From: USA Me-FL-DC-Guam-WS-NE-IL-?
I'm no longer active , but my JAG spouse still is. Sir to a woman will get you a raised eyebrow, but no reprimand. Ma'am is still accepted. The exception would be in "formal" usage. Such as "I relieve you sir"", regardless of sex.
And as an Airdale, we didn't use "aye, aye sir" in dailey usage, but would definately use it in formal usage. Like at a Captain's mast. Or a change of command. Or even in a change of duty such as SDO or ASDO. (I once condensed "I stand relived sir" into a split second. As I was turning over the duty, the red "crash phone" rang. The look of panic in the eyes of the oncoming watch was wonderful!).
I didn't know that either was acceptable. I think the impetus is that you see an officer, not a gender, but it's never going to not rub me the worng way to hear women called "sir."
If your wife has access to whatever the military calls their Westlaw (maybe Westlaw; I don't have a password anymore)--the archive of CM decisions or perhaps just appealed ones-- maybe you could ask her if she knows of CM precedent where the decision turned on the distinction between "Yes, sir" and "Aye aye, sir." We were told in military justice class at OCS there were cases, but it was long ago and I doubt they ever cited them. It's possible they are no longer prcedent if any did exist. I'd be interested if it could be done with a keyword search.
She said she would be happy to research it, but wasn't familiar with such a case. My gut feeling is that it's one of those military lies they tell to newly entered persons like "if you get killed in a car accident, and your not wearing a seatbelt , your heirs won't get your insurance". Or my favorite, "if you get a sunburn, we will charge you for DESTRUCTION OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY". (Negligence sure...if you miss a duty or watch due to your sunburn.But ....).
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