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U.S. Navy Rank Insignia Identification Guide

This is an identification guide for the Enlisted rank/rating insignia used by the U.S. Navy. In 1841, a Rank insignia for Petty Officer was authorized. The insignia was an eagle on a fouled anchor with a star above. This insignia was worn on the right upper sleeve for the Starboard Watch, and the left sleeve for the Port Watch. A system of enlisted chevrons was formalized in 1885 and adopted in 1886. Initially, 3 grades were established for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Class Petty Officers. An additional grade of Chief Petty Officer was added in 1893. Diagonal stripes for Seaman, Seaman Apprentice, and Seaman Recruit were added in 1948. Senior Chief and Master Chief Petty Officer grades were added in 1958. To align with positions created by the Army and Marines, the position of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy was created in 1967. This position served to present the views and concerns of enlisted men to the Department of the Navy. The positions of Command Senior Chief and Command Master Chief Petty Officer were adopted in 2015. They server as the principal enlisted advisor to the Commanding Officer. To the best of our knowledge, all the examples shown are original manufacture. If anyone has questions or suggestions, please contact Vern@GermanDaggers.com.

© 2000, 2015, 2018 by GermanDaggers.com

Petty Officer Patch 1841-1886





Petty Office - Starboard Watch



Petty Office - Port Watch











Rank/Rate Insignia by Pattern


The 1886 insignia consisted of red chevrons with eagle and rate symbol. The eagle and rate symbol were navy blue on white for the summer uniform and white on navy blue for the winter uniform. The Petty officer 3rd Class had 2 chevrons, 2nd Class had 3 chevrons, and 1st Class had 3 chevrons and a lozenge. A Chief Petty Officer initially had 3 chevrons and 3 arcs but was changed to a single arc in 1894. Crew assigned to the Port Watch worh the insignia on their left sleeve while crew of the Starboard Watch wore the insignia on the right sleeve. In either case, the eagle was to face forward. In 1913, the chevron color for th esummer uniform was changed from red to navy blue. In 1942, Deck Ratings worn the insignia on their right sleeve with all other ratings worn on the left sleeve. In 1948, all insignia was worn on the left sleeve. On a final note, enlisted men who completed 3 tours with good conduct could replace the red chevrons with gold.





1886 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1886 Pattern Petty Officer 3rd Class



1893 Pattern Chief Petty Officer



1897 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1897 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1905 Pattern Chief Petty Officer



1905 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1913 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1941 Pattern Petty Officer 1st Class



1990 Pattern Chief Petty Officer


Rank/Rate Insignia by Background Color





Winter Blues



Summer Whites



Khaki Work Uniform



Gray Coveralls



Marine Greens



3 Tours - Good Conduct



Seaman Blues with Rating



Seaman Blues



Seaman Whites



Fireman Blues



Fireman Whites



Constructionman Blues



Constructionman Whites



Airman Blues



Airman Whites


Rank/Rating Insignia





Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy



Command Master Chief Petty Officer



Command Senior Chief Petty Officer



Master Chief Petty Officer



Senior Chief Petty Officer



Chief Petty Officer



Petty Officer 1st Class



Petty Officer 2nd Class



Petty Office 3rd Class



Seaman



Seaman Apprentice



Seaman Recruit






Rating Symbols


Rating Symbols identify the trade /specialty of the enlisted man.There are 139 symbols that have been used since 1886. The titles associated with the symbols have changed over time. The dates and titles of each symbol are listed in the description.





Aerographer - 1923-1942
Aerographer's Mate - 1942-present



Air Controlman - 1948-present



Apothecary - 1885-1898
Hospital Corpsman - 1948-present



Aircrew Survival Equipmentman - 1965-present
Parachute Rigger - 1942-1965



Airship Rigger - 1944-1948



Aviation Antisub Warfare Oper - 1968-1994
Aviation Warfare Sys Oper - 1994-present



Aviation Antisub Warfare Tech - 1963-present



Aviation Boatswain's Mate - 1944-present



Aviation Carpenter's Mate - 1921-1941



Aviation Electrician's Mate - 1947-present



Aviation Radio Tech - 1942-1945
Aviation Radioman - 1942-1948
Aviation Electronicsman - 1948-1959



Aviation Fire Control Tech - 1954-present



Aviation Fire Controlman - 1945-1948



Aviation General Utility - 1926-1958



Aviation Guided Missleman - 1954-1960



Aviation Machinist's Mate - 1921-present



Aviation Maint Admin - 1963-present



Aviation Metalsmith - 1921-1948



Aviation Ordnanceman - 1926-present



Aviation Photographer's Mate - 1948-1953
Photographer's Mate - 1994-present



Aviation Pilot - 1924-1933



Aviation Pilot - 1942-1948



Aviation Quartermaster - 1918-1921



Aviation Rigger - 1921-1926



Aviation Storekeeper - 1948-2003
Storekeeper V - 1945-1948



Aviation Structural Mech - 1948-present



Aviation Support Equip Tech - 1966-present



Baker - 1908-1948
Ship's Cook - 1896-1948



Bandmaster - 1885-1944
First Musician - 1893-1944
Musician - 1944-present



Blacksmith - 1885-1936
Coppersmith - 1927-1936
Molder 1917-1948
Shipfitter - 1902-1972



Boatswain's Mate - 1885-present
Coxswain - 1885-1948



Boilerman - 1948-1976
Boiler Tech - 1976-1995



Boilermaker - 1885-1948
Coppersmith - 1893-1927
Engineman - 1917-1930
Machinist's Mate - 1885-present
Motor Machinist's Mate - 1921-1926
Oiler - 1885-1921
Water Tender - 1885-1948



Boilermaker - 1956-1971
Boilerman - 1971-1976
Boilermaker - 1976-1977



Buglemaster - 1927-1948



Builder - 1948-present



Carpenter's Mate - 1885-1948
Painter - 1885-1948
Patternmaker - 1917-1947
Plumber & Fitter - 1893-1921



Commissary Steward - 1902-1948
Commissaryman - 1948-1974



Communications Tech - 1948-1967
Cyptologic Tech - 1976-present



Construction Battalion - 1942



Construction Electrician's Mate - 1948-1958
Construction Electrician - 1958-present



Construction Mechanic - 1958-present



Culinary Specialist - 2004-present



Damage Controlman - 1948-1972



Data Processing Tech - 1967-1998
Machine Accountant - 1948-1967



Data Systems Tech - 1963-1997



Dental Tech - 1948-2005



Disbursing Clerk - 1948-2005



Draftsman - 1948-2005
Illustrator Draftsman - 1961-present



Driver - 1948-1958
Equipment Operator - 1958-present



Electrician/Electrician's Mate - 1898-present



Electronics Warfare Tech - 1971-2000



Electronics Tech - 1948-present



Electronics Tech Mate - 1945-1948
Information Tech Specialist - 2001-present
Radioman - 1921-present



Engineering Aide - 1961-present
Surveyor - 1948-1961



Engineman - 1948-present



Explosive Ordnance Disposal - 2006-present



Fire Control Tech - 1946-1955



Fire Controlman - 1921-1955
Fire Control Tech - 1955-1985



Fire Controlman - 1985-present



Gas Turbine System Tech - 1978-present



Guided Missleman - 1954-1961
Missle Tech - 1961-present



Gun Captain - 1902-1904



Gunner's Mate - 1885-present



Gunner's Mate - 1885-present



Hospital Steward - 1898-1916
Pharmacist's Mate - 1916-1948



Hull Maint Tech - 1972-present



Instrumentman - 1948-1999
Special Artficer - 1944-1948



Intelligence Specialist - 1975-present



Interior Communications Electrician - 1948-present



Journalist - 1948-present



Legalman - 1973-present



Lithographer - 1948-present



Machinery Repairman - 1948-present



Mailman - 1944-1948
Postal Clerk - 1960-present



Mass Communications Specialist - 2006-present



Master-at-Arms - 1885-1921



Master-at-Arms - 1974-present



Mineman - 1944-present



Molder - 1948-1997



Motor Machinist's Mate - 1942-1948



Navy Counselor - 1974-present



Navy Diver - 2006-present



Nuclear Weaponsman - 1957-1961



Ocean Systems Tech - 1970-1997



Operations Specialist- 1971-present
Radarman - 1947-1972



Opticalman - 1948-1999



Pattern Maker - 1948-1997



Personnelman - 1948-2005



Photographer - 1921-1942



Photographer's Mate - 1942-1948



Photographer's Mate - 1948-1994



Photographic Intelligenceman - 1958-1975



Pipefitter - 1948-1958



Printer - 1885-1958



Quartermaster - 1885-present



Radarman - 1942-1947



Religious Program Specialist - 1979-present



Sailmaker's Mate - 1885-1939



Ship's Cook - 1838-1896



Ship's Serviceman - 1944-present



Ship's Writer - 1885-1896
Yeoman - 1896-present



Signalman - 1921-1948/1957-2004



Sonarman - 1944-1964
Sonar Tech - 1964-present



Soundman - 1942-1944



Special Warfare Boat Operator - 2006-present



Special Warfare Operator - 2006-present



Specialist A - 1942-1959
Athletic Instructor - 1942-1944
Physical Training Instructor - 1944-1948
Airship Rigger - 1948-1955
Aircraft Carburetor Mechanic - 1956-1959



Specialist B - 1948-1965
Master At Arms (Shore) - 1948-1954
Stevedore - 1958-1965



Specialist C - 1942-1965
Classification - 1942-1942
Classification Interviewer - 1943-1948
Chaplain's Assistant - 1954-1965



Specialist E - 1945-1965
Recreation & Welfare Assistant - 1945-1948
Motion Picture Service - 1945-1948
Physical Training Instructor - 1948-1965



Specialist F - 1944-1965
Fire Fighter - 1944-1965



Specialist G - 1942-1948
Gunnery Instructor - 1942-1943
Aviation/Anti-Aircraft Gunnery Instructor - 1943-1948



Specialist H - 1959-1965
Harbor Defense Sonarman - 1959-1965



Specialist I - 1942-1965
IBM Operator - 1942-1943
Electric Accounting Machine Operator - 1943-1946
Instructor (Misc) - 1948-1965



Specialist K - 1948-1974
Chemical Warfareman - 1948-1955
Telecommunications Censorship Technician - 1957-1972
Information Security Specialist 1972-1974



Specialist M - 1942-1965
Mail Clerk - 1942-1944
Underwater Mechanic - 1948-1965



Specialist O - 1942-1948
Naval Material Inspector - 1942-1948



Specialist P - 1942-1960
Photographer - 1942-1944
Photographic Specialist - 1944-1948
Photogammetry Assistant - 1948-1960



Specialist Q - 1943-1948
Communications Specialist - 1943-1946
Cryptographer - 1946-1948



Specialist R - 1942-1965
Recruiter - 1942-1948
Transportationman - 1948-1965



Specialist S - 1942-1954
Entertainer - 1942-1942
Shore Patrol & Security 1942-1948
Shore Patrolman - 1948-1954



Specialist T - 1942-1957
Instructor - 1942-1948
Transportation Airman - 1948-1957



Specialist U - 1943-1965
Utility (V-10) - 1943-1944
Motion Picture Service - 1948-1965



Specialist V - 1943-1962
Transport Airman - 1943-1948
Aviation Pilot - 1948-1962



Specialist W - 1942-1965
Welfare/Recreation Leader - 1942-1965



Specialist X - 1943-1961
Specialist (Not Otherwise Classified) - 1943-1961



Specialist Y - 1943-1948
Control Tower Operator - 1943-1948



Steelworker - 1948-present



Steward - 1944-1963



Steward - 1963-1975



Storekeeper - 1916-present
Yeoman - 1885-1916



Teleman - 1948-1956



Torpedoman's Mate - 1921-present



Tradevman - 1948-1988



Turret Captain - 1903-1948



Underwater Medhanic - 1948-1948



Utilitiesman - 1948-present



Weapons Tech - 1987-1994