military format, it's a good idea to review what a few familiar dates look like when penned or typed in this style. The list below includes a number of holidays often celebrated in the United States, with their 2021 dates expressed in military format

  • New Year’s Day - 01 JAN 21
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - 18 JAN 21
  • President’s Day - 15 FEB 21
  • Easter - 04 APR 21
  • Memorial Day - 31 MAY 21
  • Independence Day - 04 JUL 21
  • Labor Day - 06 SEP 21
  • Columbus Day - 11 OCT 21
  • Veterans Day - 11 NOV 21
  • Thanksgiving Day - 25 NOV 21
  • Christmas Day - 25 DEC 21

Military Time is Different Too

Writing the date isn't the only thing that is expressed differently in the military than in civilian life. Time is also expressed differently in the military. Rather than using a.m. and p.m., military time follows a continuous 24-hour loop. Review this military time converter if you're interested in mastering how to use the proper military time format.

Learn More Military Terminology

Now that you know how the Army writes dates, as well as all of the other branches of service, take the time to learn the meaning of some common military vocabulary words. From there, expand your knowledge even more by mastering a selection of military slang sayings. You may also want to explore some military acronyms.

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