OFFICER AND ENLISTED INSIGNIA
Learning Objective: When you finish this chapter, you
will be able to
Identify rating insignia to include service stripes,
paygrade insignia of U.S. armed forces enlisted
personnel, grade insignia and corps devices of
naval officers, and special insignia.
In the enlisted branch of the Navy, a field of work or
an occupation is called a rating. Levels within the rating
are called rates. In the case of a Boatswains Mate
second class (BM2), for example, Boatswains Mate is
the rating and second class is the rate. In other words,
rating is the job or occupation, while rate is the paygrade
of the person.
As a newcomer without previous military
experience, you probably entered the service as a recruit
in paygrade E-1. This is the basic paygrade in the armed
forces grading structure. From the recruit rate, you
began to train in one of the six broad occupational
groups. Your occupational group is identified by a group
rate mark, which is worn on the left sleeve of jumpers
and white summer shirts. Group rate marks are shown in
Personnel in paygrades E-1, E-2, and E-3 who have
qualified in a particular rating will wear the specialty
mark of that rating. This is called a striker mark. The
striker mark is worn immediately above the group rate
mark. If you were a qualified striker and in paygrade
E-1, you would wear the striker mark, even though you
wouldnt wear the group rate mark.
After advancing to Seaman, Fireman, Airman,
Constructionman, Hospitalman, or Dentalman, youll
want to qualify for the lowest petty officer ratepetty
officer third class. The rating you are trying for will
depend on your personal qualifications and desires. At
this time, you will enter the occupational field that you
will normally follow for the rest of your Navy career.
Subject to standard instructions, changes from one field
to another are allowed quite freely in the lower
paygrades before a person has been intensively trained
in one particular field. This lets you have enough time to
find the choice of work you want in the Navy. However,
once you have advanced to a senior petty officer level,
changes to another field are seldom permitted.
As mentioned before, every enlisted person in the
Navy has a rate. You must be able to identify a persons
rate. To enable you to do this, every enlisted person in
the Navy (with the exception of E-1) is required to wear
an insignia indicating rate on the left arm of the service
uniform. This is usually called a rating badge. Figures
10-8 through 10-10B identifies all enlisted rating
Service stripes (called hash marks) indicate length
of service. One stripe is worn on the left sleeve of
jumpers for each full 4 years of active or Reserve service
in any of the armed forces, or any combination thereof,
such as 2 years in the Army and 2 years in the Navy.
Scarlet hash marks and rating badges are worn on blue
uniforms; blue hash marks on white uniforms.
Gold rating badges and service stripes are worn
when good conduct in the naval service totals 12 years.
This 12 years may be active or drilling reserve time in
the Navy, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps, or Marine
Corps Reserve. For more information about authority to
wear gold rating badges and service stripes, refer to the
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, NAVPERS 15665.
RATE INSIGNIA OF THE U.S. NAVY AND
OTHER U.S. ARMED FORCES ENLISTED
Look at figure 10-11, which shows the rate insignia
of all the U.S. armed forces enlisted personnel.
The most senior enlisted person in the U.S. Navy is
the master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON).
(NOTE: The senior enlisted insignia for the other armed
services are shown directly under the MCPON in fig.
10-11.) The rating insignia of the MCPON is similar to
that of all other master chief petty officers, except that it
has three gold stars in line above the eagle and a gold star
in the space between the eagle and the upper chevron
that replaces the specialty mark.
Major commands have a Command Master Chief
Petty Officer (CM/C). The CM/C insignia differs from
the MCPON. There are two silver stars above the eagle,
and there is a silver star that replaces the specialty mark.