A Memorandum

I can hear the groans of agony from here. Memorandums. I was thinking about putting this in the officer section, but unfortunately everyone has to eventually write one of these, and they have to be correct. Hopefully this can help you out in making your own memos. There are dozens of types of memos but luckily they all have the same basic components.

  1. A Memorandum Of Agreement
  2. A Memorandum
  3. A Memorandum Of Understanding

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First, lets go over the AR that governs the use and writing of memos. Preparing and Managing Correspondence AR 25-50 is your guidance for all memos. Unlike a lot of AR’s that I have run into, this one seems to actually be pretty easy to use. I just scroll down into the example memorandum that I am looking for and just copy the formatting.

For this guide, a basic memo will be split into 3 sections. The Heading, the Body, and the Footer. Each section will then be given an explanation. If you would like to download an editable memo example click here.

Heading:

A Memorandum Of Agreement

This is the header of all memorandums. Example from AR 25-50.

  1. This is the seal for DoD and it goes on all memorandum headings in the same spot.
  2. This is where the responder can send correspondence back if they need to. It should include a good mailing address. The top line “Department of the Army” should remain the same.
  3. This is your office symbol. Every Company and unit has its own office symbol. If you do not know it, ask your S-1 they should be able to help you out. If not, find an old memorandum that was used by your unit before and it should be there.
  4. Date that the memorandum was written. Preferably the same date that it was signed, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
  5. This is a “MEMORANDUM FOR” then whoever you are writing this memo for. If it is an internal policy letter or order it will most likely be a MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD (MFR). If it is going to a different department or organization, put that organization name. If you are having problems figuring it out, take a look at the AR 25-50.
  6. This is the subject line. Basically gives the reader a brief statement about the subject of the memorandum.

Body:

This is how the body should look. Example from AR 25-50.

  1. This is how the spacing for your memorandum should be. 1 = just one space 2 = a second space. When you are first formatting your memorandum, single spacing should be used to make it easier.
  2. Paragraph 1. should begin 3 spaces below the subject line as indicated by the numbers on the left. Memorandums that I have seen usually have no less than 2-3 paragraphs. It just looks natural. If there is only 1 paragraph, there is no need for numbering.
  3. Sub-paragraphs then start with a. and are indented just below the first letter of the line in the paragraph above. If the sub-paragraph goes more than 1 line of text, the subsequent lines of words should not be indented at all.
  4. This is the last time you will indent for sub-paragraphs. If you need to use (a) then they just fall under the (1). As with the paragraphs above, all sentences longer than 1 line should not be indented at all (I know this is confusing as sh*t but just look at the examples above and AR 25-50 and you should be fine).
A memorandum for record

Footer:

  1. Begins right under the last line of the last paragraph. The “Authority Line” goes 2 spaces below.
  2. 5 spaces below that, on the left, is where any listed enclosures go. If you do not have an enclosures, you can leave this out.
  3. The “Distribution” goes 2 lines under the last line of the enclosures. If you do not have a distribution list, you can leave this out. This is usually only used if you are sending it to multiple higher commands, so they know who else has gotten this memo.
  4. This is where the physical signature goes. If you are sending this digitally, and do not have a way to copy your physical signature, you can put “///—-ORIGINAL SIGNED—-///” and you send that instead. Keep you original signed memo in your records.
  5. This is the signature block of the memo. It is not centered, but just to the right of the page. A good way to check if it is correct is to print the memo, and fold the page on the vertical mid-line. None of the signature block should be on the left of the fold. It should begin directly to the right of the fold.

Multiple Page Memos:

This is the header for a multiple page memo. Example from AR 25-50.

  1. The heading of the memo should only have your office symbol at the top, and the subject. It should be exactly the same as the ones you used at the beginning of your memo. You then begin the body of the memo 3 spaces below the header.

This is how you number a multi-page memo. Example from AR 25-50.

A Memorandum

  1. The first page on a multiple page memo does not have a page number on the bottom. Page numbers start on the bottom of the second page.

A Memorandum Of Understanding

Click here for an editable army memorandum example.