Benefit Fact Sheet
Service members upon retirement may be eligible for letters of appreciation from the Secretary of Defense and current or previous Presidents of the United States. Requirements for eligibility and submission process vary by individual issuing the letter.
Army National Guard Service members may be eligible for letters of appreciation upon their retirement. Eligibility varies by individual issuing the letter.
Presidential Letter of Appreciation - 30+ years of Service
A Presidential Letter of Appreciation (PLOA), or retirement letter, is a standard letter of appreciation prepared by the White House and signed by the President of the United States. The letter recognizes military or Department of Defense civilian retirees with 30 or more years of creditable service for retired pay. This award may be given to civilians, Service members who served in multiple branches, and those who served in both military and civilian positions. Each Military Department requests PLOAs through their respective White House Liaison Officer (WHLO) and provides the information necessary to complete the letter.
Requests must be submitted at least 90 days in advance of actual retirement date or retirement ceremony (whichever comes first). Due to the high volume of submissions, status updates are not provided on retirement letter requests.
Submission Process for Department of the Army - Military and Civilians
Each Service Department shall request PLOAs through their respective WHLO. The WHLOs are a function of each Service Secretary’s administrative department and are located in the Pentagon. The role of the WHLOs is to serve as the official channel between the Military Services and the White House. Only requests routed through the WHLOs will be reviewed by the White House.
For information and the form to request a PLOA for a Department of the Army retiree, please email the Army White House Liaison Office (if the email link does not work, copy and paste this address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Active Duty Military Retirement Letter from former Presidents
Military Letters of Appreciation may be requested from former Presidents. Each President has their own process for requesting a letter. Requests should include: full name, rank of retiree, and date of retirement.
President Barack Obama
Requests for Military Letters of Appreciation from President Obama are processed through the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama at: https://barackobama.com/. Requests may be submitted online or sent to the following address:
Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066
President George W. Bush
President Bush is honored to send Military Letters of Appreciation to retirees with at least 20 years of service. Active Duty Military Retirement Letter Requests are processed through the George W. Bush Presidential Center at: https://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/.
Please allow at least 8 weeks for processing. Requests are processed in the order in which they are received. If the retirement ceremony is more than 6 months away, please wait to submit your request until the ceremony is within 6 months.
President William J. Clinton
President Clinton is honored to send Military Letters of Appreciation to retirees with at least 20 years of service. Military Letters of Appreciation requests are processed through the Clinton Foundation at: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/ and may be requested online.
If the retirement ceremony is more than 6 months away, please wait to submit your request until the ceremony is within 6 months.
President Jimmy Carter
Requests for Military Retirement letters from President Carter are processed through the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum at: https://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/. All correspondence must be sent via the U.S. Postal Service to:
The Carter Center
453 John Lewis Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307
Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense provides retirement letters to Service members with minimum 25 years of combined Military and Federal service. A sample format of the letter to be submitted for signature can be found here.
Email all requests to: email@example.com
Note: Former Commander in Chiefs are unable to sign Retirement Certificates.
Presidential Letter of Appreciation:
Office of Barack and Michelle Obama:
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum:
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum: