Use of Terms A-Z

Military Community and Family Policy writing guidance aligns with The Associated Press Stylebook with a few exceptions. Definitions of military-specific terms appear below, along with editorial guidance for certain commonly used words for MC&FP and our programs. See additional writing guidance in the Writing Best Practices section. Find program-specific guidance in the Program Content Guides section.


Gold Star and Surviving Family Member Representative – Always capitalize this when initially speaking about the representative. Use lowercase representative on second reference.

Gold Star Lapel Button and the Next of Kin of Deceased Lapel Button – Capitalize these button titles in all references. Note that the preferred term is button, not pin.

Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, Gold Star Spouses Day – This is the correct way to write these observed recognition days.

gold star survivors – Lowercase gold star when describing these surviving family members. For example, do not capitalize gold star parents.

guardian – An individual who serves in the U.S. Space Force is a guardian. The plural form is guardians. Lowercase in all uses.