U.S. Navy Uniforms: Facts and Traditions

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"Why do the stars on the uniform have two points up?"

This question has been asked innumerable times, with no answer found. The Uniform Board cannot clarify the matter. They have received many queries on the subject and have, over the years, researched it thoroughly. The star on the sleeve has had two points up for well over 150 years. It is probable that the original decision was made from the personal preference of an individual in authority or by some uniform board of many years ago. It is interesting to note than an All-Navy notice of 1945 specifies that engagement stars were worn two points up. In 1964, another order changed this to one point up to conform with the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the U.S. ensign. The Uniform Board did not consider changing the line officer's star. As far as is known, there is no heraldic meaning to the number of star points up or down.

Oak leaves in insignia

Oak leaves have been used as insignia by various corps and ranks of the U.S. Navy since the earliest days. This decorative device was probably adopted originally as a symbol of the excellent oaken ships of the United States. In the days of wooden ships, the government preserved its life oak for shipbuilding by placing oak timbers under water for decades.