MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- What started as a
research paper here nearly 30 years ago has become the Air
Force’s leading reference on writing and speaking.
In 1975, then-Air Command and Staff College
student Maj. Hank Staley submitted as his research paper the first version
of what is now “The Tongue and Quill.” The latest revision of the handbook
is now available online, said Sharon McBride, an ACSC writer and editor
who headed the revision effort. A hardcopy version will not be published.
“School officials liked the work so well they
continued using the paper as a course study project,” she said. “Within
a couple of years, the Air Force decided the ‘T and Q’ was valuable as
an all-encompassing guide for the Department of Defense, and because it
was born here, it stayed here.”
For the most part, the 2004 edition retains
most of the writing and speaking tips of past editions. Revisions include
improved organization of the information, a rearranged layout, updated
quotes, art and word lists, and new information on writing and speaking
such as persuasive communications, meetings, briefings and electronic
Many changes came from reader feedback and from
talking with people who do a lot of writing and public speaking, Ms. McBride
“I often get e-mails and feedback sheets from
people saying, ‘Sharon, we aren’t doing it that way anymore,’” she said.
“I encourage customers to use the feedback sheet found in the book to
make suggestions that will help us produce a better product in the future.”
Ms. McBride and a team of researchers in the
department of communications studies at ACSC started work on the revision
in 2000. The last version of “The Tongue and Quill,” known formally as
Air Force Handbook 33-337, was published in 1997 with 100,000 printed
copies. The next revision is scheduled for 2007.
The current edition is available online at the
Air Force Publications Web site at www.e-publishing.af.mil. (Courtesy
of Air Education and Training Command News Service)
The Deployment Center
Know your rights as a servicemember and Reservist, and get helpful
guides and tips on deployment.
Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.