1A1. General. The history of the U.S. Navy is filled with the traditions of its heroes. Since its founding, the Navy has preserved the memories of those whose courage and ability have brought honor and victory to this nation. While more than a brief discourse on naval history is beyond the scope of this manual, it is only fitting that some mention of this rich heritage be made. In addition, this chapter also includes a short discussion of some of the service customs and usages which are the outgrowth of this resplendent past.
A. The History and Traditions of the United States Navy
1A2. The Navy during the Revolution. Unlike the highly organized and efficient force our Navy is today, the Navy which fought in America's war for independence was small. It consisted of ships collected by the Continental Congress, the navies of the individual states, and privateers (privately owned craft outfitted for war). Yet even this small force was able not only to destroy and capture British ships and supplies, but also to hurt British morale.
One of the Navy's greatest heroes, John Paul Jones, emerged from this war. Born in England as John Paul, he served many years at sea on British merchant ships. A mutiny on board one of his ships, in which the ringleader was killed, resulted in his coming to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and in his changing his name to John Paul Jones. Shortly after the war broke out, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the newly-founded Navy. It was not long before he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and given command of the Ranger. He did so well harassing the British in American waters that he was sent across the Atlantic to raid British shipping in its home waters. Later he received a ship from the French which he rechristened the Bonhomme Richard. While in command of her, he fought the historic battle in which he captured the bigger British ship, the Serapis. During this encounter, Jones, though his ship was badly battered and leading, answered the Serapis' captain's query as to whether he had struck his colors with, "I have not yet begun to fight."
Jones' greatness was the result of his daring and bravery, as well as his unlimited initiative and his ability to get the utmost out of his men, who admired and respected him.
Jones was not the only outstanding officer who emerged from the war. There were Wickes and Conyngham, who operated in European waters, and Biddle and Barry, who battle din American waters.
1A3. Troubles with France and the Barbary Pirates. After the Revolutionary War, the fortunes of the Navy declined, and it, in fact, ceased to exist. The new government, with an empty treasury and also with a public apathetic toward maintaining either an army or a navy, either sold or gave away all its naval vessels.
This action soon proved disastrous because the Barbary Pirates began capturing our merchant ships and imprisoning their crews. Public sentiment soon caused Congress to re-establish the Navy, and to order the building of six new frigates.
Fortunately, Congress allocated the task of building these ships to Joshua Humphreys, a Philadelphia Quaker. he was a shipbuilding genius, and believed that the new frigates "should combine such qualities of strength, durability, swiftness of sailing, and force, as to render them superior to any frigate belonging to the European Powers." His chief innovations were provisions for heavier batteries, thicker scantlings, finer lines, and longer and stouter spars than those of the British frigates. The six famous frigates he built were the United States, Constitution, Constellation, President, Chesapeake, and Congress. Two of these, the Constitution and Constellation, are still in existence and in the possession of the Navy.
It might be wise to review the ships of that period. All were very much alike, and their classification into war craft and merchant craft served to distinguish purpose, not type. Naval vessels were divided into three classes: (1) ships-of-the-line, (2) frigates, and (3) sloops-of-war. Ships-of-the-line were heavy vessels with 2 or 3 gun decks, carrying 75 to 125 guns, and were the battleships of that period. Frigates were
the heavy cruisers of the day with one gun deck below the spar deck, and were speedier than the heavy ships-of-the-line. Sloops-of-war were the small cruisers or destroyers of the sea, and carried all armament on the spar deck.
Humphrey's six new frigates did not see immediate action, however, as in 1795 a treaty was ratified with Algiers requiring the United States to pay maritime stores amounting to $21,600 annually to Algiers; and in the next year a similar treaty was signed with Tripoli. [Similar arrangements were common with the various European powers.]
New troubles appeared quickly when the French began to capture our merchant ships [during the period of the Napoleonic Wars]. This spurred Congress to increase our still pitifully small Navy, and to establish in 1798 the office of the Secretary of the Navy, to which Benjamin Stoddert, was appointed, this function previously having been performed by the Secretary of War. About this time, Congress also passed an Act for the Better Government of the Navy of the United States. This act embodied a set of regulations taken almost work for word from the rules governing the Royal Navy. In short, the discipline and traditions of the British Service, at that time the best in the world, were adopted as the standards of our own.
Thomas Truxtun, who had served on a privateer during the Revolution, was undoubtedly the hero of the undeclared war with France. He commanded the Constellation, and in 1799 defeated the Insurgente, and the next year the Vengeance. The latter battle was fought at night, lasting from 2000 to 0100.; Serving under Truxtun, and in control of the maintop, was Midshipman Jarvis, a boy in his 'teens. When severe damage to the mainmast was reported to him buy a sailor who begged him to come down before the mast fell, he replied, "If the mast goes, we go with it. Our post is here." The next roll sent the tall mast splintering over the side, throwing Jarvis to his death.
Truxtun's formula for victory was simple: care for your men; see that each understands his duties; exact instant obedience; superintend everything; practice daily with the guns. he set the standards for the new Navy. Soon our naval vessels and privateers were raising such havoc with French naval and merchant ships that the French agreed to a peace treaty.
In the meantime our relations with the Barbary Pirates had not improved, and in 1802 it became necessary to maintain a Mediterranean Squadron to protect our merchant shipping. When war finally broke out, Commodore Edward Preble was sent to the Mediterranean on the Constitution to command the squadron.
Preble believed in Truxtun's ideas and expanded them. He introduced iron discipline in to the service when it was most needed, and yet he became the idol of his officers and men because he was interested in their success. He instilled in his subordinates the necessity for obedience, courage and efficiency--qualities which have since been the standards for the Navy. He has often been called the true founder of the U.S. Navy, for his squadron was a training school for most of the young officers who later distinguished themselves in the War of 1812.
During the war with the pirates, two dramatic incidents occurred which were influential in molding the traditions of our youthful Navy. The Philadelphia had fallen into the hands of the Tripolitans and was making an important addition to their harbor defenses. It was young Lieutenant Stephen Decatur who went to Preble and volunteered to destroy the ship. With 74 officers and men, he stole into the harbor at night in a small ketch. Within five minutes they had complete possession of the ship, cutting down the foe or driving them into the sea. Combustibles were passed aboard, and presently the ship was burning fiercely. The boarders then made good their escape in the ketch.
Perhaps no act of the first half of the nineteenth century thrilled Americans more than the destruction of the Philadelphia. This feat made Decatur the most striking figure of the time. The respect bestowed upon him by his men was matched only by his love for his country. This was evidenced by his ringing toast several years later: "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong."
Much more tragic but equally as heroic was the second incident in the Mediterranean. Commodore Preble decided to send the Intrepid into the harbor of Tripoli and explode it in order to destroy the ships and harbor defenses. Captain Richard Sommers volunteered to lead the expedition. About 100 barrels of powder and 150 shells were placed aboard. Fuzes were installed that would burn 15 minutes before igniting the explosives, and thus give the men time to escape in the small boats. Unfortunately, before their objective was reached, a tremendous explosion occurred. While non one knows exactly what happened, it seems evident that the ship was intercepted by the enemy. Rather than surrender, they must have thrown a match into the explosives; and the crew and ship went up together. Thus another gallant deed was added to those which form the basis for the traditions of the Navy.
1A4. The War of 18912 and subsequent growth of the Navy. The period of war between the years of 1812 and 1815 has been called the Golden Age of the U.S. Navy. Although our Navy in the War of 1812 was outnumbered 40 to 1 by the British Navy, it fought a series of frigate and sloop-of-war duels which resulted in astounding victories. These may be explained, in part, by the fact that our frigates were the best constructed in the world and our gunnery more accurate than the British. Daring and enterprise also characterized our forces and brought forth numerous heroes.
This was an era when fighting slogans were coined, such as James Lawrence's "Fight her 'til she sinks," and "Don't give up the ship," and Oliver Hazard Perry's, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."
In addition to Perry's victory on Lake Erie, there were Thomas Macdonough's triumph on Lake Champlain, Isaac Chauncey's on Lake Ontario, Commodore John Rodgers' and Captain David Porter's successful cruises, and Joshua Barney's privateering. There were also the victory of Old Ironsides (the nickname of the Constitution), Isaac Hull commanding, over the Guerriere; that of Stephen Decatur in the United States over the Macedonian; and that of the Wasp over the Frolic.
From 1815 until the War Between the States, this country enjoyed a long period of peace, interrupted only by the short-lived Mexican War. During this interval, the practice of dividing the Navy's cruising vessels into several squadrons, assigned to particular geographic areas in the Atlantic and elsewhere, was inaugurated. It served as a means of policing certain seas overrun with pirates, suppressing the slave trade, and protecting and promoting sea trade throughout the world, Each ship was considered a potential solitary raider rather than a unit of a fighting fleet. Ships, even when in company, rarely engaged in maneuvers.
An outstanding weakness of the service was the lack of disciplinary training and naval indoctrination of its midshipmen. Until 1854, young officers received only rudimentary instruction under unfavorable conditions on board receiving and cruising ships. An incident occurred at sea in 1842 which shocked the country and was to have far-reaching effect. In that year Midshipman Philip Spencer, son of the Secretary of War under President Tyler, and two seamen were hanged at the yardarm of the U.S. brig Somers for attempting a mutiny. The result of the Spencer incident, which clearly showed the demoralizing influence of taking undisciplined young men into the service, was the founding the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1945. Regardless of many old timers, who laughed at the idea of "teaching sailors on shore," the institution was established. It was opened mainly through the efforts of George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy at the time, and was placed under the direction of Commander Franklin Buchanan with 50 midshipmen and 7 instructors. Time has proved this to have been an essential step toward producing a thoroughly competent officer corps. The Academy, furthermore, has nurtured a high degree of unity, general efficiency, and morale in the Navy.
An outstanding officer of this period of peace was Matthew Fontaine Maury, who often has been called the "Pathfinder of the Seas." It was he who collected data about winds and currents, paths of storms, and the quickest routes between ports. He was also the first to establish the existence of the Gulf Stream. Today, Maury's pilot charts, brought up to date, are indispensable in making ocean travel safe and expeditious. In addition to this, he helped establish naval education at the Academy.
1A5. War Between the States. Although the Navy did not play a particularly big part in the War Between the States, it did accomplish two feats: (1) the blockading of Southern ports, and (2) the splitting of the Confederate States by gaining control of the Mississippi River.
The outstanding hero of the Civil War was David Glasgow Farragut, our first "Admiral of the Navy." It might be noted here that there have been only two other officers who have been Admirals of the Navy, David Dixon Porter and George Dewey. Seldom, if ever, has a naval officer influenced his successors as much as Farragut. Just as officers in the Royal Navy, when facing great crises seek guidance from the memory of Nelson and his great feats, so American officers look to Farragut for stimulation.
When the War Between the States broke out, Farragut had already served 49 years, having enlisted when very young. He was a midshipman when 10 years old, in command of a ship at 12, and a prisoner of war at 13. He was put in command of an expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, and at Mobile, while he was stationed on the Hartford, the incident occurred for which Farragut is best remembered. During a critical phase of the battle, torpedoes (mines) were reported ahead. Knowing that the Tecumseh, with almost all hands had just gone down in that area, he shouted, "Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!" So that he might command the engagement from the best vantage point and yet not be in danger of falling overboard if wounded, he climbed the rigging and lashed himself to it. He then steamed safely through, and Mobile Bay was forced.
The other important battle of the war was significant not so much as to the outcome of the war but as a preview of things to come. This was the famous battle between the Confederate's Merrimac and the Union's Monitor. It has been said that probably no naval conflict in the history of the world ever attracted so much attention as did that between the Monitor and Merrimac. It revolutionized the navies of the world and showed that wooden ships, which had long held control of the ocean, were of little or no further use for fighting purposes. The futility of the long and furious cannonade, contrasted with the outstanding victories of the Merrimac over unarmored ships on the previous day, made the battle a landmark in the development of the warship. It was the first conflict in which ironclad fought ironclad, and on that occasion armor proved superior to armament.
Let us consider for a moment how warships had been revolutionized during the period from 1840 to 1865. So sudden and so great was the change that it has been aptly said that a sailor of the Invincible Armada of 1588 would have been more at home on a frigate in 1840, than a sailor of 1840 would have been on the new-fangled ships that were emerging at the end of the War Between the States. The four major changes may be summarized as follows:
- Muzzle-loading smoothbores were being replaced by breech-loading rifled guns.
- Solid shot was being replaced by shells.
- Wooden sides were being replaced by ironclads.
- Sail was being replaced by steam.
The naval officer most responsible for reforms in ordnance was John A. Dahlgren, who might be called the father of modern ordnance and gunnery. Only against strong protest was he able to introduce the first big guns. A scientist and an inventor, an officer of genius and unusual force, he finally succeeded in arousing the Navy from its lethargy. His career was not a romantic story nor was he a popular hero, but his enthusiasm and love for the Navy have rarely been surpassed. During his last hours he said, "The officer should wear his uniform as the judge his ermine--without a stain."
1A6. Developments prior to 1897. When the War Between the States ended, the United States had the strongest Navy in the world. During the next 20 years, the shadow of neglect well-nigh obliterated the once powerful Navy as it rotted away in the navy yards. Despite the fact that the War Between the States had demonstrated the advantage of steam propulsion, when the war was over, the Navy went back to sail. Also it did not heed the revolution taking place in armament, armor, and naval architecture mentioned previously. The old ironclads were allowed to deteriorate, and in 1872 several of the obsolete type wooden vessels were ordered. Public apathy was opposed to maintaining a Navy primarily because we had no colonies to defend, no incentive to interfere in European affairs, and little merchant marine to protect.
The Navy reach its low point in 1991l, when Garfield succeeded to the Presidency. It had not been so weak since this country was compelled to pay ransom to the Barbary Pirates. However, this also marks the turning point, for the Navy began to be rebuilt in the early eighties. In fact, in 1883, four protected steel cruisers, the "White Squadron," were authorized. Many ships, mostly cruisers, were laid down before 1890. This enormous expansion, after years of neglect, was carried out in spite of an almost total lack of shipbuilding material and equipment. Congress had specified that only American products could be used in the construction. There were no mills in this country capable of producing the steel plates required for the new ships, and this demand gave birth to our huge American steel industry. The rapid construction of the "New Navy" stands out as a truly great achievement.
No first-class battleships were built before 1890. It must be emphasized that since 1815 the framers of American naval policy had proceeded on the assumption that commerce raiding and passive coast defense were the Navy's two basic functions in war. As the eighties witnessed the beginning of the "New Navy," so the nineties are to be remembered as the beginning of a new naval policy that stemmed from the teachings and writings of Commander (later Admiral) Alfred Thayer Mahan.
Mahan was ordered to the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., as an instructor shortly after its founding in 1884. He was the advocate of the capital ship theory; in other words, he believed the backbone of the fleet should be the battleship. In 1890 he published his first great work, "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. This book was widely acclaimed throughout the world's navies, especially by those of Great Britain, Germany, and Japan.
1A7. The Spanish-American War and the First World War. Theodore Roosevelt, a disciple of Mahan and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897, was influential in whipping the Navy into shape for the
Spanish-American War. This war with Spain was an overwhelming victory for the United States, with the Navy playing a very notable part by defeating two big Spanish fleets. First, Dewey had sailed into Manila Bay early one morning and, when in position, had calmly said, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley."1 In a few short hours, the entire Spanish Fleet was resting on the bottom of the bay. While it is true that the Spanish defenses were inefficient, it was, nonetheless, a great victory.
The second big victory was that scored by Admiral William Sampson at Santiago. The American Fleet had been blockading the Spanish Fleet, bottling them up in the harbor, when suddenly the Spaniards steamed out of the harbor intent on escape. In a few hours the entire Spanish Fleet had been destroyed, either sunk or beached.
From this war the United States emerged with the majority of her present-day insular possessions, the Philippines, Guam, Midway, Wake, and some West Indian islands plus Cuba, which was later given complete independence.
After every war there has always been a cry to do away with armaments. Beginning with the Revolution, the rule had been on the termination of hostilities to decrease the naval establishment both in men and ships. The Spanish-American War stands out as the conspicuous exception. Instead of drifting into a decline, the new Navy sailed forward. The two reasons for this continued expansion were the need for a large navy to protect our new possessions, and the enthusiasm of President Theodore Roosevelt for the Navy since his holding of the office of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. A big navy gave Roosevelt the opportunity of carrying out his policy of "speaking softly and carrying a big stick."
The changes in the various navies of the world between 1900 and the beginning of World War I were primarily concerned with the development of the capital ship theory, and the development of the submarine and the airplane. It must be admitted that although the ideas for these new inventions were the result of American genius, the Navy was not always prompt in recognizing their potentialities.
The United States did not become involved in World War I until 1917. Within a month after our entry, the first American naval forces began arriving in Britain ready for duty.
From a naval point of view, World War I was a conflict of two blockades, the Allies maintaining a long-distance blockade of German ports, and the Germans with the submarine trying to blockade British and French ports by attacking ships as they sailed the seas. This unrestricted sinking of American merchant ships was a factor in our entry into the war. As a result, it was the cruiser, the destroyer, and the newly constructed subchaser, which saw most of the action as they tracked down the German submarines. Some of our capital ships were stationed in Britain to help patrol the North Sea in case the German Fleet came out for battle, but such a battle never occurred.
The Allied victory was at least in part the result of the combined navies' safely transporting about 2 million American soldiers and marines to France, plus the convoying of the munitions and supplies needed to sustain them and their allies.
1A8. Developments since 1918. At the end of the war, the old familiar cry for decreasing the Navy began all over again. Had the U.S. navy completed the building program authorized and begun during World War I, she would have had the biggest and strongest navy in the world by 1925. In 1921 at the Washington Naval Conference, we suggested the scrapping of 66 of the world's capital ships already completed or under construction, and the establishment of a 10-year naval building holiday. Limitations on the size of battleships (35,000 tons) and on the size of guns were also agreed upon. This all brought about the 5:5:3:13/4:13/4 ratio in the navies of the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France, and Italy respectively. It might also be stated that, in order to obtain Japan's approval of this ratio, we agreed not to fortify our possessions in the Orient. This makes interesting reading in the light of recent events.
The limitations set down in the Washington Conference were continued in the main by the London Conference of 1930. The only real changes were the concessions to Japan of a 7 to 10 ratio in cruisers and equality in submarines. This treaty expired in 1936, and at that time Japan would not agree to anything but equality in all types. The limitations on naval building were, therefore, allowed to lapse, with the exception of an agreement between Great Britain and ourselves not to compete in naval construction.
As a result, when the present global conflict began, we were without an energetic naval construction program. Finally, the necessity for a rapid expansion in our Navy became evident, and steps were taken to provide the ships that we would need if we became embroiled in the conflict. New construction was begun on all types of ships.
We all know how the Japs' sneak attack on Pearl Harbor put almost half of our battleships and also other types of ships out of service, at least temporarily. We have more than replaced our losses. It was uphill going for a time, but that did not prevent us from raiding the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and Wake Island. We have slugged it out with parts of the Jap Fleet in the Solomons, at Midway, and elsewhere, and have come out on top. Not only that, but we have been so effectively combating the German submarines in the Atlantic that we now have the upper hand. And, in addition to all this, we have convoyed hundreds of thousands of men, plus equipment, munitions, and supplies to the far-flung battle fronts. Now we are on the offensive and already have engaged in the amphibious operations in the Solomons and Southwest Pacific, and in Africa, Sicily, and Italy.
1B1. Saluting. The salute is an act of military courtesy which is exchanged between officers, and between officers and enlisted men. Juniors always salute first, but it is to be remembered that this is not an act of subservience, and it is the senior's responsibility to return the greeting.
B. Customs of the Service
The proper method of giving the hand salute is illustrated in Figure 1-1 and should be carefully studied. A sloppy or exaggerated salute is worse than none at all.
It is naval custom to salute only when covered, using the right hand when possible, and to supplement the salute with a brief greeting, depending upon the time of day. From first rising until noon, this is "Good morning, Sir"; from noon until sunset, "Good afternoon, Sir"; and from sunset until turning in, "Good evening, Sir." If the officer saluted is of the rank of commander or above, it is preferable to address him by his rank rather than as "Sir." It is proper also to extend the courtesy of the salute to officers of all the armed forces of the United States or recognized foreign governments. When under arms, of course, the method of saluting is the appropriate one for the particular arm in hand.
In general, salutes are exchanged on every occasion of meeting, passing, or being addressed. There are some exceptions to this practice, however. Men at work salute only when addressed or called to attention by an officer. Men in formation do not salute, and if addressed personally, come to attention only. On shipboard, seniors are saluted on the first daily meeting only, except that flag officers, captains of ships, and seniors attached to other ships receive salutes on every occasion of meeting. The executive officer or other senior officer is saluted when he is making an official inspection. There are also special rules governing salutes in boats or at mess. Until thoroughly familiar with these regulations, a fairly safe rule to follow is: When in doubt, salute.
1B2. Courtesies. No officer who conducts himself according to the ordinary civilian standards of gentlemanly behavior need have concern about committing any serious breaches of naval etiquette. A few hints about certain of the more common courtesies of the service should prove helpful, however.
Officers' caps. Officers customarily remove their caps when entering sick bay, the wardroom, and the warrant officers' messroom. When passing through the crew's mess hall or chief petty officers' mess at mealtime, officers uncover. Caps are removed upon entering the c captain's or admiral's country. It is proper to greet ladies, however, with the military salute while remaining covered.
Addressing officers and men. The Commanding Officer of a ship or station is addressed as "Captain" regardless of his actual rank, except that a flag officer in command of a shore establishment would, of course, be addressed by his rank. Officers of the rank of lieutenant commander and below are properly addressed as "Mister," or "Doctor" in the case of medical and dental officers. Commanders and their seniors should be addressed by their ranks. Members of the Chaplain Corps are usually addressed as "Chaplain" regardless of rank.
Petty officers and all enlisted men are addressed by their surnames. The wise division officer will make it a point to learn the names of all personnel with whom he has frequent contact. In acknowledging salutes from enlisted personnel whose names are unknown to the officer concerned, it is common to address all chief petty officers as "Chief" and other petty officers by their rates. Some common abbreviations for rates are: "Boats," for boatswains' mates, "Guns," for gunner's mates, "Flags" for signalmen, "Chips" for carpenter's mates, and "Stores" for storekeepers. Never make the mistake of addressing chief warrant officers or warrant officers as "Chief." They are always called "Mister."
In answer to a specific question, it is proper to reply "Yes, Sir," or "No, Sir." When one has received
Figure 1-1. The hand salute.
an order or command, however, the only correct response is "Aye, aye, Sir." This means "I understand and will obey." It should not be necessary to add that such responses as "O.K." or "All right," are not used. The response "Very well," which signifies assent, is made only by a senior to a junior.
Courtesies accorded seniors. When officers are walking in company, the senior walks on the right and sets the step. A junior overtaking a senior and desiring to pass requests "By your leave, Sir?" and passes on the left.
Upon entering boats or automobiles, juniors enter first, saving the best seats for the seniors. In disembarking, seniors leave first.
When a senior enters a room in which his juniors are already seated, the junior who first sees him should order "Attention." All present shall remain at attention until ordered to "Carry on."
A senior sends his "compliments" to a junior, but a junior always sends his "respects" to the senior. In written correspondence, a junior may "invite attention" to certain facts but does not "call attention" to them.
The command "Gangway" is given by anyone who notes that an officer's passage is blocked. This courtesy is also accorded to civilian visitors. "Carry on," is given as soon as the party has passed.
Wardroom etiquette. The wardroom is the officers' mess and lounge room. The executive officer is president of the mess. Other officers are assigned permanent seats at the table alternately, in order of rank, to the right and left of the presiding officer, except that the mess treasurer sits opposite the presiding officer.
The junior officer should remember that the wardroom is a gentlemen's club and conduct himself accordingly. The following bits of advice should be helpful:
- Do not enter or lounge in wardroom out of uniform.
- Never sit down to meals before the presiding officer sits down.
- If necessary to leave before the completion of the meal, excuse yourself.
- Always introduce your guests to the wardroom officers.
- Never be late for meals.
- Do not loiter in the wardroom during working hours.
- Do not fail to pay your mess bills promptly. When first reporting aboard, locate the mess treasurer and pay your bills in advance.
- Learn the local rules of the mess, if any, and obey them.
Calls. Social calls ashore during wartime have been generally discontinued, but it is still incumbent on an officer to pay a visit of courtesy to his Commanding Officer within 48 hours of reporting on board. This call must be made even though the officer previously has reported to the Captain. The call should be arranged through the executive officer.
1B3. Honors and ceremonies. Many peacetime honors and ceremonies have been eliminated for the duration of the war. Nonetheless, it is important that midshipmen be familiar with some of the traditional practices which are still a part of naval life. These include the etiquette of the quarter-deck, honors to the colors and National Anthem, side honors, and passing honors.
The quarter-deck. The Commanding Officer defines the limits of the quarter-deck. It embraces as much of the main or other appropriate deck as may be necessary for the conduct of official and ceremonial functions. Commissioned officers and their visitors use the starboard gangway in reaching the quarter-deck; the port gangway is used by all other persons. if the construction of the ship or other circumstances make a change in this rule expedient, the change may be made at the discretion of the Commanding Officer. In heavy weather, the lee gangway is used by everyone.
Every officer and man, upon reaching the quarter-deck, either from a boat, from a gangway,, from the shore, or from another part of the ship, faces aft and salutes the national ensign. He then salutes the officer of the deck. Both salutes are acknowledged by the officer of the deck. In leaving the quarter-deck, the same salutes are rendered in the reverse order, the officer of the deck being saluted first.
When an officer has permission to leave his ship, he reports to the officer of the deck, at the time of departure, "I have permission to leave the ship, Sir." "I report my return aboard, Sir," is the correct form to be used upon returning to the ship. When going aboard a ship to which he is not attached, however, he states, "I request your permission to come on board, Sir," and upon leaving, "I request your permission to leave the ship, Sir."
The etiquette of the quarter-deck should be strictly enforced by the watch officer. It should be kept immaculate and its ceremonial character maintained. The following suggestions should be remembered:
- Never appear on the quarter-deck unless in the uniform of the day, except in crossing to enter or leave a boat or as your duties may require.
- Salute the quarter-deck every time you come onto it. (This applies to large ships which have quarter-decks with defined limits.)
- Never smoke on the quarter-deck.
- Never walk on the starboard side of the quarter-deck; that belongs to the Captain.
Honors to the colors. Naval ships at anchor or moored hoist the national ensign at the flagstaff aft at 0800 and lower it at sunset. The union jack is hoisted and lowered at the jackstaff forward at the same times. At both morning and evening colors, "Attention" is sounded, and all officers a men face the ensign and render the salute. At shore stations and, in peacetime, on board large vessels where a band is
present, the National Anthem is played during the ceremonies. In the absence of a band a bugler, if available, sound "To the Colors" at morning colors, and "Retreat" at sunset.
When a naval ship is underway, the jack is not hoisted, but the ensign is flown at the gaff.
Navy Regulations requires that when any vessel registered by a nation formally recognized by the Government of the United States salutes a ship of the Navy by dipping her national ensign, it must be returned dip for dip. No naval ship shall dip her ensign, however, except in return for such compliment.
In half-masting the ensign, it is first raised to the truck or peak and then lowered to half-mast. Before lowering from half-mast, the ensign is first raised to the truck or peak and lowered with the usual ceremonies.
The National Anthem. Whenever The Star Spangled Banner is played, all members of the Navy come to attention, facing the music, except at colors when they face the ensign. If in uniform and covered, they salute at the first note of the anthem, retaining the position until the last note has been sounded. Men in ranks salute only by command.
Side honors. As has been stated, the rendering of honors to individuals has been largely eliminated for the duration of the war. When such ceremonies are to be carried out, there is usually sufficient advance notice to allow for adequate preparation.
Nevertheless, officers should be prepared to render honors when appropriate and, on watch, must guard against surprise visits. If a table of honors is not posted on the quarter-deck, reference may be made to the Watch Officer's Guide or Navy Regulations, which should always be at hand.
Passing honors. As is the case with side honors, passing honors are not usually given during wartime. Sometimes, however, they may be rendered to warships of our allied navies. Navy Regulations, Articles 246, 247, and 248, may be consulted on the subject.
1C1. Officers' ranks. By naval custom, the term officer includes commissioned and warrant officers. Commissions are granted by the President and signed by the Secretary of the Navy; warrants are granted by the Secretary of the Navy; both endow the holders with certain rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
Rank and Insignia
The following table shows the commissioned ranks of officers of the US Navy, with the equivalent ranks of the Army and Marine Corps. Coast Guard officers have the same titles as naval officers. It should be remembered that Marine Corps is part of the Navy, although its ranks are the same as those of the Army.
NAVY ARMY or MARINE CORPS Admiral General Vice Admiral Lieutenant General Rear Admiral Major General Commodore Brigadier General Captain Colonel Commander Lieutenant Colonel Lieutenant Commander Major Lieutenant Captain Lieutenant (junior grade) First Lieutenant Ensign Second Lieutenant
Naval officers of the rank of commodore and above are shown as flag officers, each having the privilege of flying a personal flag on the ship or station to which he is attached. The flag has a blue field with white stars according to the rank of the officer concerned, 1 star designating a commodore; 2 stars, a rear admiral; 3 stars, a vice admiral; and 4 stars, an admiral. When two flag officers of equal rank are present, the junior (according to date of commission) flies a flag having a red field instead of a blue one.
Naval officers who are eligible to assume military command of ships or stations are designated line officers, being in line of command. All other officers are members of the several staff corps, and are specialists in their various fields. At present there are 6 staff corps: Medical, Dental, Chaplain, Supply, Civil Engineer, and Hospital. (The Medical Corps consists entirely of physicians and surgeons; the Hospital Corps is made up of public health officers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and pharmacists.) While commissioned members of these corps have all the rights and privileges of their ranks, they are not eligible to assume command. They are known as staff officers, but should not be confused with line officers assigned to staffs of Commanding Officers.
Uniforms and insignia. Excluding dress uniforms, which are not required in wartime, there are three uniforms worn by naval officers: (1) service dress blues, (2) service dress whites, and (3) working uniforms. The dark green working uniform is worn only by naval aviators, while the gray (formerly khaki) uniform is authorized for all officers. Full details regarding uniforms and insignia are set forth in Uniform Regulations, but Commanding Officers prescribe the uniform that shall be worn by the officers under their command.
An officer's rank is indicated by the gold sleeve stripes on the service dress blue uniform. Above the stripes, all line officers wear a star, while staff officers wear the appropriate corps device as shown by the following table:
CORPS CORPS DEVICE Medical Corps Oak leaf with acorn in center Dental Corps Oak leaf with two acorns at the base Chaplain Corps Christian Cross Jewish Tablets of the Ten Commandments with Star of David above Supply Corps Oak leaf of three branches with three acorns Civil Engineer Corps Four crossed palm leaves Hospital Corps Caduceus
The stripes indicating officers' ranks are as follows:
RANK STRIPES Admiral One 2-inch stripe and three 1/2-inch stripes above Vice Admiral One 2-inch stripe and two 1/2-inch stripes above Rear Admiral One 2-inch stripe and one 1/2-inch stripe above Commodore One 2-inch stripe Captain Four 1/2-inch stripes Commander Three 1/2-inch stripes Lieutenant Commander Two 1/2-inch stripes and one 1/4-inch stripe between Lieutenant Two 1/2-inch stripes Lieutenant (jg) One 1/2-inch stripe and one 1/4-inch stripe above Ensign One 1/2-inch stripe
With service dress whites, khaki or gray working uniforms, and overcoats, shoulder boards with stripes and corps devices are worn by all officers below flag rank. Flag officer's shoulder boards have a fouled anchor and 1, 2, 3, or 4 stars to indicate the rank of the officer concerned. Gray shoulder boards with black stripes are worn with the gray working uniform. Shoulder boards are not worn on the green aviator's uniform, rank being indicated by black braid sleeve stripes corresponding to the gold stripes of the blue uniform.
When the gray or khaki working uniform is worn, pin-on devices indicating rank are attached to both tips of the shirt collar by line officers. Staff officers wear a pin-on rank device on the right collar tip and a corps device on the left. The following table shows the rank devices worn by naval officers. It will be noted that these correspond with similar emblems worn by Army and Marine officers of equivalent ranks, although the naval insignia are considerably smaller.
RANK PIN-ON RANK DEVICE Admiral Four silver stars Vice Admiral Three silver stars Rear Admiral Two silver stars Commodore One silver star Captain Silver spread eagle Commander Silver oak leaf Lieutenant Commander Gold oak leaf Lieutenant Two silver bars Lieutenant (jg) One silver bar Ensign One gold bar
The officer's visor cap may be worn with any uniform. The garrison cap also may be worn when it is appropriate. When worn with blues, the visor cap may have either a blue or white cover. Cap covers
matching the uniform are prescribed in all other cases. Flag officers wear a cap with full visor embroidery; captains and commanders a cap with only the front of the visor embroidered; other officers wear a cap with a black visor. Insignia of rank is won on the right side of the garrison cap, and a miniature officer's cap device is attached to the left side, near the front.
Warrant officers. Warrant officers are specialists who, in many cases, are former enlisted men with many years of naval service. Their uniforms are the same as those of commissioned officers, except for caps and insignia. The warrant officer's cap has a 1/4-inch gold or black chin strap and an emblem of crossed anchors. Sleeve markings on the blue uniform consist of a 1/4-inch gold stripe broken by blue every 2 inches, and a specialist's device according to the following table:
WARRANT DEVICE Boatswain Crossed fouled anchors Gunner Exploding bomb Torpedoman Torpedo Machinist Three-bladed propeller Electrician Globe of world Radio Electrician Bolts of lightning Pharmacist Caduceus Carpenter Carpenter's square Pay Clerk Three-branched oak leaf Ship's Clerk Crossed quills Photographer Bellows of camera Aerographer Vertical arrow and wings
The warrant officer's service dress shoulder boards have a 1/4-inch gold stripe broken in the middle by blue, and an embroidered specialty device inboard. Pin-on specialty devices in gold are worn on both collar tips of the working uniform shirt and both sides of the garrison cap.
Chief warrant officers. Chief warrant officers are senior to warrant officers and are, in fact, commissioned officers, ranking with, but after, ensigns. Their titles correspond with those of warrant officers, prefixed by the word Chief; for example, Chief Boatswain, Chief Electrician, et al. Uniforms for chief warrant officers are the same as those of warrant officers, with a few exceptions.
Chief warrant officers wear the commissioned officer's visored cap or the officer's cap device with the garrison cap. Gold stripes on sleeves and shoulder boards are broken with blue, but are 1/4-inch in width instead of 1/4-inch. Pin-on devices for shirt collars and garrison caps are of silver rather than gold.
Other insignia. Above his upper left pocket, a naval officer wears wings if he is an aviator, observer, or flight surgeon. A qualified submarine officer is entitled to wear the submarine insignia consisting of a submarine flanked by dolphins. Ribbons (personal awards and service medals) are also worn.
Coast Guard. Commissioned officers of the Coast Guard wear uniforms similar to those of naval officers, except that the Coast Guard shield replaces the line officer's star, and the cap device has an eagle with widespread wings and a single fouled anchor instead of the Navy's crossed anchors. There are no staff corps officers in the Coast Guard and warrant officers wear both the Coast Guard shield and specialty device above their stripes.
WAVES. The WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) are members of the Women's Reserve of the US Naval Reserve. They receive the same pay and hold the same ranks (the highest rank is captain) and rates as male members of the service. WAVES wear the navy blue uniform and have a white uniform for summer dress (optional for enlisted women). The lightweight working uniform is gray-and-white striped seersucker. A garrison cap is authorized, in addition to the brimmed hat with interchangeable top (white, blue, or gray-and-white striped seersucker).
On each lapel of the jacket, WAVES wear the insignia consisting of a three-bladed propeller with a superimposed fouled anchor. Officer's rank is indicated by reserve blue sleeve stripes on blues, and by navy blue stripes on whites and seersuckers. Staff corps officers wear the appropriate corps device in reserve or navy blue above the stripes, while officers classed as (W) NR wear a star. Pin-on ranks and corps devices are worn by the officers on the collar tips of the working uniform and the commissioned officer's cap device is worn on the hat. WAVE petty officer ratings are designated by the same rating badges as those worn by enlisted men.
Navy nurses. Members of the Navy Nurse Corps are commissioned officers with ranks corresponding to those of other officers.
During working hours, Navy nurses wear the ordinary nurse's white uniform, rank being indicated on the right collar tip of the uniform and by bands of the cap. Dress uniforms are blue or white with gold sleeve stripes or gold-striped shoulder marks, respectively, and are worn with the gold corps device about the stripes. The cap device is the same as that of other commissioned officers in the Navy. Recently a gray uniform with matching garrison cap has been added.
ENLISTED RATINGS Rating Abbreviation Seaman Branch: Chief Boatswain's Mate CBM Boatswain's Mate, 1c BM1c Boatswain's Mate, 2c BM2c Coxswain Cox Boatswain's Mate A1, 2c, 1c, Chief BMA Turret Captain, 1c, Chief TC Gunner's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief GM Mineman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MN Torpedoman's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief TM Torpedoman's Mate E2, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief TME Quartermaster, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief QM Signalman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SM Fire Controlman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief FC Fire Controlman O3, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief FCO Fire Controlman S4, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief FCS Seaman, 1c S1c Seaman, 2c S2c Apprentice Seaman AS Artificer Branch: Radioman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief RM Radio Technician, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief RT Radarman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief RdM Sonarman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SoM Sonarman H5, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SoMH Carpenter's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief CM Shipfitter, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SF Metalsmith, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief M Molder, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Ml Patternmaker, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PM Special Artificer I6, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SAI Special Artificer O7, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SAO Special Artificer D8, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SAD Painter, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Ptr Telegrapher, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief T Artificer Branch - Engine Room Forces: Machinist's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MM Machinist's Mate G9, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MMG Machinist's Mate R10, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MMR Machinist's Mate S11, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MMS Motor Machinist's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MoMM Electrician's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief EM Water Tender, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief WT Boilermaker, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief B Fireman, 1c F1c Fireman, 2c F2c Aviation Branch: Aviation Pilot, 2c, 1c, Chief AP Aviation Machinist's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMM Aviation Machinist's Mate C12, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMC Aviation Machinist's Mate F13, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMF Aviation Machinist's Mate H14, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMH Aviation Machinist's Mate I15, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMI Aviation Machinist's Mate P16, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMP Aviation Electrician's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AEM Aviation Boatswain's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief ABM Aviation Radioman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief ARM Aviation Radio Technician, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief ART Aviation Metalsmith, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AM Aviation Ordnanceman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AOM Aviation Ordnanceman B17, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AOMB Aviation Ordnanceman T18, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AOMT
Rating Abbreviation Airship Rigger, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AR Parachute Rigger, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PR Aerographer's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AerM Photographer's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PhoM Torpedoman's Mate V19, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief TMV Painter V19, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief` PtrV Storekeeper V19, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SKV Special Branch: Yeoman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Y Storekeeper, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SK Storekeeper D20, 3c SKD Storekeeper T21, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SKT Painter, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Prtr Painter L22, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PrtrL Painter M23, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PrtrM Ship's Service Man B24, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMB Ship's Service Man C25, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMC Ship's Service Man T26, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMT Ship's Service Man L27, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSML Pharmacist's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PhM Hospital Apprentice, 2c, 1c HA Musician, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Mus Buglemaster, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Bgmstr Bugler, 2c, 1c Bug Commissary Branch: Chief Commissary Steward CCS Ship's Cook, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SC Ship's Cook B28, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SCB Baker, 3c, 2c, 1c Bkr Steward's Branch: Steward, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief St Cook, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Ck Steward's Mate Stm Specialists*: Specialist, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Sp29
* Ratings not authorized for personnel in the regular Navy and Fleet Reserves.
In the case of men of the insular force, the abbreviations will be the same as the corresponding rating in the regular Navy, preceded by "Nat."
1 A: Master at Arms
2 E: Electrical
3 O: Operator
4 S: Submarine
5 H: Harbor Defense
6 I: Instruments
7 O: Optical
8 D: Special Devices (synthetic training)
9 G: Industrial Gas Generating Mechanic
10 R: Refrigeration Mechanic
11 S: Shop Machinist
12 C: Aviation Carburetor Mechanic
13 F: Aviation Flight Engineer
14 H: Aviation Hydraulic Mechanic
15 I: Aviation Instrument Mechanic
16 P: Aviation Propeller Mechanic
17 B: Aviation Bombsight Mechanic
18 T: Aviation Turret Mechanic
19 V: Assigned to Aviation Activities
20 D: Disbursing Storekeeper
21 T: Technical Storekeeper
22 L: Lithographer
23 M: Multilith Operator
24 B: Barber
25 C: Cobbler
26 T: Tailor
27 L: Laundryman
28 B: Butcher
29 Insert letter indicating specialty:
(A) Physical Instructor
(C) Classification Interviewer
(F) Fire Fighter
(G) Special Gunnery Instructor (Aviation)
(I) Operator (Electrical Accounting Machine)
(O) Ordnance Materiel Inspector
(P) Photographic Specialist
(Q) Communication Specialist
(S) Shore Patrol
(V) Transport Airman
(W) Chaplain's Assistant
(X) Essential Specialists, as yet unclassified. Includes draftsman, cartographer, plastics expert, telephone switchboard operator supervisors, etc.
(Y) Control-Tower Operators
Midshipmen. Midshipmen are classified as midshipmen (USN) or reserve midshipmen. Midshipmen are studying to be officers of the line. They are held to be officers but are officers only in a qualified sense, ranking between warrant officers and chief warrant officers. Upon failure to complete their training successfully, they are subject to discharge from the naval service. Reserve midshipmen similarly are officers in a qualified sense but while in training are given temporary appointment only, as reserve midshipmen. Upon failure to complete their training successfully they are subject to transfer to general duty, as seamen.
The uniforms of midshipmen at the Naval Academy are similar to those of officers, with clean sleeves, save for 1/8-inch stripes indicating their class. Metal pin-on anchor insignia are worn on the collar tips of the blue uniform and on the right side of the garrison cap. The undress white uniform is the same as that of enlisted men, except that a blue band is worn around the white hat. The visor cap worn with service dress blues or white has a 1/4-inch gold chin strap and a cap device of a single anchor.
The uniforms of reserve midshipmen are similar to those of officers but with clean sleeves. No service dress white uniform is authorized for them. On the visor cap they wear 1/4-inch gold chin strap and a fouled anchor cap device. On the coat-collar tip of the blues they wear a gold fouled anchor pin-on device. Shoulder marks, gray, for the working uniform, contain a black fouled anchor mounted centrally thereon. With this uniform a small gold fouled anchor pin-on device is mounted on each shirt-collar tip.
Aviation cadets. Aviation cadets are student officers. Their uniforms are similar to those of officers but with clean sleeves and with garrison cap only. The distinguishing insignia are: on the coat, a gold fouled anchor pin-on device on each collar tip; on the garrison cap, an embroidered V-5 device sewed on the left side forward. With the working uniform, a small gold fouled anchor pin-on device is worn on each shirt collar tip. Shoulder marks are no longer authorized for issue to aviation cadets.
The Naval Aviation Cadet Act of 1942 established the special enlisted grade of aviation cadet. Before the effective date of this act, aviation cadets were appointed in the same manner as midshipmen USN. The change from appointive to enlisted status was made to facilitate administration only and does not in any way affect the housing, messing, hospitalization, and other facilities available to the cadets while under training.
Since aviation cadets are in a special enlisted grade, they do not automatically take precedence with or after or before any other enlisted grades. Such military authority as they may be given in special cases consists solely of authority delegated to them by their Commanding Officer. For example, a Commanding Officer may place an aviation cadet in charge of a party of petty officers, or he may place a seaman in charge of a party of aviation cadets.
1C2. Enlisted personnel rates. Recognition of enlisted personnel of the Navy is complicated by the great variety of rating badges and specialty marks which are worn. A careful study of the insignia chart at the back of the book in connection with the discussion which follows will assist materially in attaining an understanding of the subject.
Only officers are said to hold rank. The various grades of enlisted personnel are known as rates. This terminology is slightly confusing, for petty officers are called rated men, while persons rating below petty officers are said to be nonrated.
The Navy offers to the enlisted man the opportunity to become proficient in any of a great number of special fields. He is constantly reminded, however, of the fact that the nature of his duty is twofold, his military duties coming before those of his specialty. As he advances from apprentice seaman to chief petty officer the enlisted man passes through seven pay grades. The various ratings are shown in Figure 1-2. There are frequent exceptions to the normal path of advancement. An outstanding man may not be required to pass through every one of the various rates of his particular branch; in the Naval Reserve, men are often enlisted directly as petty officers if their civilian experience seems to justify such a rating. Usually, however, the enlisted man begins his naval career as an apprentice seaman. Upon successfully completing his indoctrination at recruit school, he is advanced to the rate of seaman, second class, or fireman, second class, depending upon the specialization selected. When he has attained the rate of seaman or fireman, first class, he is in line for the petty officer rating for which he seems best suited and becomes a striker for that rating. The rate for which he may strike will be largely determined by existing vacancies on board his ship or station. Attainment of petty officer rating and subsequent advancement require, of course, constant study and successful completion of oral and written examinations. The Navy provides standard study courses and practice tests to assist the individual in his progress. Time limits within each rating must also be met.
Uniforms. The familiar bluejacket's uniform of blue or white, with jumper and 13-button bell-bottom trousers, is worn by all enlisted personnel except aviation cadets, chief petty officers, and petty officers of the stewards' branch. Gray uniforms and dungarees are also worn.
Chief petty officers' uniforms are similar to officers' except that the blues have eight buttons rather than six, no shoulder boards are worn, and whites do not have the high collar, being cut like blues. The chief petty officer's visor cap has a black patent-leather chin strap and a pin-on device consisting of a fouled anchor with the letters USN superimposed.
Chief stewards and chief cooks wear the chief petty officer's uniform. Stewards and cooks wear uniforms very much like those of chief petty officers, excepting, of course, for insignia. The steward's visor cap has no insignia, only the letters USN being worn. The buttons on the cap are black.
Insignia. The only distinguishing mark worn by apprentice seamen is a single 3/16-inch white stripe around the cuffs of service dress blue uniforms. Second class seamen, firemen, hospital apprentices, and steward's mates wear two such stripes. Three white stripes are worn by all other enlisted men except chief petty officers.
First and second class seamen wear a branch mark consisting of a 3/8-inch stripe around the right arm at the shoulder seam; this mark is white on blue uniforms and blue on whites. First and second class firemen wear a red watch mark around the left arm on both blue and white uniforms. A red cross on the left lower forearm is worn by hospital apprentices.
Rating badges are worn by all petty officers including chiefs. The badge consists of a spread eagle, an embroidered specialty insignia, and V-shaped chevrons pointing down. The various specialty marks can best be learned by reference to the insignia chart. One chevron is worn by third class, two by second class, and three by first class petty officers. The chief's badge has three chevrons with a half circle enclosing the top. Petty officers of the seaman branch wear the rating badge on the right upper arm and are often called collectively "right arm rates." All other rated men wear the badge on the left upper arm. In this connection, it should be noted that petty officers of the seaman branch take precedence over all other petty officers in matters relating to military control or command in their respective parts of the ship. Within the seaman branch, the order of precedence is as follows: Boatswain's Mate, Turret Captain, Gunner's Mate, Mineman, Torpedoman's Mate, Quartermaster, Signalman, Fire Controlman.
Service stripes, commonly called hash-marks, are diagonal stripes 3/8-inch wide and 7 inches long, worn on the left lower arm, each representing 4 years of military or naval service. These stripes are red on blue uniforms and blue on whites. Gold service stripes may be worn, however, by enlisted men who have received 3 consecutive good conduct awards, each award representing 4 years of active duty with good conduct. A rating badge of gold chevrons with silver eagle and specialty marks is worn with gold service stripes.
In addition to rating badges and service stripes, there are many distinguishing marks worn by enlisted personnel with special qualifications. These can be learned most easily by reference to the insignia chart at the back of the book. Enlisted men, like officers, are entitled to wear campaign and other authorized ribbons.
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1. [Some tradition holds that Dewey's first command was "You may fire at will, Gridley." Gridley, known as something of a 'class clown', supposedly replied "Aye, aye, Captain. Which one is Will, sir?" -- to which Dewey responded with the now familiar phrase. --HyperWar]