Help me write a letter to the Navy
May 9, 2023 10:27 PM   Subscribe

Very long story short: My aunty has asked me to write a letter supporting her application for my deceased father’s navy service records. All good, but I have no idea what to write. Please help.

Probably unnecessary context: My father died when I was a kid, but unfortunately when still here on this earthly plane, he was basically The Worst. He was a Very Bad Man. Years before I or any of my siblings came into being, he served in the Navy - as far as I know it was one of those “join the navy or go to jail” type of situations. Fast forward about a million years to last week when my aunty contacted me to ask whether I was ok with her applying to the Defence Forces to receive his service records and any medals he might have. I am totally happy for her to do this - she knows what a piece of garbage he was, but he was still her brother and I respect that. She asked me to write a letter supporting the application, which again, I am fine to do. But I am coming up blank in what to say. I have zero warm feelings for the man so I’m not interested in anything heartfelt, but a one line letter where I just declare “I [name] support the application for [father’s name] service records and medals” seems a bit… barren? From a cursory Google, I can see that as the applicants, they already have to fill in a form that will ask for details like his DOB, service number (which I wouldn’t know anyway) and stuff like that. So repeating a bunch of that feels superfluous.

I know about 2 sentences back you probably started thinking “why doesn’t she just go back and ask what they want?”. And yeah, I could do that, but due to weird family dynamics and some vaguely passive aggressive shit said during the conversation (not by me), I would rather gnaw my own arm off or even fake my own death to be honest.

Any ideas?
posted by BeeJiddy to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

To Whom It May Concern,

I am [name], the daughter of [name] and his closest living relative [or whatever other such thing is accurate]. I support this application for [father’s name] service records and medals.



There is not much more to be said in such a letter. It is for some functionary to know that you as a close relative do not object to the release of these records and not anything more.
posted by flug at 10:38 PM on May 9 [21 favorites]

Came to say exactly as above but with "and am happy for them to be provided to [aunt] as requested. Please let me know if you need further information" because making three word emails into 2 paragraphs is basically my job.
posted by Adifferentbear at 11:36 PM on May 9 [12 favorites]

I have zero warm feelings for the man so I’m not interested in anything heartfelt, but a one line letter where I just declare “I [name] support the application for [father’s name] service records and medals” seems a bit… barren?

Sounds like barren is exactly what's required here. No need to overthink this. You're not trying to melt some bureaucrat's heart, just supplying a tick for one of their boxes. By paring your supporting letter down to its bare factual minimum you're actually doing the recipient a favour.
posted by flabdablet at 12:24 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]

The only thing I would add to the very good advice above, is that I might take the time to have your letter and signature notarized so there is NO question you wrote the letter and not someone else pretending to be you. Notarizing it will cover whatever functionary's ass needs covering to approve of the application.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:10 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]

Yes, this letter is soley to demonstrate consent of direct relations to have records released, not a character endorsement or an entreaty.
posted by ananci at 11:42 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]

I've been using ChatGPT to write shell letters for me, especially when I can't get started, and it performs quite well.
posted by mcgsa at 11:56 AM on May 10

As a sibling, your aunt should be able to request your father's service records on her own, without your involvement, according to this info on the VA site. Siblings are listed along with spouse, parent or child as qualifying. But if your aunt would prefer to have your letter, the above suggestions for a simple letter are fine.
posted by beagle at 12:09 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

Yep, just keep things factual and pertinent to the request. You're writing to a government bureaucracy. They don't care or need to know that he was a douche-canoe or beloved saint, they're only concerned about consent from nearest relations. A short letter is even better, since it's a lot easier for the bureaucracy to understand the request if it isn't padded with meandering, irrelevant fluff. Before everything became forms, this is how dealing with bureaucracy often worked.
posted by Aleyn at 2:28 PM on May 10

Response by poster: Yeah, I had wondered the same thing re: my aunty being my father's sister and why she would even need my endorsement. I'm not in the USA but anything I found regarding the process where I live seemed to imply the same.

Either way, thank you so much to everyone giving me their blessing to write a max 2 sentence letter. You've saved me from overthinking (this time, at least).
posted by BeeJiddy at 12:00 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]

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