The Navy Department Library
Insignias U.S. Navy Uniform
"Aerospace Experimental Psychologist and Aerospace Physiologist." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 27.
"Evolution of Cap Device." Washington, DC: Historical Research Branch, Naval Historical Center, 1978.
"Flight Nurse." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 27.
"Flight Surgeon." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 26.
Garrett, Fay A. History of the Insignia of the Staff Corps of the United States Navy. Unpublished typescript cataloged in the Navy Department Library (1958).
Jones, Mel. "New Cap Devices Okayed." Navy Times. 18 (22 January 1969): 1, 50.
Kalkus, Stanley [Director, Navy Department Library]. Correspondence, dated 3 June 1983.
Meigs, Fred. Correspondence, concerning star points, dated June 18, 1970.
"Naval Aviation in World War I: The Origin of Navy Wings." Naval Aviation News. (February 1968): 18.
"Origin of Navy Pilot Wings: Adm. Towers Recalls Artist-Designer." Naval Aviation News. (August 1948): 21.
Smith, Trudy. "Right Arm Rates." Memo to Fred Meigs, Navy Department Library, dated August 11, 1976.
Tily, James C. "Uniforms and Insignia: Engineering and Construction Corps United States Navy." Bureau of Ships Journal. 9, no.5 (May 1960): 2-10.
United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Seamanship. NAVPERS 16118. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1944): 9-15.
United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. "Unit Identification Marks." BUPERS Notice. 1020. 22 December 1983.
United States. Department of the Navy. Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Permanent Naval Uniform Board. "Cap Ribbons; Historical Information on." Memorandum. 10 April 1953.
Aerospace Experimental Psychologist and Aerospace Physiologist
On 12 April 1967 the Under Secretary of the Navy approved a change to the Navy Uniform Regulations that authorized a new wing insignia for Aviation Experimental Psychologists and Aviation Physiologists. In February 1966 they were designated as crew members and ordered to duty involving flying, such as in-flight analysis of human performance in fleet and training operations covering myriad weapons systems and tactics, providing extensive training for all aircrew personnel in airborne protective equipment and egress systems, and test and evaluation of new and improved aircraft systems.
Now called Aerospace Experimental Psychologist and Aerospace Physiologist, their gold wings are similar to those worn by the Flight Surgeon, except that the gold oak leaf does not have the acorn. At the time of adoption, the new wings came in three sizes: male, female (smaller by about one third) and miniature (for use with mess dress uniforms). BUPERS Note 1020 of 4 August 1983 stated that the "insignia in the women officer size was discontinued and no longer authorized for wear."
Medical Service Corps officers may wear the Aerospace Experimental Psychologist or Aerospace Physiologist wings upon designation by the Chief of Naval Personnel or the Commanding Officer, Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, Pensacola, Fla. Successful completion of the approved course of instruction for student Aerospace Experimental Psychologists or Aerospace Physiologists includes Land and Sea Survival curriculum at the Naval Aviation Schools Command; and the flight curriculum prescribed by the Chief of Naval Air Training for student Naval Flight Surgeons - unless the medical officer has been previously designated a Naval Aviator.
Source: "Aerospace Experimental Psychologist and Aerospace Physiologist." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 27.
There seem to have been three phases in the evolution of the present hat-band device design. The eagle and anchor emblem was adopted in the uniform regulations of 1797 to be used on uniform buttons. From then until 1866, the device was used without much consistency on petty officer uniform rating badges, officer sword-hilts and sword-belts, captains' epaulettes and finally on officer caps. According to James C. Tily, The Uniforms of the United States Navy (1963), left-facing eagles were used on the uniform buttons of captains (No. 1 button), while right-facing eagles were designated for masters commandant and lieutenants (No. 2 button), in the regulations of 1820. This practice ended in 1830 when all officers were ordered to wear the "No. 1" button.
In the uniform regulations of 1841, petty officers were ordered to wear the eagle and anchor device on either the right or left sleeve, according to rate. This eagle was to have faced left, but examples have been found with that eagle facing right. The eagle in the medallion of the officer's sword-hilt of 1852 faces to the right, but the sword belt buckle medallion shows an eagle facing left. The eagle on a captain's shoulder epaulette of 1852 faces to the right.
The uniform regulations of 1866 prescribed, for the first time, an eagle-anchor device to be worn on a visored cap, with the eagle facing left. But the enclosed illustration from Tily captioned "Cap Ornament," [not included] which was introduced in 1869, shows the eagle facing right. In general, though, the eagles in decorative use from the 1860's through 1940 faced to the left. You will find enclosed [not included] a copy of a memorandum from the Director of Naval History to Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe of 13 December 1963. It contains an explanation of the change in uniform regulations that occurred in 1941, which prescribed the right-facing eagle that has been used since that year. The shift of the eagle's aspect to right-facing from left-facing is logical from the perspective of heraldic tradition, since the right side (dexter) is the honor side of the shield and the left side (sinester) indicates dishonor or illegitimacy.
We find no indication in the historical record that the officer cap device was ever in any way related to the Great Seal of the United States either in periods of war or peace. Early variations may have been mere accidents of design-makers or the personal whim of the officers when ordering uniforms.
Source: "Evolution of Cap Device." Washington, DC: Historical Research Branch, Naval Historical Center, 1978.
BUPERS Circular Letter Number 86-45 of 30 March 1945 announced the Secretary of the Navy had approved an insignia for Naval Flight Nurses on 15 March 1945. The change to the 1941 Uniform Regulations stated that nurses who have been designated as Naval Flight Nurses shall wear a gold-plated metal pin, winged, with slightly convex oval crest and embossed rounded edge and scroll. The central device shall be surcharged with gold anchor, gold spread oak leaf and silver acorn - the Nurse Corps insignia.
On 11 August 1952, the Secretary of the Navy approved a revision to the Flight Surgeon insignia which was accompanied by a similar change to the Flight Nurse insignia. BUPERS Change Memo 1-2 of 6 February 1953 directed: "The insignia shall consist of a gold-color metal pin of the same design as that prescribed for Flight Surgeons … except that the acorn shall be omitted." Like the original Flight Nurse wings, the overall dimensions of the new wings were smaller than their Flight Surgeon counterparts by almost a third. This smaller size was deemed more appropriate for the presumed wearers who were almost exclusively female at that time. It was not until 18 January 1994 that the Chief of Naval Operations authorized the production and wearing of standard size (2-3/4" by 5/8") Flight Nurse wings.
Since 1982, Nurse Corps officers are eligible to wear the Naval Flight Nurse wings upon designation by the Chief of Naval Personnel or the Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and after successful completion of the approved course of instruction for student Flight Nurses at the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas.
Source: "Flight Nurse." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 27.
Dr. H.J. "Tex" Rickard, designated a Naval Flight Surgeon in July 1940 upon completion of the School of Aviation, was "very conscious of the fact that [Flight Surgeons] had nothing on their uniforms that even remotely associated them with Naval Aviation." Discussions with the Senior Medical Officer at the school, where he was subsequently assigned as an instructor, resulted in Rickard's appointment as an "unofficial committee of one" tasked with designing an appropriate insignia. His first design was made up at the Assembly and Repair Shop at NAS Pensacola, Fla., and presented to the base commanding officer, then-Captain Albert C. Read. The future rear admiral, already well known for commanding the flight of the NC-4 that completed the first successful crossing of the Atlantic, was reported to have commented unfavorably: "They look too much like Naval Aviator's wings."
Dr. Rickard, irritated that one man's opinion should prevent his design from being forwarded for official consideration, decided that he would try to make his next submission resemble Naval Aviator wings as little as possible. One day, while driving home from the base, a gasoline station billboard caught his eye. Incorporated into the company logo were a pair of stylized wings which seemed sufficiently different from the wings worn by Naval Aviators. "When the design was completed and the wings manufactured and officially adopted, I thought they looked terrible and still do," Rickard wrote years later. The retired Medical Corps captain admitted: "Frankly, I wore the [first] wings on numerous occasions, unofficially, during my naval career because they were better looking than the second set and, as a pilot, I had more faith in their 'lift'."
On 18 May 1942 the Chief of Naval Personnel approved an insignia for Naval Flight Surgeons, and Bureau of Personnel (BUPERS) Circular Letter Number 107-42 of 29 July 1942 announced the establishment of the new Flight Surgeon wings. The change to the 1941 Uniform Regulations read that officers of the Medical Corps who have qualified as Naval Flight Surgeons shall wear on the left breast a gold-plated metal pin, winged, with slightly convex oval crest and embossed rounded edge and scroll. The central device shall be surcharged with a gold oak leaf and silver acorn - the Medical Corps insignia.
On 11 August 1952 the Secretary of the Navy approved a major revision of the Flight Surgeon wings. The new design superimposed the Medical Corps insignia on the style of wings used for Naval Aviators. BUPERS Memo 1-2 of 6 February 1953 changed the 1951 Uniform Regulations as follows: "A gold embroidered or gold-color metal pin, winged, with an oval center design upon which the Medical Corps device (a gold leaf and silver acorn) is superimposed."
Medical officers may wear the Flight Surgeon wings upon designation by the Chief of Naval Personnel after successful completion of the approved course of instruction for student Naval Flight Surgeons at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, Pensacola. This includes indoctrination for Medical Department officers; the Land and Sea Survival curriculum at the Naval Aviation Schools Command; and the flight curriculum prescribed by the Chief of Naval Air Training for student Naval Flight Surgeons - unless the medical officer has been previously designated a Naval Aviator.
Source: "Flight Surgeon." Naval Aviation News. (July-August 1996): 26.
MEMORANDUM FOR ADMIRAL HEFFERNAN, NAVAL HISTORY DIVISION.
Herewith are three copies of a history of the insignia of the Staff Corps of the US Navy which you directed us to prepare 28 November 1951.
The credit for this work belongs to Mrs. Fay A. Garrett who was on her own all the way except for an occasional discussion of some knotty point. She was most painstaking in her work.
In presenting this I wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance given to us by Mrs. Ruth Triplett, BuPers, who gave generously of her time and experience in making records available to us. The Navy Branch of the National Archives also was helpful in providing records for our use. I also want to acknowledge our indebtedness to the American Red Cross for allowing us to use their records relative to the original insignia of the Navy Nurse Corps.
Alma R. Lawrence
Insignia of the Engineer Corps
The Engineer Corps of the U.S. Navy was established by Act of Congress approved 31 August 1842. The first engineers of the Navy wore a uniform prescribed by Captain M.C. Perry in 1838, with the following markings distinctive of their corps and rank: Chief engineer, an embroidered five-pointed gold star, 1-1/2" in diameter, to be worn on each end of the collar; 1st assistant engineer, an embroidered five-pointed silver star, 1-1/2" in diameter, on each end of the collar; 2nd assistant engineer, an embroidered silver star, same dimensions, on the right side of the collar; and 3rd assistant engineer, an embroidered silver star on the left side of the collar. All engineers wore the usual style cap with a gold band 1-1/2" wide for chiefs, and without the band for all assistants.
Under date of 8 March 1852 the Navy Department issued new uniform regulations which prescribed for the caps of all engineers a device consisting of a wheel embroidered in gold back of an upright anchor embroidered in silver, placed in a gold embroidered wreath above a band of gold lace 1" wide. This same device and gold wreath, 2" high and 3" long, was also worn by all engineers on each side of the collar on their full dress coats. Chief engineers were entitled to epaulets on which the letter "E" in old English character, ¾" long, was embroidered in gold, and the same letter on their shoulder straps in silver. On 1 January 1853, 1st and 2nd assistant engineers were directed to wear shoulder straps, 1st assistants' to be of gold lace 4" long and ½" wide, bordered with gold bead cord 1/8 of an inch, and 2nd assistants' to be of blue cloth of the same dimensions and border. Neither of these bore the letter "E".
In January 1859 the Secretary of the Navy issued a general order conferring relative rank upon the officers of the Engineer Corps, which was confirmed by Congress 3 March 1859. Chief engineers of more than twelve years service ranked with commanders; chief engineers of less than twelve years, with lieutenants; 1st assistant engineers, next after lieutenants; 2nd assistant engineers, next after masters; and 3rd assistant engineers, with midshipmen.
On 8 February 1861 the uniforms of engineers were changed so as to more nearly conform to those worn by line and other staff officers of the Navy. Chief engineers were to wear upon the cuffs of their coat the same number of stripes of gold lace as the officers with whom they had assimilated rank, and the letter "E" on their epaulets and shoulder straps was dispensed with. The embroidered wheel, anchor and wreath on the collars of the coats of all engineers was omitted and on the collar of their full dress coat was an embroidered gold edging a half of an inch in width, extending along the top and down the front. The wreath on their caps was retained, but with an embroidered center of four oak leaves in the form of a cross, 1-3/4" in length and the same in breadth, instead of the wheel and anchor.
In 1862 regulations were issued in which the staff officers' uniforms were the same as prescribed for line officers with whom they had assimilated rank, with two exceptions, viz: whereas line officers had a silver foul anchor in the wreath on their caps, staff officers of relative rank wore a plain anchor, and the star worn above the gold lace on the sleeves of line officers was omitted from the sleeves of staff officers. While there was a distinction made between the staff and line officers, there was no insignia to distinguish the different corps.
In January 1864 the various corps were again assigned distinguishing marks, that of the Engineer Corps being four oak leaves in the form of a cross, worn on the shoulder straps and in the wreath on the cap. While the device on the cap was the same for all engineers, the wreath gold and the four oak leaves silver, 1-1/10" horizontally and 1/10" vertically, that on the shoulder straps varied according to rank. Since the 3rd assistant engineer was not entitled to wear straps, his sole distinctive mark of corps was the device on his cap.
Regulations issued in December 1866 specified that the cap ornament for all commissioned officers, except naval constructors, chaplains, and professors of mathematics, should consist of a silver embroidered spread eagle, standing on a gold embroidered foul anchor in an inclined position. The 3rd assistant engineer, a warrant officer, was directed to wear his corps device, four silver oak leaves in the form of a cross, within a gold wreath, as a cap ornament. Under these regulations all engineers except the 3rd assistant wore the corps device on the collar of their sack coats and overcoats, and on their epaulets and shoulder straps.
Regulations issued in 1869 established distinguishing colors for the different staff corps, that of the Engineer Corps being red, which were worn around the sleeves between the strips of gold lace. All engineers wore their rank and corps designations on the collars of their sack coats and overcoats and upon their epaulets, shoulder straps, loops or knots. The cap ornament for all engineer officers, the grade of 3rd assistant having been eliminated, was the same as that prescribed for all commissioned officers.
Naval engineers continued to wear the four silver oak leaves as a corps device and the red cloth under their gold lace stripes until the Engineer Corps was abolished by Navy personnel act of 3 March 1899. The officers constituting the Engineer Corps were transferred to the line of the Navy.
Insignia of the Civil Engineer Corps
Civil engineers were employed by the Navy Department as early as 1827, when Mr. Loammi Baldwin was appointed to superintend the construction of dry docks at Boston and Norfolk. Prior to the passage of the Act of 2 March 1867 civil engineers were appointed by the Secretary, but under authority of that act they were to be commissioned by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; they were appropriated for as part of the civil establishment at the several navy yards and stations under the control of the Bureau of Yards and Docks until 1870, when their pay was regulated by section 3 of the Act of 15 July of that year fixing the annual pay of officers of the Navy on the active list, and appropriations for their pay have been made since 1870 under the head of "Pay of the Navy".
The discretionary authority given to the President by the Statute of 3 March 1871, to determine and fix the relative rank of civil engineers was not exercised until the 24th of February 1881, when relative rank was conferred upon them and fixed as follows: One with the relative rank of captain, two with that of commander, three with that of lieutenant-commander, and four with that of lieutenant.
The Navy Regulations for 1876 failed to list civil engineers among the staff officers of the Navy, and the uniform regulations for that year did not prescribe a uniform or a corps device for that class of officer. In 1881, after having had relative rank conferred upon them, civil engineers were instructed by Uniform Circular dated 24 August to wear the uniform of officers of the line with whom they had relative rank - omitting the star, which is a distinguishing mark of the line - with the following distinctive marks and devices instead of those worn by other officers:
"The sleeve lace to be on light blue velvet.
"Shoulder straps - border embroidered gold, body light blue cloth and the letters C.E. (Old English) embroidered in silver in the center.
"The same letters to be similarly embroidered on frogs of epaulets."
In 1905 two crossed silver sprigs, each composed of two live oak leaves and an acorn, was adopted as the insignia of the Civil Engineer Corps in lieu of the Old English letters C.E., and worn on the epaulets, shoulder straps and collar of the service coat. While the pattern of this corps device remained the same, uniform regulations issued in 1919 specified that it was to be embroidered in gold instead of silver and worn on the sleeve of frock, evening dress, and blue service coats, above the gold lace strips, and on shoulder marks for white service coat and overcoat. By these same regulations the light blue cloth worn under the sleeve strips, and worn on the shoulder marks since 1899, was abolished as a distinction of the corps.
Insignia of the Naval Construction Corps
Prior to 1863 naval constructors were civilians employed by the Navy Department, but Naval Regulations dated 13 March 1863 designated them as staff officers and assigned them the following relative rank with line officers: Naval constructors of more than twenty years service, to rank with captains; naval constructors of more than twelve years, to rank with commanders; those of less than twelve years, to rank with lieutenant-commanders; and assistant naval constructors, to rank with masters.
Uniform regulations issued 28 January 1864 prescribed a live oak sprig as the corps device for naval constructors, to be worn on shoulder straps and in the gold wreath on their caps. The cap ornament of all constructors was the same, "a sprig, composed of two leaves of live oak, in silver, in a vertical position, and with a spread of 1-1/4 inch." The device on the shoulder straps varied somewhat, that of the Chief of the Bureau of Construction, with the relative rank of commodore, having a silver star embroidered on a gold live oak sprig; naval constructors ranking with captains, having a silver spread eagle standing on a silver live oak sprig; and all other constructors having a silver live oak sprig in the center of their straps with their rank designations on each end. In December 1866 regulations specified that the collar of sack coats should bear the designations of rank and corps. In 1869 the corps device was dispensed with as a cap ornament and General Order dated 11 March prescribed a silver shield with two crossed anchors in gold as the cap ornament for all commissioned officers.
On 29 March 1869 the Attorney General rendered the decision that Navy Regulations of 13 March 1863, by which naval constructors were granted relative rank with line officers, were not founded upon valid authority of law. Therefore, when new regulations were issued naval constructors were omitted from the list of staff officers and no specific uniform and corps device were prescribed for them. Act of Congress approved 3 March 1871 established the relative rank of naval constructors - the first two on the list to rank with captains, the next three with commanders and the remainder with lieutenant-commanders or lieutenants; assistant naval constructors to rank with lieutenants or masters.
Uniform circular dated 21 March 1872 prescribed the same uniform for naval constructors as that prescribed for officers of the line with whom they held relative rank, with the same arrangement of lace and ornaments except the stars on the sleeves were to be omitted and dark violet cloth worn around the sleeves between the strips of gold lace, and a sprig of two live oak leaves and an acorn embroidered in gold was to be substituted for the anchor on the shoulder straps.
Regulations issued in 1883 required that the Construction Corps insignia be made of silver instead of gold, without any change in design. However, in 1897 gold was again specified in lieu of silver.
The dark violet cloth worn on the sleeves and since 1899 on shoulder marks, under the gold strips of lace, was retained as a distinguishing mark of the Construction Corps until 1919. Regulations issued in November of that year abolished the colored cloth and specified that corps insignia should appear above the rank marks on the sleeves of frock, evening dress, and blue service coats, and on the shoulder marks which were to be worn on white service coats and overcoats. The Construction Corps device remained the same, a sprig of two live oak leaves with an acorn on the stem between the leaves, embroidered in gold.
Insignia of the Chaplain Corps
No corps of the Navy took so long to crystallize into a well defined unit as did the Chaplain Corps. For years chaplains were denied the same rights and privileges awarded other officers and although the first chaplains were appointed to the naval service as early as 1799, it was not until 1864 that they obtained an insignia for their corps.
Prior to 1830 chaplains probably wore their civilian clerical garb, since no uniform was prescribed for them by the Navy Department. Regulations issued in May of that year directed that they wear a "plain black coat, vest and pantaloons or black breeches", the coat to have three black covered buttons under pocket flaps and on the cuffs. On 12 November 1838 a General Order permitted chaplains to wear the official naval buttons which other officers wore, and by Regulations of 1841 they were authorized to wear practically the same uniform as that worn by other naval officers, their coat to be of "dark blue cloth, double breasted, with rolling collar of black velvet, and a row of nine buttons on each side, three buttons on the cuffs and pocket flaps and one in the middle of the skirts". In 1844 the color of the chaplains' uniform was changed to black again; while performing religious services on the Sabbath they were permitted to wear the black silk gown usually worn by clergymen, a plain black coat, or their uniform coat.
New regulations appeared in 1852 which changed the double-breasted coat to single-breasted, and eliminated one row of "nine large Navy buttons in front". Collars and cuffs were to be "of black velvet, without embroidery." A circular, issued by the Navy Department on 3 March 1853, modified this regulation by substituting "black covered buttons" for the "navy button". The latter regulation removed the only distinctive naval insignia from the chaplains' uniform. They wore no insignia of rank or any badge of their office.
Navy Regulations issued 13 March 1863 designated chaplains as staff officers and assigned them the following relative rank with line officers: chaplains of more than twelve years' standing in their respective grades, to rank with commanders; chaplains of less than twelve years, with lieutenant-commanders. Uniform regulations issued the following January authorized chaplains to wear as a distinctive corps device a silver Latin cross on their shoulder straps and in the gold wreath of oak and olive branches on the front of their caps. They wore the same rank designations as prescribed for line officers with whom they held assimilated rank. For the first time chaplains were allowed to wear strips of gold lace on their sleeves.
On 29 March 1869 the Attorney General rendered the decision that Navy Regulations of 13 March 1863, by which chaplains were granted relative rank with line officers, were not founded upon valid authority of law. Therefore, when new regulations were issued chaplains were omitted from the list of staff officers and no specific uniform and corps device were prescribed for them. However, Act of Congress approved 3 March 1871 established the relative rank of chaplains as follows: - four, the relative rank of captain; seven, that of commander; and not more than seven, that of lieutenant commander or lieutenant. While the Navy Department immediately issued circulars regarding the uniform and distinctive marks for other staff officers when awarded relative rank, no evidence is found to show that any special uniform or insignia of rank and corps was prescribed for chaplains until 1876. Uniform regulations issued that year restored the silver Latin cross as the chaplains' corps device, to be worn on epaulets, shoulder straps and the collars of sack coats and overcoats, and authorized them to wear the same uniform with appropriate rank designations as prescribed for line officers with whom they held relative rank.
The 1883 edition of Uniform Regulations made optional the wearing of the authorized uniform by chaplains: "In place of the prescribed uniform, chaplains may wear the single-breasted coat, waistcoat, and trousers commonly worn by clergymen, made of black or dark navy-blue cloth." When in uniform he continued to wear the silver Latin cross as his corps insignia.
General Order 423 of 20 April 1894 specified that all staff officers, "except chaplains", shall wear the same width of gold lace as prescribed for line officers with whom they have relative rank. Apparently the chaplain was not allowed to wear the gold lace strips on his sleeve to indicate his rank.
Uniform Regulations dated 1 July 1897 required chaplains to "wear the dress commonly worn by clergymen, consisting of a single-breasted frock coat, with standing collar, waistcoat, and trousers, of black or dark navy-blue material, and a black hat; or a navy cap with black buttons and strap, and without ornaments." These regulations failed to prescribe a corps device for chaplains and prohibited their wearing gold lace on their sleeves. However, an addendum dated 23 December 1898 prescribed a uniform for the chaplain with his corps device, a Latin cross embroidered in silver, and his rank designation on his coat collar, and sleeve ornaments of lustrous black braid corresponding in width and disposition with those of line officers of the same relative rank.
During and just subsequent to World War I numerous uniform changes were issued which resulted in the chaplain wearing a uniform more in conformity with those of other commissioned officers. He was given the right to wear gold lace stripes instead of black braid, with lustrous black cloth between the stripes as a distinction of his corps. However, by 1920 the colored cloth was eliminated from all staff officers' uniforms, leaving only their corps devices as distinctive marks of their respective corps. While the Latin cross remained the insignia of the Chaplain Corps, regulations specified that it be "embroidered in gold, the long arm 1 inch long, the short arm 1/16 inch long, and each arm 3/16 inch wide" and worn just above the gold lace on the sleeves of frock, evening dress and blue service coats.
Insignia of the Corps of Professors of Mathematics
The Corps of Professors of Mathematics was established by Act of Congress approved 3 August 1848, which provided "That the number of professors of mathematics in the Navy shall not exceed twelve; that they shall be appointed and commissioned by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall perform such duties as may be assigned them by order of the Secretary of the Navy, at the Naval School, the Observatory, and on board ships of war, in instructing the midshipmen of the Navy or otherwise." Prior to this act schoolmasters, or Professors of Mathematics and Teachers of Naval Schools, had been appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to teach midshipmen at Norfolk, New York and Boston navy yards and on some of the larger ships of war.
While uniform regulations issued in 1830 prescribed a uniform for schoolmasters, it had no distinctive markings other than the number of buttons, the coat having six on each breast, one on each hip and one on the bottom of the skirts. This same uniform was also worn by clerks. Regulations issued in 1852 prescribed the same uniform for professors and commodore's secretaries - single-breasted coat with eight large navy buttons in front, and coat skirts lined with white silk serge; cap ornament, a gold oak wreath without any device.
It was not until 1864 that the Corps of Professors of Mathematics received a particular device distinctive of that branch of the service. Navy Regulations issued 13 March 1863 had designated professors of mathematics as staff officers and assigned them the following relative rank with line officers: Professors of mathematics of more than twelve years standing in their respective grades, to rank with commanders; and those of less than twelve years, to rank with lieutenant-commanders. The uniform prescribed for staff officers by regulations dated 24 January 1864 was the same as that prescribed for line officers with whom they assimilated in rank, except for the respective distinctions of the line and staff. The corps distinction for professors of mathematics was "the letter P, in silver, and in relief upon a plain gold circle", worn in the center of their shoulder straps and enclosed in the gold wreath of oak and olive branches on the front of their caps. In 1866 this device was changed to "a silver live oak leaf and an acorn", to be worn on epaulets, shoulder straps, cap, and on the ends of the collar of sack coats and overcoats. In 1869 the corps device was omitted as part of the cap ornament and all commissioned officers were to wear the same ornament, the shield and crossed anchors, on the front of their caps.
On 29 March 1869 the Attorney General rendered the decision that Navy Regulations of 13 March 1863, by which professors of mathematics were granted relative rank with line officers, were not founded upon valid authority of law. Therefore, when new regulations were issued professors were omitted from the list of staff officers and no specific uniform and corps device were prescribed for them. However, Act of Congress approved 31 May 1872 established the relative rank of professors of mathematics - three to have the relative rank of captain; four, that of commander; and five, that of lieutenant-commander or lieutenant - and on 12 June the Secretary issued a circular prescribing a uniform for them. They were to wear the same uniform as officers of the line with whom they held relative rank, with the same arrangement of lace and ornaments, except the stars on the sleeves were to be omitted and olive green cloth worn around the sleeves between the strips of gold lace, and a sprig of one oak leaf and an acorn, embroidered in silver, was to be substituted for the anchors on the shoulder straps.
The corps insignia of professors of mathematics remained the same until 1919 when regulations were issued specifying that the oak leaf and acorn be embroidered in gold in lieu of silver and placed ¼" above the gold lace strips on the sleeves of frock, evening dress, and blue service coats, and on the shoulder marks worn with white service coat and overcoat. The olive green heretofore worn under the gold lace strips on the sleeves, and since 1899 on shoulder marks, was abolished as a distinguishing mark of the Corps of Professors of Mathematics.
Note: Act of August 29, 1916 provided that "hereafter no further appointments shall be made to the Corps of Professors of Mathematics, and that corps shall cease to exist upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the officers now carried in that corps on the active and retired lists of the Navy."
Insignia of the Dental Corps
A Dental Corps, to be a part of the Medical Department of the Navy, was authorized by Act of Congress of August 22, 1912, and Uniform Regulations issued in 1913 prescribed for Dental officers a corps device consisting of "a gold spread oak leaf with silver acorn on either side of the stem", to be worn on epaulets and on the collar of service coats. These regulations also specified that officers of the Dental Corps wear as a distinguishing mark, orange colored velvet around their sleeves, filling the intervals between the gold lace stripes on the sleeves of special full dress, evening dress, frock and blue service coats, and on the shoulder marks worn with white service coat, mess jacket and overcoat.
Change in Uniform Regulations No. 25, dated November 16, 1918 (but not effective until July 1, 1921), removed the colored cloth from between the gold sleeve stripes of all staff officers and in lieu of the star above the lace stripes as prescribed for line officers, the appropriate corps device was substituted, reduced in size so as to be contained in a circle 1-1/8" in diameter. The colored cloth was also removed from shoulder marks, and the corps device, reduced in size, embroidered thereon in gold.
From the time of its adoption in 1913 to the present time (1952) there has been no material change in the corps insignia of dental officers. While its size and materials have varied, depending upon the specified location upon the uniform, its design and colors have remained the same, "a gold spread oak leaf with a silver acorn on each side of the stem".
Insignia of the Medical Service Corps
The most recent corps to be added to the Navy, is the Medical Service Corps which was established by Title II of Act of Congress approved August 4, 1947, to consist of officers in the grades of ensigns to captains inclusive. Appointments in this corps were made in accordance with the provisions of Act of April 18, 1946, authorizing the appointment of temporary and reserve officers to the Regular Navy, and from those persons serving as commissioned warrant or warrant officers in the Hospital Corps of the Regular Navy, and from other persons who possessed such physical and other qualifications for appointment as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy.
A corps insignia was authorized for Medical Service Corps officers by Bureau of Naval Personnel letter dated 5 February, 1948, and was promulgated by Change No. 1 to Uniform Regulations of 1947. This corps device as worn on both sleeves of the blue coat, ¼" above the gold lace stripes was "a spread oak leaf embroidered in gold, stem curving slightly to the front, with a twig below the stem and attached thereto; the twig to be inclined at an angle of 30 degrees from horizontal; the device to be of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-3/8" long and ¾" wide; to be set with the longer dimension perpendicular to the upper stripe of lace, stem down, and with the lower end of the twig to the front".
With the exception of one slight change the insignia of the Medical Corps has remained the same as first prescribed. Change No. 3 to Uniform Regulations, dated October 21, 1948, changed the angle of the twig from 30 degrees to 15 degrees. The latest Uniform Regulations, issued in 1951, specified that the spread oak leaf, stem down and attached to a twig inclined at an angle of 15 degrees, was to be embroidered in gold on the shoulder marks and sleeves of blue coats and in black silk on sleeves of the aviation winter working uniform coat; pin-on or clutch type insignia, to be worn on the collar of conventional khaki shirts and tropical uniform shirts, to be of gold color metal.
Insignia of the Hospital Corps
Act of Congress approved June 17, 1898 established the Hospital Corps of the US Navy, to consist of pharmacists, hospital stewards, hospital apprentices (1st class), and hospital apprentices. The Secretary of the Navy was authorized to appoint twenty-five pharmacists with the rank, pay and privileges of warrant officers.
General Order No. 493, dated June 25, 1898, prescribed that pharmacists should wear the uniform of warrant officers and the collar device for their frock coats should be the Geneva cross embroidered in gold. The first pharmacists (25 in number) were appointed on September 15, 1898, and uniform regulations issued the following May specified that their distinguishing mark, a Geneva cross embroidered in gold, should appear on the collar of their frock and blue service coat. The cap devices for all chief warrant and warrant officers, mates and pay clerks, was 2 gold foul anchors crossed. Uniform Change No. 4, dated October 12, 1908, gave warrant officers shoulder straps, with their corps device thereon, to be worn with overcoat and white service coat.
By a provision of Act of Congress approved August 22, 1912 pharmacists were, after six years from date of warrant, to be commissioned as chief pharmacists; total number of chief pharmacists and pharmacists limited to 25. Uniform regulations issued in 1913 changed the design of the corps device of chief pharmacists and pharmacists from the Geneva cross to a caduceus embroidered in silver or in gold, respectively. The enlisted men of the Hospital Corps, referred to as "Hospital Corpsmen", retained the Geneva cross, made of red cloth, as their specialty mark. By these regulations the chief pharmacists were allowed to wear on the sleeves of their frock and blue service coats one stripe of ½" gold lace woven with dark blue silk thread for widths of ½" at intervals of 2 inches, and to wear the same cap device as other commissioned officers. The pharmacists had no stripe on their sleeves and they retained the cap device consisting of two gold foul anchors crossed.
By Change in Uniform Regulations No. 25, dated November 16, 1918 (but not effective until July 1, 1921) the corps device, a gold embroidered caduceus, was placed on the sleeves of chief pharmacists, ¼" inch above the broken gold lace stripe, and on those of pharmacists 4" from the edge of the sleeve, they having no stripe. Change in Uniform Regulations No. 28, dated November 13, 1919, changed the sleeve marking of chief warrant officers to one stripe of ½" lace and gave the warrant officers one stripe of ¼" lace. However, when new uniform regulations were issued in 1922 the broken lace stripe was designated for the sleeves of these officers - chief warrant officers, one ½" stripe and warrant officers one ¼" stripe, woven at intervals of 2 inches with dark blue silk thread in widths of ½ inch. These marks of rank and corps also appeared on the shoulder marks worn with white service coats and overcoats. Thus, the corps insignia for both chief pharmacists and pharmacists became the same, a gold caduceus, (the former's previously being of silver), and their difference in grade was noted by the width of their gold and blue lace stripe and their cap device.
The Hospital Corps had heretofore consisted of chief warrant officers, warrant officers and enlisted men, but by Act of Congress approved July 24, 1941, providing for the temporary appointment or advancement of personnel of the Navy, persons of the Hospital Corps were appointed to commissioned rank. These officers wore the Hospital Corps insignia, a gold caduceus, as directed by Bureau of Navigation Circular Letter No. 12-42 dated 27 January, 1942, until passage of the "Officer Personnel Act of 1947", approved August 7, 1947, which provided for their appointment in the newly created Medical Service Corps or reversion to their former permanent rank. The only commissioned officers remaining in the Hospital Corps were those who had been placed on the Retired List. In accordance with certain provisions of this act the names "Chief Pharmacists" and "Pharmacists" were abolished and officers in those grades were referred to as "Chief Warrant Officer, Hospital Corps" and "Warrant Officer, Hospital Corps".
The latest uniform regulations, those issued in 1951, still prescribe the gold caduceus as the corps insignia for commissioned officers (those on the retired list), chief warrant officers and warrant officers of Hospital Corps, to be worn on the sleeves ¼" above the gold lace stripes, on the shoulder straps, and on the collars of khaki and tropical uniform shirts.
Insignia of the Medical Corps
The oak leaf and acorn first appeared on naval officers' uniforms as a distinguishing mark of rank in 1830. The design itself did not signify any particular rank or corps, but was embroidered in gold on the collar and cuffs of all officers in a greater or lesser degree, according to rank - the higher ranking officers having a greater quantity of embroidery on their uniforms. In addition to the live oak leaf, the surgeon had on his collar an embroidered club of Aesculapius as a distinctive mark of his corps.
In 1832 the serpent and staff were removed from the medical officers' uniform and a branch of live oak substituted; on his cuffs was gold lace. Under regulations issued in 1847 medical officers were given gold epaulets with worked edge, and a solid bright crescent; on the crescent were the old English letters "M D" of solid silver. The same letters also appeared on their shoulder straps. In 1852 the letters "M D" were abolished for the medical officers and in lieu thereof they were to wear on their shoulder straps and caps an olive sprig.
In 1852 regulations were issued in which the staff officers' uniforms were the same as prescribed for line officers with whom they had assimilated rank, with two exceptions, viz: whereas line officers had a silver foul anchor in the wreath on their caps staff officers of relative rank wore a plain anchor, and the star worn above the gold lace on the sleeves of line officers was omitted from the sleeves of staff officers. While there was a distinction made between the staff and line officers, there was no insignia to distinguish the different corps.
In January 1864 the various corps were again assigned distinguishing marks, that of the Medical Corps being a silver oak leaf in a vertical position within the gold wreath on the front of the cap. While at this time officers of the other corps were required to wear their corps device on the shoulder straps in the place where a line officer wore a silver foul anchor, the Medical Corps officer was conspicuous by the lack of any distinctive mark on his straps. He had only the rank marks which also appeared on the straps of other officers, both staff and line, with whom he had assimilated rank.
Regulations issued in December 1866 specified that the cap ornament for all commissioned officers, except naval constructors, chaplains, and professors of mathematics, should consist of a silver embroidered spread eagle, standing on a gold embroidered foul anchor in an inclined position. Under these regulations the medical officers had no distinguishing marks whatever, wearing on their epaulets, shoulder straps and collar of sack coat and overcoat only indication of rank - Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, a silver star; fleet surgeons and surgeons after fifteen years, a silver spread eagle; surgeons after first five years, a silver oak leaf; surgeons first five years, a gold oak leaf; passed assistant surgeons, two gold bars; and assistant surgeons, one gold bar.
In 1869 regulations were issued which prescribed more uniform dress for line and staff officers but still left the medical officer without a corps device. A cap ornament consisting of the shield and crossed anchors was specified for the front of the caps of all officers, and markings on the sleeves designated to which branch of the service an officer belonged. While the line officers retained the gold star above their stripes, the staff officers wore colored cloth underneath their gold sleeve stripes in such a manner that it would show on either side and between the stripes. The color designated for the Medical Corps was cobalt blue.
Under regulations issued in 1883 the first actual corps device or insignia was prescribed for the Medical Corps, being a silver Maltese cross with a small maroon velvet Geneva cross in the center. These regulations changed the band of colored cloth around the sleeves of medical officers from cobalt blue to dark maroon velvet. The regulations of 1 July 1897 changed the corps device of the Medical Corps to spread oak leaf embroidered in lead gold, with an acorn embroidered in silver upon it. This corps device was worn on epaulets, shoulder straps and collars, but it was not until 1919 that the dark maroon velvet under the gold sleeve stripes of medical officers was removed and the corps insignia placed just above the stripes where it is worn today.
Insignia of the Pay or Supply Corps
In the early Navy various corps did not have representative devices, or insignia, but the members of each corps, who were called civil or staff officers, were distinguished from line officers by the details of their uniforms, such as number of buttons on lapels, cuffs and pockets, epaulets, color, cut of coat, amount of gold lace, etc., as noted in the uniform regulations issued from time to time.
The uniform regulations issued 1 May 1830 contained the first distinction of corps and branch of service. These specified that a purser should have, in addition to the live oak leaf and acorn, which also appeared on the collars of officers in varying abundance, a cornucopia embroidered on the collar of his full dress coat where the surgeon had the staff of Esculapius. In 1841 the distinguishing mark on the purser's collar was changed to a 4" row of gold embroidered oak leaves and acorns.
A modification of the uniform regulations, dated 27 May 1847, provided gold epaulets for the purser on which was a solid bright crescent, with the old English letters "P.D." in solid silver within the crescent. The same letters were also placed in the center of his shoulder straps. Uniform regulations approved 8 March 1852 required the letters "P.D." to be embroidered in silver in the middle of the frog of his epaulets and in the center of his shoulder straps, pursers of more than twelve years service to have a single gold oak leaf at each end of the straps and pursers of less than twelve years, the same without the leaf. His full dress coat had a wreath of live oak embroidered on the collar. In September 1852 the letters "P.D." were abolished for the purser and in lieu thereof he was to wear on his shoulder straps and in the wreath on his cap a gold embroidered oak sprig.
Act of Congress approved 5 August 1854 legalized the relative rank conferred upon pursers by General Order of 27 May 1847. Pursers of more than twelve years service ranked with commanders and those of less than twelve years with lieutenants. By General Order of 23 August 1856 pursers were required to wear the uniform of their relative rank with the exception of the lace on the pantaloons; their corps device on epaulets, shoulder straps and cap remaining the same. Act of Congress approved 22 June 1860 changed the title of officers of the Pay Corps from purser to paymaster.
In 1862 regulations were issued in which the staff officers' uniforms were the same as prescribed for line officers with whom they had assimilated rank, with two exceptions, viz: whereas line officers had a silver foul anchor in the wreath on their caps staff officers of relative rank wore a plain anchor, and the star worn above the gold lace on the sleeves of line officers was omitted from the sleeves of staff officers. While there was a distinction made between the staff and line officers, there was no insignia to distinguish the different corps.
In January 1864 the various corps were again assigned distinguishing marks, that of the Pay Corps being a silver oak sprig worn on the shoulder straps and in the wreath of the cap. Regulations issued in December 1866 specified that the cap ornament for all commissioned officers, except naval constructors, chaplains, and professors of mathematics, should consist of a silver embroidered spread eagle, standing on a gold embroidered foul anchor in an inclined position. Under these regulations the paymaster's distinguishing device, the silver oak sprig, was placed on the collar of his sack coat and overcoat and on the shoulder straps and frogs of the epaulets.
Uniform regulations of 1869 required that the staff officers wear colored cloth between the gold lace stripes on their sleeves. The paymaster was to wear white cloth between the stripes to distinguish him as an officer of the Pay Corps. He continued to wear the silver oak sprig on his collar, epaulets and shoulder straps or shoulder loops.
In 1899 the paymaster began wearing the newly prescribed shoulder marks on his service coat, which had replaced the sack coat in 1877, and on his overcoat. These marks contained the stripes of gold lace indicating his rank, with the white cloth indicating his corps underneath.
In regulations of 1905, while the insignia of the Pay Corps remained "a silver oak sprig", the pattern was a little different. Instead of the three leaves and two acorns standing out separately from the stem as heretofore, the three leaves and three acorns (one acorn having been added) were brought together at the stem of the sprig inscribed in a rectangle.
There was no further material change in the Pay Corps distinctive marks until after World War I. By Act of 11 July 1919 the designation of the Pay Corps was changed to Supply Corps. Regulations issued in November of that year eliminated the white cloth between the gold lace on the sleeves of frock, evening dress, and blue service coats. The corps device was also to appear on the shoulder straps required for the white service coat and overcoat. While the Supply Corps insignia remained the same in pattern, consisting of a sprig of three oak leaves and three acorns, it was to be embroidered in gold instead of silver.
Insignia of the Navy Nurse Corps
The Nurse Corps (female) of the US Navy was established by Act of Congress approved May 13, 1908, to consist of one superintendent, to be appointed by the Secretary of the Navy, and as many chief nurses, nurses and reserve nurses as needed, to be appointed by the Surgeon-General with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy.
Esther V. Hasson was appointed first superintendent of the Nurse Corps and on November 20, 1908 submitted to the Surgeon-General of the Navy a recommendation for a uniform for the nurses, with the following insignia devices:
"Cross. Upon the left sleeve of the shirt waist half way between the shoulder and the elbow, shall be worn the 'Geneva Red Cross', uniform in size and color with red cross worn on the sleeve by the hospital apprentices. Embroidered either upon the sleeve itself, or if more convenient upon a small patch of white linen, which can be stitched flat upon the sleeve. The cross shall be embroidered in red marking cotton.
"Pin. The enclosed design of the anchor and caduceus is recommended for the device to be worn as a pin by the Women Nurse Corps of the Navy. A heavy gold plate would probably be the most suitable material for this pin. Background and rope edge of dull, rough gold; design and letters (U.S.N., under anchor) in dark blue enamel. If adopted as part of the uniform this pin shall always be worn by the nurses when on duty; pinned to the left side of the waist just below edge of collar. It is further recommended that no nurse shall be allowed to wear the above pin until the prescribed period of training at the Naval Medical School Hospital shall have been completed in a creditable manner, and it has been definitely decided that she is suitable for permanent military service."
Miss Hasson's recommendation was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on November 27, 1908, but sufficient data have not been found in the records to prove that the proposed devices were ever actually worn by the Navy nurses. To the contrary, subsequent correspondence seems to indicate that a different design for the pin device was substituted, and no further reference is found to the Geneva red cross on the sleeve. On January 20, 1909 Superintendent Hasson wrote to Bailey, Banks & Biddle Co. of Philadelphia regarding a design they had submitted for the Nurse Corps pin which was somewhat similar to that of the Marine Hospital Service, inasmuch as they both had the anchor crossed with the caduceus, although in the latter case the staff was that of Mercury and not of Aesculapius. Miss Hasson was of the opinion that it would be in bad taste for the Navy to select anything so similar in design for its Nurse Corps and suggested that "A small banner of the shape of the design enclosed, but smaller, and enameled in the three colors, red, white and blue, be substituted for the caduceus; it could be placed on the anchor at the point where it is at present crossed by the staff; it would add to the character of the pin if a dark blue enamel background is substituted for the gold one." The design referred to was not found attached to the correspondence.
Nothing has been located in the official files to show the design actually adopted as a corps insignia for nurses at that time, but the following description of a Nurse Corps pin in 1913, in the possession of retired Nurse Miriam Ballard, Washington, DC, has been supplied by the Navy Nurse Corps:
"Shaped like a button, about the size of a quarter, medium blue enamel background with fine raised border of gold leaves, gold anchor superimposed with gold lettering USN on anchor and small shield on anchor at top; shield has red and white stripes and blue field at top. This pin was worn on the white indoor uniform at center of neckline, that is, at the bottom of V-neck. There was no outdoor uniform at that time."
According to the official "History of American Red Cross Nursing", published by MacMillan Co., 1922, when the United States entered the European War in1917, "The Navy Nurse Corps, like that of the Army, had no distinctive outdoor uniform for its nurses. American Red Cross nurses assigned to the Navy Nurse Corps, when on duty in the wards of Navy hospitals, wore the white wash uniform of their school, with the Red Cross cap, brassard and cape. When off duty they wore civilian clothes. The following instructions were issued by Surgeon General W.C. Braisted and were forwarded November 16, 1917 by Mrs. Higbee (Superintendent of Navy Nurse Corps) to Miss Delano: 'Outdoor Uniform for Members of the Navy Nurse Corps - Corps Insignia: To be worn on duty always with wash uniforms and on waists of outdoor uniform, when such uniform is ordered. Collar device for outdoor uniform: The letters U.S. for members of the Regular Nurse Corps, and U.S.R. for reserve members of the Nurses Reserve Force; to be worn ¾" from collar openings on collar of coat or suit, topcoat or heavy cape; corps device to be worn ¾" from letters U.S. or U.S.R.; collar devices shall not be worn except when in full outdoor uniform or when topcoat and heavy cape are worn over wash uniform in hospital reservation.'
"The collar device referred to above consisted of a gold acorn on a gold oak leaf, which was superimposed upon the characteristic gold anchor of the Navy Department. The letters N.N.C. in gold appear upon the oak leaf and acorn.
"Early in August 1918 a change in the insignia to be worn by members of the Navy Nurse Corps was made. Surgeon General Braisted on August 9, 1918 sent Miss Delano a print of the new design. 'The device is supplied in pairs and is to be worn on either side of the collar of coat or suit, top-coat and cape, the anchor to be horizontal with point toward and one inch from the opening of the collar. The use of the letters U.S. and U.S.R. as a part of the collar device of the Nurse Corps is herewith countermanded.'
"The following ruling of Surgeon General Braisted was sent to Miss Delano on August 30, 1918: 'The uniform approved by the Secretary of the Navy for members of the Navy Nurse Corps will be worn by all members of the Navy Nurse Corps assigned to active duty; and instructions have been sent to the commanding officers of navy hospitals, naval stations, hospital and ambulance ships and naval transports, that there shall be no distinguishing marks in the uniforms of nurses other than those which denote their official status.' This ruling removed entirely the Red Cross emblem from the uniform of American Red Cross nurses assigned to naval service."
From the above information obtained from the "History of American Red Cross Nursing", it would seem that the design consisting of a gold acorn and leaf, and the letters N.N.C., superimposed on an anchor, was adopted as the insignia of the Navy Nurse Corps prior to 1917, but nothing has been found in the official records of the Navy Department to substantiate this. Under date of June 4, 1918 the Secretary of the Navy approved a recommendation of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery "that a pin, similar to the enclosed design be authorized as the collar device for the Navy Nurse Corps; the pin to be of gilt plate or jeweler's metal, dull finish, with the letters N.N.C. burnished." Neither the drawing nor a description of this device has been located.
The first definite and complete description of the Navy Nurse Corps insignia found in the official files is that approved by Surgeon General E.R. Stitt November 27, 1923 and prescribed in Uniform Regulations for the members of the Navy Nurse Corps approved by the Secretary of the Navy February 14, 1924, as follows:
"Embroidered device (Worn on collar of blue street uniform) - an anchor made in pairs 1-1/8" overall, 14/16" across and outside of flukes, and 10/16" across and outside of crown and to count 78 pieces of bullion to each anchor. The anchor to have superimposed thereon an oak leaf and acorn with the letters N.N.C. The oak leaf shall be 14/16" long and 8/16" at its widest part and to count 30 pieces of bullion to each leaf. The letters N.N.C. shall be 3/16" in height. All bullions shall be No. 22. Jacerons Nos. 3 and 6 US Navy standard, 90% silver, 2% gold and 8% alloy. Anchor and chain, bright gold bullion; oak leaf, matte gold bullion; acorn and veins of leaf, bright gold bullion; letters, fancy silver bullion.
"Pin device (Worn on collars of white street and indoor uniforms, and on uniform hat.) - to be of same design. All metal used for anchor, chain and leaf to be of brass. To be plated with 3 pennyweight of fine gold per doz. pair. Finish: anchor and chain, bright gold; leaf and acorn, rose gold; letters N.N.C., bright silver."
For the next twenty years the insignia of the Navy Nurse Corps remained unchanged. However, in the interim the street uniform was dispensed with and the embroidered device consequently eliminated. According to Uniform Regulations issued in 1941 the outdoor uniform of navy nurses consisted of a hat, sweater and cape (or raincoat), to be worn as prescribed by the commanding officer. The metal pin-on corps device was to be worn on the outdoor uniform hat and on each side of the collar of the white indoor uniform.
Upon the advent of World War II members of the Navy Nurse Corps, having a definite part in the Navy mobilization program, were authorized to wear outdoor uniforms. Their regular pin-on corps device, that worn on the white indoor uniform, was to be worn on each lapel of the blue service coat and a miniature device worn on the left collar tip of the white uniform shirt when worn without a coat.
By Act of Congress approved July 3, 1942 the members of the Navy Nurse Corps were granted relative rank and by Act of February 26, 1944 they were given actual rank for the duration of the war and for six months thereafter, or until such earlier time as Congress or the President might designate. In consequence of the passage of the latter Act numerous changes were made in the uniform of navy nurses and promulgated by Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letter No. 377-44, dated December 15, 1944. Members of the Navy Nurse Corps were authorized to wear gold rank stripes and their corps device, made of gold embroidery or of yellow silk or rayon, on the sleeves of their blue service coat and on shoulder marks worn with white service coats, and the same cap device as that prescribed for male officers. Their corps insignia was changed to "A gold spread oak leaf surcharged with a silver acorn, superimposed on a gold anchor". This change eliminated the letters N.N.C. from the corps device and also reduced the size of the device. That embroidered on the sleeves was of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-5/8" long and 7/8" wide, while the pin-on device, of the same design, was approximately 5/8 of that size. The pin was to be of gold metal, except that the acorn was of silver, and was to be worn on the left collar tip of indoor white uniforms and white shirts when coat of white service dress uniform was removed.
In 1948 uniforms of all women of the naval service were standardized and new regulations were published as Change No. 3 to US Navy Uniform Regulations, 1947, dated October 21, 1948. By these regulations the corps device for officers of the Nurse Corps was changed to a single spread oak leaf similar to the Medical Corps device but without the acorn. That worn on both sleeves of the blue coat, ¼" above the sleeve stripes, was to be of reserve blue embroidery, inscribed in a rectangle 1-1/4" long and ¾" wide; that worn on the sleeves of the white coat was to be of yellow embroidery. The gold metal pin-on corps device, which was of the same design and approximately 5/8 of the size of that on the sleeves, was worn on the left collar tip of the white shirt (when coat was removed), blue shirt, gray dress, white indoor duty uniform and smock.
The latest uniform regulations, those published in 1951, denote no further changes in the design of the insignia for the Navy Nurse Corps, but the color of that worn on the sleeves of the blue coat was changed from reserve blue to gold, the same as prescribed for male commissioned officers.
Insignia of the Leader of the US Navy Band
Prior to 1935 there were no commissioned officers in the various "navy bands" attached to practically all naval shore stations and large ships. These bands were composed of enlisted men, the highest rating, bandmaster, being chief petty officer. By Act of Congress approved March 4, 1925 the navy band stationed at the Navy Yard, Washington, DC, was designated as the "United States Navy Band", and the leader of that band, by authority of this Act, was to received the "pay and allowances of a lieutenant in the Navy". However, it was not until June 7, 1935 that the Leader of the US Navy Band, Charles Benter, received the "rank" of lieutenant, which was conferred upon him by Act of Congress approved that date.
The musician's lyre had been the specialty mark of bandmasters and chief musicians since 1886 and upon the designation of the Leader of the US Navy Band as a lieutenant this same distinguishing mark was prescribed for him as a corps device. After the passage of Act of June 7, 1935, giving the Leader the rank of lieutenant in the Navy, the Department issued a change in uniform regulations, approved December 5, 1935, which prescribed that the Leader of the US Navy Band should wear the uniform of a lieutenant in the Navy (except for full dress uniform), with the exception that in lieu of the star on the sleeves of blue uniforms and on the shoulder marks of white uniforms he should wear a musician's lyre of gold color. His full dress uniform was the same as that for bandsmen, with a few exceptions - gold instead of scarlet trimming on his coat and trousers and two ½" gold or yellow silk stripes and corps device on his sleeves.
Act of June 7, 1935 applied only to the then leader of the Navy Band, Charles Benter, and when he was retired on January 1, 1942 the Band was without an officer of commissioned rank. On February 17, 1942 Charles Brendler, an enlisted man, was designated as Leader of the US Navy Band under provisions of Act of March 4, 1925, but he did not receive commissioned rank until April 1, 1943, when, in accordance with an Act approved July 24, 1941 providing for the temporary appointment or advancement of personnel of the Navy, he was appointed to the temporary rank of lieutenant. He was accordingly authorized to wear the uniform of a lieutenant and a gold lyre as a corps device. Mr. Brendler was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant-commander February 1, 1945.
In accordance with Uniform Regulations issued in 1947, and those of 1951, the Assistant Leader of the US Navy Band, the Leader and Assistant Leader of the US Naval Academy Band, and the Officer in Charge, US Navy School of Music, are also entitled to wear the gold lyre as a corps device.
Insignia of Warrant Officers
Although there have been warrant officers in the Navy since its establishment, no specific distinguishing marks or corps devices were prescribed for this class of officer until 1883. At that time there were only four grades of warrant officers authorized by law: boatswain, gunner, carpenter and sailmaker. Mates and clerks, according to subsequent legal opinions rendered, were not lawfully warrant officers, but they were regarded as such by the Navy Department and uniforms and distinguishing devices were prescribed for them along with the legally authorized warrant officers, and for the purpose of describing the evolution of corps devices for warrant officers they will be considered as such.
The status of mates was a most anomalous one. Prior to 1843 "master's mates" were recognized by law as warrant officers, or as "warranted master's mates", but shortly after that time they seem to have fallen into disuse and no further appointments were made, although the grade was not formally abolished and those who had been previously appointed continued to hold their offices. At the outbreak of the Civil War the Secretary of the Navy made temporary appointments to this grade, which were confirmed by Act of Congress of July 24, 1861. By Acts of March 17, 1864 and March 3, 1865 master's mates could be rated, under authority of the Secretary of the Navy, from seamen and ordinary seamen who had enlisted in the naval service for not less than two years. Their name was changed to that of "mate" by Act of March 3, 1865. US Navy Regulations for 1870 designated mates as "officers of the line", but Regulations of 1893, Art. 28 read "Mates are petty officers. They are rated from seamen or ordinary seamen by authority of the Secretary of the Navy. Mates have no relative rank, but they shall take precedence of all other petty officers and enlisted men and in their own grade according to the dates of their appointments."
After the Civil War the number of mates on the navy list gradually diminished until July 1, 1894 when there were only 27 remaining. By Act of Congress approved August 1, 1894 these mates were granted the same benefits of retirement as warrant officers. The last of these retired in 1899. In accordance with provisions of Act of March 3, 1899, amended by Act of June 29, 1906, such of these mates as had creditable Civil War service in accordance with the terms specified in said Act, were granted the rank and retired pay of warrant officers. By 1923 all of the mates on the retired list had died and "mate" ceased to exist as a warrant officer.
Mates appointed subsequent to the Act of August 1, 1894 were never classed as warrant officers on the retired list since they did not come within the provisions of this act. They were appointed under authority of Acts of May 17, 1864 and March 3, 1865, but not being on the Navy List at the time of passage of Act of August 1, 1894, there was no authority for their retirement with the rank and pay of warrant officers. They were eligible for retirement under the provisions of Section 17 of Act of March 3, 1899, which provided for the retirement of enlisted men and appointed petty officers after thirty years' service. In January 1907 there were 39 mates of this category carried on the active list of commissioned and warrant officers of the US Navy, but in consequence of a ruling of the Attorney General (26 Op.Atty. 319) these mates were transferred to the list of enlisted men. The only mates listed in the Navy Register for 1908 were those on the retired list who had been on the list of mates at the time of the passage of Act of Aug. 1, 1894.
With reference to the status of clerks, by Act of July 14, 1862 certain pay officers of the Navy were allowed clerks who were at first appointed by the pay officer with the approval of the officer in command, and later appointed by the Secretary of the Navy upon the nomination of pay officers. Act of June 24, 1910 provided "all paymaster's clerks shall, while holding appointment in accordance with law, received the same pay and allowances and have the same rights of retirement as warrant officers of like length of service in the Navy." In consequence of this act the Navy Register for January 1, 1911 carried the names of 17 paymaster's clerks on the retired list. The status of paymaster's clerks as warrant officers of the US Navy was definitely established by Act of March 3, 1915. This act, which changed the title of paymaster's clerk to pay clerk, provided that "pay clerks and acting pay clerks shall have the same pay, allowances, and other benefits as are now or may hereafter be allowed other warrant officers and acting warrant officers, respectively;" and that "all pay clerks shall after six years' service as such, be commissioned chief pay clerks and shall on promotion have the rank, pay, and allowances of chief boatswain."
Prior to the Civil War all boatswains, gunners, carpenters and sailmakers wore the same uniform with the same number and size of buttons on their coats, the same cap ornaments, etc. In 1864 an attempt was made to provide a means of identifying these four grades of warrant officers. The boatswain and gunner were allowed to wear a gold star, the distinguishing mark of line officers, above their cuffs. All were given shoulder straps of plain gold lace, the boatswain's to have the letter "B" and the carpenter's the letter "C" embroidered in silver thereon. The gunner's and sailmaker's shoulder straps were identical, without letters, but the gunner wore the gold star on his cuffs. Thus, while the boatswain and carpenter had a specific mark, the "B" and "C" on shoulder straps, which they alone wore, the other two warrant officers had no particular device which was worn only by their grade of officer. The uniform specified for the master's mate was somewhat different from those of warrant officers, being single breasted, with smaller buttons and without shoulder straps. He, however, was allowed to wear the gold star on his cuffs and the same cap device, a gold wreath composed of oak and olive branches. The uniform prescribed for the clerk was double breasted the same as warrant officers', but his buttons were smaller. He had no shoulder straps or star on his cuffs, but his cap device was the same.
By uniform circular of September 3, 1867 clerk's and mate's coats were changed to double breasted frock coats and they were allowed shoulder straps, clerk's to have a silver letter "C" on theirs (same as carpenter's), mate's, to be without a center device. Uniform regulations issued July 14, 1869 took the shoulder straps away from the warrant officers and in lieu thereof the boatswains and gunners were to wear a gold star embroidered on each side of the collar, similar to that worn on the sleeves, and the carpenters and sailmakers were to wear a diamond or lozenge, embroidered in gold, on each side of the collar. While shoulder straps were also taken from the mates and clerks, no device was specified for their collars. The cap device of all was changed - boatswains, gunners, carpenters and sailmakers were to wear on the front of their caps two gold embroidered anchors crossed; mates, a plain anchor, embroidered in gold; clerks, a foul anchor, with gold cord, same as midshipmen.
Uniform circular of October 8, 1880 specified that clerks to paymasters were to wear the same uniform as midshipmen, except that an oak sprig was to be substituted for the anchor, and the star omitted. The oak sprig was to be worn on each end of the collar and on the gold embroidered shoulder loops. However, this circular was revoked by US Navy Regulation No. 29 of September 1, 1881, and clerks continued to wear their old uniform.
When new uniform regulations were issued on January 22, 1883, all of the warrant officers were given specific corps devices for the first time, to be worn on the collars of frock and service coats. They were:
Boatswains, after twenty years' service as such, two foul anchors crossed, embroidered in silver. Boatswains, under twenty years' service as such, two foul anchors, crossed, embroidered in gold.
Gunners, after twenty years' service as such, a flaming spherical shell, embroidered in silver. Gunners, under twenty years' service as such, a flaming spherical shell, embroidered in gold.
Carpenters, after twenty years' service as such, a chevron, point down, embroidered in silver. Carpenters, under twenty years' service as such, a chevron, point down, embroidered in gold.
Sailmakers, after twenty years' service as such, a diamond, embroidered in silver. Sailmakers, under twenty years' service as such, a diamond, embroidered in gold.
Mates, after twenty years' service as such, a plain anchor, without cable, embroidered in silver. Mates, under twenty years' service as such, a plain anchor, without cable, embroidered in gold.
Pay clerks, the corps device of the Pay Corps (oak sprig), embroidered in gold.
The cap devices specified under the 1883 regulations were: warrant officers (boatswain, gunner, carpenter and sailmaker), 2 gold foul anchors crossed; mates, a plain vertical anchor vertical anchor embroidered in gold; pay clerks, a gold embroidered foul anchor, placed vertically. However, new uniform regulations issued in 1886 prescribed the same cap ornament, two gold foul anchors crossed, for all warrant officers, mates and pay clerks, and changed the corps device of mates as follows: After 20 years' service as such, a binocular glass, with the axes at right angles to the edge of the collar, eye-pieces up, embroidered in silver; under 20 years' service as such, same device embroidered in gold.
Under the provisions of Naval Appropriations Act approved May 4, 1898, seventeen warrant machinists were appointed from civil life for temporary service during the Spanish-American War, and on June 28, 1898 the Department prescribed for them a gold four bladed propeller as a corps device. The last of these were honorably discharged September 2, 1898. The next year the grade of warrant machinist was established in the regular Navy, as discussed below.
The warrant grade of pharmacist was authorized by Act of Congress approved June 17, 1898 and the grade of warrant machinist by Act of March 3, 1899. This latter act also provided that boatswains, gunners, carpenters and sailmakers would, after 10 years' service from date of warrant, be commissioned chief boatswains, chief gunners, chief carpenters and chief sailmakers, to rank with and after ensigns. (Amended by Act of April 27, 1904, providing for their promotion after 6 years from date of warrant, instead of 10 years.) Uniform regulations issued May 8, 1899 prescribed new corps devices for the recently established warrant grades, but the commissioned chief warrant officers retained the corps devices previously specified for warrant officers of the same branch having over 20 years' service. That prescribed for the machinist was four oak leaves, embroidered in gold, and for the pharmacist, a Geneva cross, embroidered in gold. By Addenda to Uniform Regulations No. 2, dated January 5, 1900, the machinist's corps device was changed to a three-bladed propeller, embroidered in gold, one blade vertical and pointing up.
Uniform Regulations issued June 6, 1901 prescribed for chief warrant officers the same cap device as for other commissioned officers, "a silver shield, emblazoned paleways, of 13 pieces, with a chief strewn with stars, surmounted by a silver spread eagle, the whole placed upon two crossed foul anchors in gold." The warrant officers retained the two gold foul anchors, crossed, as a cap device.
In 1908 changes in uniform regulations were issued which specified that chief boatswains and chief gunners should have a small gold star and boatswains and gunners a small silver star surcharged on their corps devices worn on shoulder marks. The other chief warrant and warrant officers, mates, and clerks had their corps devices on their shoulder marks, but without the star.
Act of March 3, 1909 change the title of "warrant machinists" to "machinists" and provided for their promotion, after 6 years from date of warrant, to commissioned chief machinists, to rank with but after ensigns. No machinist was to be promoted until he had passed such examination before a board as the Secretary of the Navy might prescribe. The chief machinists' corps device was of the same design as that of machinists', a three-bladed propeller, but it was silver instead of gold. An amendment to Art. 28, Para. (3), of the US Navy Regulations of 1909, approved in December 1909, classified chief machinists and machinists as line officers of the Navy. In consequence of this action the star of the line was placed on their sleeves.
By Act of Congress approved August 22, 1912 pharmacists were, after 6 years from date of warrant, to be commissioned as chief pharmacists. The corps device for pharmacists was changed by Uniform Regulations of 1913 from the Geneva cross to a caduceus, embroidered in gold, and that prescribed for the new grade of chief pharmacists was the same design embroidered in silver.
Uniform regulations issued in 1913 prescribed that all chief warrant and warrant officers of the line (chief boatswain, chief gunner, chief machinist, boatswain, gunner and machinist) should have a star, gold for chief warrant officers and silver for warrant officers, surcharged on their corps devices worn on the collar of frock and blue service coats and on shoulder marks worn with white service coats and overcoats. The devices of other chief warrant and warrant officers (except chief pharmacists and pharmacists as noted above), mates and clerks remained unchanged.
Act of Congress approved March 3, 1915, changing the title of paymaster's clerk to "pay clerk", created the grade of chief pay clerk and on March 11th the Department specified that officers of the new grade should wear the same corps device as pay clerks - "Pay Corps device (an oak sprig composed of three leaves and three acorns), embroidered in gold."
General Order 418, dated August 27, 1918, directed that "the uniform of any given rank or rating in the Navy shall hereafter be identical in every respect throughout except for the necessary distinguishing corps devices". Zealous efforts were made in the next few years to carry out this order. By Change in Uniform Regulations No. 25, dated November 16, 1918 (not effective until July 1, 1921), all staff officers were authorized to wear their corps devices on their sleeves, in lieu of the star worn by line officers. Chief carpenters, chief sailmakers, chief pay clerks, chief pharmacists, carpenters, sailmakers, pay clerks and pharmacists, having been designated as staff officers, were to have their corps devices, embroidered in gold and reduced in size, on the sleeves of their frock and service coats - the chief warrant officers' to be ¼" above their lace stripe and the warrant officers' to be 4" from the edge of their sleeves, they having no stripe.
By Change No. 28, dated November 13, 1919 (effective June 30, 1921), the corps devices for a chief warrant officer and a warrant officer within the same branch were made identical. While there was no change in the design of the corps devices, except that of chief pay clerk and pay clerk, all of them were to be embroidered in gold and those of the line officers were surcharged with a silver star. It was directed that the chief pay clerk and pay clerk wear the same device prescribed for supply officers without the acorns, embroidered in gold, leaving them with a sprig composed of just three oak leaves. The difference in grade of these officers was denoted by the rank marks on their sleeves - chief warrant officers having one stripe of ½" lace and warrant officers, one stripe of ¼" lace. Mates wore only their device, a pair of binoculars embroidered in gold, on their sleeves, not being permitted to wear any lace. By this change corps devices were omitted from coat collars; they were to be worn on the sleeves of frock and blue service coats and on shoulder marks worn with white service coats and overcoats.
In 1922 completely revised uniform regulations were published which specified the following corps devices for chief warrant and warrant officers, to be of gold embroidery and to be worn on the sleeves of frock and blue service coats and on shoulder straps worn with white service coat and overcoat:
Chief boatswains and boatswains - Two crossed gold foul anchors, crowns downward.
Chief gunners and gunners - Flaming spherical gold shell, flame upward.
Chief machinists and machinists - A three-bladed gold propeller, one blade point upward.
Chief carpenters and carpenters - A carpenter's square, point down.
Chief sailmakers and sailmakers - A gold lozenge, or diamond, major axis in the horizontal.
Chief pharmacists and pharmacists - A gold caduceus, point downward.
Chief pay clerks and pay clerks - The similar device as for the Supply Corps (a sprig of three oak leaves and three acorns), but without the acorns, of gold.
Mates - A pair of gold binoculars, small end upward, 2 ½ inches above the cuff line.
The rank of an officer was indicated by the stripe on his sleeves and shoulder marks and the markings on his cap. The cap ornament for chief warrant officers was the same as for other commissioned officers, an embroidered device consisting of two crossed foul anchors in fold, with silver shield and spread eagle superimposed, and that for warrant officers was two crossed embroidered gold foul anchors, but without the shield and eagle. The chin strap of the former was made of ½" and that of the latter of ¼" gold lace. The stripe on the sleeves and shoulder straps of chief warrant and warrant officers was of gold lace woven at intervals of 2" with dark blue silk thread in widths of ½" - the chief having one ½" stripe and the warrant officers having one ¼" stripe.
Section 12 of the Naval Omnibus Act approved March 4, 1925 established the commissioned warrant grades of chief electrician and chief radio electrician, and the warrant grades of electrician and radio electrician. Corps devices were prescribed for these new grades by Change No. 2 to Uniform Regulations of 1922, dated October 7, 1925. Chief electricians and electricians were to wear "A globe, similar device as for electrician's mates", and chief radio electricians and radio electricians were to wear "The device prescribed for radiomen", which was a device consisting of four zigzag rays of lightning. These were to be made of gold embroidery or "yellow silk lace of approved shade and pattern as per standard sample" in accordance with Change No. 1 approved November 12, 1924.
At the outbreak of World War II there were 8 commissioned warrant grades and 8 warrant grades on the Navy List. The grade of mate had become obsolete in 1923, as explained on [earlier], and the grades of chief sailmaker and sailmaker were gradually eliminated from the list, since, for obvious reasons, sailmakers ceased to have importance in the Navy. No appointments were made to the grade of sailmakers after 1888 and by January 1, 1918 there was only one sailmaker on the retired list of the Navy, none on the active list, one chief sailmaker on the active list and five on the retired list. When the last of these died in 1933 the grades of chief sailmaker and sailmaker became obsolete.
With the enormous expansion in the personnel strength of the Navy due to the advent of World War II, it was felt that a further breakdown of warrant grades was necessary. Accordingly the following new grades were established by Act of Congress approved July 28, 1942: Chief ship's clerk and ship's clerk, chief aerographer and aerographer, chief photographer and photographer, chief torpedoman and torpedoman. By Bureau of Navigation Circular Letter No. 168-42, dated August 10, 1942, it was directed that the new grades should have corps devices, in gold, of the same design as the distinguishing marks for the enlisted ratings of yeoman, aerographer, photographer and torpedoman. Thus, the corps device of chief ship's clerk and ship's clerk was two gold crossed quill pens; that of chief aerographer and aerographer, a gold device consisting of wings with a circle in the center and an arrow passing through center of circle, with ½ of circle filled in; that of chief photographer and photographer, a gold camera; and that of chief torpedoman and torpedoman, a gold torpedo.
By Act of Congress approved August 4, 1947 the names "Chief Pharmacists" and "Pharmacists" were abolished and officers of those grades were thereafter referred to as "Chief Warrant Officers, Hospital Corps" and "Warrant Officers, Hospital Corps".
Up to 1951 there had been no other new chief warrant or warrant grades added to the list of regular officers of the US Navy, and there had been no further changes in the design of their corps insignia. However, there was some variation in the size, materials and color of the devices, depending upon where worn on the uniform. The corps device on the shoulder marks worn with the gray working uniform could be either gold, with gold stripes, or black, with black stripes. The pin-on device, worn on the collar of aviation winter, khaki and gray working, and tropical shirts, and on the garrison cap, was approximately 5/8 the size of that used in marking the sleeves of the blue service uniform - the Chief warrant officers' to be made of silver, silver plate, or white metal, and the warrant officers' to be of rolled gold, gold plate or gilt. Effective July 1, 1952 chief warrant and warrant officers, instead of having their corps device on both sides of their shirt collars, in silver and gold respectively, were to wear their rank device on the right collar and their corps device, in gold, on the left collar.
The latest uniform regulations, issued in 1951, give the following descriptions of the corps insignia worn on the sleeves of chief warrant officers and warrant officers:
"Line or Corps Devices. - Shall be embroidered devices of the size and description indicated in the following articles; gold for wear on blue coats and black silk (or suitable alternate fiber) for wear on the coat of the aviation winter working uniform. The devices shall be worn on the outer face of the sleeve, centered midway between front and rear creases and ¼" above the uppermost sleeve stripe.
"Commissioned Warrant and Warrant Officers.
"(1) Chief Boatswain and Boatswain. - Two crossed foul anchors, embroidered in gold; of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-1/4" wide and 1-1/8" high. Shall be placed on the sleeve with crowns down and parallel to upper edge of stripe.
"(2) Chief Gunner and Gunner. - A flaming spherical shell, embroidered in gold; diameter of shell ½", maximum width of flame 15/16", maximum height of flame, above shell ¾". Shall be placed on the sleeve, flame upward.
"(3) Chief Torpedoman and Torpedoman. - A torpedo, embroidered in gold; to be 1-7/16" long and 3/8" wide at widest part. Shall be placed on the sleeve with torpedo parallel to upper edge of stripe, warhead to the front (Rights and Lefts).
"(4) Chief Electrician and Electrician. - A globe, embroidered in gold, of a size to be inscribed in a circle 1" in diameter. Surcharged on the globe shall be five lines of jaceron representing lines of latitude and five lines of frieze representing lines of longitude. Shall be placed on the sleeve with vertical line perpendicular to stripe.
"(5) Chief Radio Electrician and Radio Electrician.- Four zig-zag rays of lightning, embroidered in gold, of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-1/4" long and ¾" wide. Shall be placed on the sleeve with the longer dimension of the circumscribing rectangle parallel to the stripe, narrow end of device to the front (Rights and Lefts).
"(6) Chief Machinist and Machinist. - A three-bladed propeller, embroidered in gold; of a size to be inscribed in a circle 1-1/8" in diameter; outer diameter of hub to be ½", inner diameter of hub ¼". Shall be placed on the sleeve with two blades down, lower edges parallel with stripe.
"(7) Chief Carpenter and Carpenter. - A carpenter's square, embroidered in gold; each arm to be 7/8" long and 3/8" wide. Shall be placed on the sleeve, point down, and with arm inscribed with measurement lines to the front (Rights and Lefts).
"(8) Chief Ship's Clerk and Ship's Clerk. - Two crossed quill pens, embroidered in gold; of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-1/8" wide and 1" high. Shall be placed on the sleeve with the points down and parallel to stripe.
"(9) Chief Aerographer and Aerographer. - A device, embroidered in gold, consisting of a winged circle with a six-feather arrow passing vertically through the circle. The wings shall be 1-1/2" wide between tips; the arrow shall be 7/8" long; three lines on each side of arrow, simulating feathers, shall be 1/8" long; diameter of circle shall be 5/16", one half to be filled in. Shall be placed on the sleeve, arrow pointing down and perpendicular to stripe, filled in half of circle to the front (Rights and Lefts).
"(10) Chief Photographer and Photographer. - A camera, embroidered in gold, bellows extended; to be 1-1/8" long and 13/16" high at highest part. Shall be placed on the sleeve in an up-right position, bottom parallel to stripe and lens aperture to the front (Rights and Lefts).
"(11) Commissioned Warrant and Warrant Officer, Hospital Corps. - A caduceus, embroidered in gold; length of staff to be 1-1/4", width between wing tips 1-5/16". Shall be placed on the sleeve with staff perpendicular to stripe.
"(12) Chief Pay Clerk and Pay Clerk. - A sprig of three oak leaves, embroidered in gold; leaves to be distinctly and separately outlined, except where brought together at the stem of the sprig. To be of a size to be inscribed in a rectangle 1-1/4" long and ¾" wide. Shall be placed on the sleeve with the longer dimension of the circumscribing rectangle parallel to the upper stripe, stem to the front (Rights and Lefts)."
Source: Garrett, Fay A. History of the Insignia of the Staff Corps of the United States Navy. Unpublished typescript cataloged in the Navy Department Library (1958).
By Mel Jones
WASHINGTON-The Navy's senior and master chiefs will soon be wearing stars on their hard hats and overseas caps, while all other petty officers will have grade insignia pins for their working caps.
Those were two of four types of insignia approved by the latest meeting of the Uniform Board and okayed by the CNO. The new insignia devices are shown below, with those for the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, master chief and senior chief at left, and the working-cap device for petty officers at right. The latter is shown for a first class petty officer; the others will be similar with fewer rockers below the crow.
Other changes okayed were:
1.An identifying design for explosive ordnance disposal warrant officers.
2.Academic achievement starts for notably proficient collegians enrolled in various officer candidate programs.
Faced with a spiraling number of requests for new insignia, particularly breast pin-ons, the board also agreed on a set of guidelines it will follow in okaying uniform devices. Details of this new policy will be in next week's issue.
The new super-CPO cap grading is a composite of existing collar and hat devices. Retained is the present size and design of the cap insignia, but to it will be added stars arranged like the collar pin-on. Senior CPOs will have a silver star centered in the stock of the anchor and master CPOs two stars, atop the stock.
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy will have three stars crowning the anchor, for as long as he holds office.
Board officials predict the new cap devices will be available in exchanges "as soon as managers start ordering them."
Other petty officers will have their own cap chevrons and for the same reason super-CPOs got theirs - to be able to distinguish rank when coats or jackets are worn.
There's a lesser reason, but you won't find it printed in directives. Petty officers have worn "port-call-made" cap insignia wherever and whenever commanders have condoned them. The new device merely standardizes the practice.
A silver replica of the sleeve chevron, the pin-on will be optional with the present dungarees and required when the new work cap comes into being.
Source: Jones, Mel. "New Cap Devices Okayed."Navy Times. 18 (22 January 1969): 1, 50.
In response to your recent inquiry, the ornamentation of cap visors for naval officers of the rank of commander and above was first authorized on 20 November 1878. Before the directive could be implemented, however, it was cancelled without explanation. It was not until 12 June 1897 that an order was issued finally bringing the change into effect. Gold-embroidered oak-leaves and acorns had first been adopted by the American Navy in 1830 as an embellishment for other features of officers' uniforms; it is not surprising, therefore, that the same design elements were extended to the visors once the decision had been made to decorate them. The fact that the British Navy had sanctioned gold oak-leaf embroidery for the visors of caps of executive officers of the rank of commander and above as early as 1860 may also have been a determining factor. The oak-leaf and acorn were used prior to the nineteenth century in decorating British and other European military uniforms, and can be traced to heraldic devices of an early period.
As to why a decision was made to decorate the visor, we can probably best quote from Rear Admiral A.S. Crowinshield, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, who made the following statement in recommending other embellishments of the naval officer's uniform in 1897: "One of the main objects of the uniform is lost if the rank of the person wearing it can not be readily distinguished. Discipline in the military and naval service depends largely upon respect obtained for the officers in such service and nothing conduces to a more proper observance of such respect than instant recognition of the rank of the officer."
I trust the foregoing information will prove useful to you.
Navy Department Library
Orig: B. Lynch
Typed by C. Tillery
*see US Naval Institute Proceedings, April 1932, p. 526 [handwritten on the bottom of the page]
Source: Kalkus, Stanley [Director, Navy Department Library]. Correspondence, dated 3 June 1983.
Captain W. need not be chagrined at the fact that he is unable to answer the question:
"Why do the stars on the naval officer's sleeve have two points up when the US flag, commission pennant, etc., have only one point up?"
The Navy Department Library has been asked this question several times with no answer found. The Permanent Uniform Board cannot clarify the matter. They have had 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 that an ALNAV of 1945 specifies that awards 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 US Ensign. The Permanent Uniform Board did not consider changing the line officer's star.
As far as we know there is no heraldric meaning to the number of star points up or down.
/signed/ F Meigs
Source: Meigs, Fred. Correspondence, concerning star points, dated June 18, 1970.
Naval Aviation in World War I: The Origin of Navy Wings
"A Naval Aviator's device, a winged foul anchor with the letters 'U.S.,' is hereby adopted to be worn by qualified Naval Aviators. This device will be issued by the Bureau of Navigation to Officers and Men of the Navy and Marine Corps who qualify as Naval Aviators, and will be worn on the left breast." So stated Change 12 to Uniform Regulations approved by the Secretary of the Navy on September 7, 1917. A second change, approved Oct. 12, 1917, removed the letters "U.S." from the design and Navy Wings became a part of the uniform. The official act of adoption is clear; much of what led to it is not.
It appears likely that need for a distinguishing mark was voiced by the aviators themselves, particularly after Army aviators began wearing "badges" in 1913. But it also appears that outside influence provided some of the initial impetus. A letter, dated June 29, 1917, from the G.F. Hemsley Co., stating that the sender "takes the liberty" of forwarding a design for an aviation cap and collar ornament, may well have started official action. In forwarding it to the Bureau of Navigation, the Chief of Naval Operations rejected the ornament but went on to say that since foreign countries and the US Army had adopted an aviation device, Naval Aviators also should be given "some form of mark or badge to indicate their qualification, in order that they may have standing with other aviation services." The letter, which had been prepared in the Aviation Section and in which LCdr. John H. Towers had a hand, enclosed a design for wings as representative of what was wanted.
From this date the subject was kept very much alive by the exchange of correspondence with a number of firms interested in producing the wings. Bailey, Banks and Biddle of Philadelphia was one of them. By October that company seems to have taken the lead over its competitors and on the 24 submitted its first sample pin. In early November it submitted other samples and was ready to make "prompt delivery of such number of devices as you may desire."
The design passed through a number of changes. Bronze, the first metal proposed, was quickly rejected in favor of a gold and silver combination which in turn was changed to all silver and finally, in October, the decision was for all gold. Size changed from over three inches to the final of two and three-quarters. Stars on the shield were proposed and rejected as violating the laws of heraldry.
Lt. Henry Reuterdahl, later assigned as an artist to record the NC trans-Atlantic flight, played an important part in design development. In a letter of September 28th, he recommended simplifying the wings by bolder chasing and a reduction in the number of feathers, noting that "most naval ornaments are too fine and not broad enough in character." He also recommended changes in the anchor and rope and the introduction of a slight curve to conform to the shape of the body. He summarized his remarks by saying, "My idea has been to reduce all corners so that there will be no points which might catch in the clothing."
On the final decision to place an order, the record is obscure but it may have been a BUNAV letter to the Supply Officer dated November 21, 1917, selecting "the higher priced pin" (the price was $1.15 each). The company was not named. That it was Bailey, Banks and Biddle, however, seems fairly certain. Its letter to BUNAV dated December 19 confirms a telegram quoted in part as "balance aviator insignia shipped tomorrow."
That the first pins were delivered in this month is also confirmed in a December 26 letter from BUNAV to Pensacola, reporting that the new pins had been received and "will be sent out as soon as they can be engraved to show the Aviator's number, his name and branch of service."
Engraving the aviator's number posed a problem, however, that was solved only by preparation of an aviators' precedence list, covering numbers 1 through 282, by the Aviation Section of CNO. Thus, wings were responsible for the first precedence list and, in addition, were a factor in the later assignment of fractional numbers to many aviators omitted from this first compilation. When forwarded to BUNACV on January 19, 1918, distribution of the first wings could begin. It seems likely that Towers, as Senior Naval Aviator in Washington at the time, was an early, if not the earliest, recipient.
After almost eight years of Naval Aviation and nine months of war, Naval Aviators had wings - a badge of qualification that would set them apart from all men.
Source: "Naval Aviation in World War I: The Origin of Navy Wings." Naval Aviation News. (February 1968): 18.
Origin of Navy Pilot Wings: Adm. Towers Recalls Artist-Designer
Do you know where the Navy got the design for the gold wings which adorn the breasts of its aviators?
Considerable research into musty aviation histories failed to divulge any information as to who the artist was.
The Navy's No. 1 living aviator today, Admiral John H. Towers (Ret.) recently gave his recollections as to how they came to be:
"When I returned to Washington from London in the autumn of 1916 and took over the aviation desk in Operations, one of my first recommendations was that US naval aviators be authorized to wear an insigne.
"This recommendation was approved and I was directed to submit a design. I asked Henry Reuterdall, the well-known civilian Marine artist, to help me. He presented several designs and I selected what I considered the best one and sent it to Bailey, Banks and Biddle of Philadelphia for comment as to feasibility of manufacture.
"They submitted certain modifications which were accepted and the modified design was officially approved. I still have a pair of those early wings produced in gold and the only difference between them and the present wings is that the early ones are a little smaller. Embroidered wings were not approved until some years later."
Source: "Origin of Navy Pilot Wings: Adm. Towers Recalls Artist-Designer." Naval Aviation News. (August 1948): 21.
1. TO: Navy Department Library, ATTN: Mr. Fred Meigs
REMARKS: Information Regarding Right Arm Rates follows:
Right arm rates signified men of the Seaman Branch. The following rates comprised the Seaman Branch during Wrold War II period: Boatswain Mate, Turret Captain, Signalman, Gunner's Mate, Fire Controlman, Quartermaster, Mineman and Torpedoman's Mate. Right arm rates were disestablished 2 April 1949. Since 80% of authorized rating badges had been worn on the left sleeve since 1913, the change merely standardized the wearing of rating marks for all ratings in the most practical and economical manner.
/signed/ Trudy Smith
FROM: Navy Uniform Board (Pers-18a)
Source: Smith, Trudy. "Right Arm Rates." Memo to Fred Meigs, Navy Department Library, dated August 11, 1976.
Uniforms and Insignia: Engineering and Construction Corps United States Navy
By Capt. James C. Tily, (CEC) USN
This history of the United States Navy has been written not only by the officers and men who manned and fought her ships, but also by those who designed and built them. Although the devices of the Engineering and Construction Corps are no longer worn by officers on active duty, the part that these two corps of specialists played in the development of the Fleet will always be remembered. The functions of the former Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of Engineering are now being continued by the Bureau of Ships.
When the National Government was organized in 1789, there were no vessels of war and no Navy. Such maritime matters as arose were under the administration of the Secretary of War. Although the Federal Government desired to consolidate its position at home and to avoid involvement in matters abroad, the actions of the Mediterranean pirates in capturing American ships and enslaving their crews indicated the need for a naval force to protect our shipping and to uphold the honor of the infant republic.
An act of Congress, approved on 27 March 1794 to "Provide a Naval Armament," authorized the procurement or construction of six frigates. The act included language indicative of the desire to avoid the creation of a permanent Navy: "… if peace shall take place between the United States and the Regency of Algiers, that no further proceeding be had under this act."
When it was determined that the frigates would be built by the Government, the Secretary of War procured the use of private shipbuilding sites and employed civilian naval constructors to build the vessels. The sites, the ships, and the constructors were as follows1:
Portsmouth, N.H. Congress, 36 guns. James Hackett.
Boston. Constitution, 44 guns. George Claghorne.
New York. President, 44 guns. Forman Cheeseman.
Philadelphia. United States, 44 guns. Joshua Humphreys.
Baltimore. Constellation, 36 guns. David Stodder.
Gosport (Norfolk). Chesapeake, 44 guns. Josiah Fox.
In addition to his duties as constructor in charge of the building of the United States, Joshua Humphreys was also designated "Principal Constructor for the Navy."2
Before any appreciable work was accomplished on the frigates, the Treaty with Algiers was signed on 5 September 1795. The keels had been laid for all six vessels, and construction of the Constitution, the United States, and the Constellation had made some progress.
The treaty with Algiers did not include Tunis or Tripoli, so conditions in the Mediterranean were still unsettled. To complicate the maritime picture further, our relations with France under the Directory were anything but friendly, and American vessels were being captured. Public sentiment was aroused and, by an act of 20 April 1796, Congress authorized the completion of the three vessels started under the 1794 act. Any material not required for the three frigates was to be sold, and supplies of other materials held for future use. The three vessels were launched between May and October, 1797.
As the foreign situation worsened, it became evident that a better administration of naval affairs was required, as well as a stronger Navy. An act of Congress of 27 April 1798 authorized the construction, purchase, or hire of 12 additional vessels, not to exceed 22 guns each; and, by an act of Congress of 30 April 1798, the Navy Department was created. The appointment as Secretary was offered to George Cabot, who declined; so Benjamin Stoddert became the first Secretary of the Nay, with Joshua Humphreys as his principal assistant.3
The 1800 Navy
By 1800 the Navy consisted of 53 vessels, some built by the Government, others purchased, and still others built and donated by private citizens.4 To support this growing fleet, tracts of live oak were secured to provide materials for shipbuilding; the manufacturing of materials and supplies for the building, repair, and maintenance of vessels was encouraged; and six Navy yards were established at the locations selected for the original construction program of 1794, except that the site of the new capital, Washington, was substituted for Baltimore.
During the Jefferson administration, 1801-1809, the only active yards were Boston and Washington. Emphasis was placed on the construction of gunboats for harbor defense, for the policy was one of isolation. Although the Navy won high praise for operations against Algiers, its strength was permitted to decline, so that the Navy was woefully weak when war with England broke out in 1812.
The 1812-1815 period saw shipbuilding expand greatly, for this war was fought primarily at sea. The ships built by civilian naval constructors on the eastern seaboard, and on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, were to a large measure responsible for the successful conclusion of the war. The experiences of a sea war had pointed up the inadequacy of the small organization available to the Secretary of the Navy. By an act of Congress, approved 7 February 1815, the Board of Naval Commissioners was established, consisting of the three senior captains of the Navy, to act as advisors to the Secretary.
It was during the War of 1812 that the first steam vessel of the United States Navy was authorized. Congress, by an act of 9 March 1814, authorized the construction of one or more floating batteries for the defense of the harbors of the United States. Under this authority, the first steam vessel of war of any country was designed and built by Robert Fulton. The Demologos, or Fulton, was not completed until it was too late for use under wartime conditions. After tests, the Demologos was moored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and was used as a receiving ship until here destruction by a magazine explosion on 4 June 1829. Since the Demologos was not used as a cruising vessel, Navy personnel did not operate the boilers or machinery. The machinery was operated briefly prior to here berthing at Brooklyn, by the employees of the builder's works.5
The next steam vessel of the Navy was the 100-ton galliot, Sea Gull, which was purchased in New York and used as a dispatch boat in the campaign against piracy in the West Indies in 1823-1825. No record shoes the names of Navy personnel in charge of her machinery; so it is assumed that the same engineering crew who had operated her before purchase operated the machinery until she was laid up in 1825.6
Steam for the Navy
Although steam as a means of propulsion had been accepted for merchant ships, the Navy was apparently convinced that it was a passing fancy and that sails and wind were the proper means of propelling men-of-war. However, the Secretary of the Navy, by a letter of 26 June 1835, called the attention of the Board of Navy Commissioners to an act of Congress 26 April 1816, which provided funds for the construction of steam batteries, and directed the Commissioners to proceed with the construction of a steamer.7
While the Board felt competent to proceed with the hull of the vessel, they advised that they were not qualified to arrange for the procurement of the machinery and requested authority to employ an engineer. Mr. C. H. Haswell, who had experience in the steam engineering field, was employed in February 1836 to prepare plans for the machinery. On 12 July 1836, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Fulton, the second ship of that name. Mr. Haswell became the first person to hold the position of steam engineer in the Navy.8
The Fulton was launched on 18 May 1837, and on 1 September 1837, Captain Matthew C. Perry was placed in command. The choice of Captain Perry to command the vessel, which was to become the first seagoing steam man-of-war of the Navy, was an excellent one. He foresaw the role that steam propulsion would play and appreciated the value and need for engineers. He demanded of his line officers vision broad enough to accept the new order of things. An order of 31 October 1837 authorized the appointment of assistant engineers and the recruitment of firemen and coal passers. Whether the "sailing" Navy liked it or not, engineers had become part of the Navy.
To identify the new class of seagoing personnel, the Secretary of the Navy on 21 November 1837, in reply to a letter from Captain Perry, authorized him to prescribe a uniform for engineers. The Perry uniform was based on the current uniform regulations, those covered by the "Naval General Order" of 1 May 1830. While the dress uniform of sea officers, surgeons, and pursers was a double-breasted blue coat with a standing collar, the engineers' coat was patterned on the undress double-breasted coat with a rolling collar. The collar was specified to be of black velvet, which also had been specified for the collars of undress coats of surgeons. The balance of the uniform was like that of other officers; only chief engineers, however, were authorized to wear cocked hats and gold bands 1 ½ inches wide on their blue cloth caps. Other engineers wore the blue cap, without the lace band, for both dress and undress.9
In order to identify the various grades of engineers, a chief engineer wore a gold embroidered, five-pointed star 1 ½ inches in diameter on each end of the collar; a first assistant, two silver stars; a second assistant, a silver star on the right side of the collar only; and a third assistant, one on the left side. All engineers wore three large Navy buttons around the tops of their cuffs.10
The uniform regulation of 1841 made no provisions for the dress of engineers, for officially they were not officers of the Navy.11 The 1841 regulations contained the same undress coat as the previous order, so the uniform of engineers undoubtedly was carried forward as designed by Captain Perry. However, a portrait of an engineer shows the collar to be of the same blue cloth as the coat.12 The 1841 regulations had removed the velvet from the surgeons' collars.
In February 1842, the Secretary of the Navy reported to Congress that there was no authority to secure the services of engineers, stating: "…they can be employed only under some other name. Their pay is unascertained and dependent on private contract, and their rank in the service and position in the ship are equally undetermined."13 By an act of Congress dated 31 August 1842, the creation of an Engineer Corps was authorized, with a "skilful (sic) and scientific officer" as chief at $3000 a year. The act also authorized the Secretary of the Navy to prescribe a uniform for engineers.
The present bureau system of technical management of the Departments of the Navy was authorized by an act of Congress of 31 August 1842. The expansion of the United States, a corresponding growth of the Navy, and the growing importance of steam for propulsion required a better system of management and technical responsibility. Five bureaus were created: Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks; Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair; Bureau of Provisions and Clothing; Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography; and the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Each bureau was under a chief, who was responsible to the Secretary of the Navy.
The act specified that the Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair was to be "a skilful naval constructor." However, this instruction was ignored, the first chief of this bureau being a Navy line captain. Congress reiterated the requirement in an act of 3 March 1853, and the first civilian naval constructor to be chief of the Bureau was Samuel Hartt.14
The first official publication which included uniforms for engineers was the "Regulation for Uniform and Dress of the Navy of the United States" approved 8 March 1852, effective 4 July 1852. It would appear that engineers were tolerated but not accepted, for while line officers, surgeons, and pursers wore double-breasted full-dress coats with standing collars, engineers were given a single-breasted coat with but one row of nine buttons! Other civil officers, chaplains, professors, secretaries, and clerks also had single-breasted coats, with varying numbers of buttons.
As a device, all engineers wore on each side of the collar a wheel embroidered in gold, with a silver anchor in front of it and a wreath of oak leaves and acorns. The classes of engineers were indicated by the buttons around the cuffs: Chief engineers had three large Navy buttons around the upper edge and three small ones in the openings; first assistants, three medium size buttons; second and third assistants, no buttons around the cuffs. Only chief engineers were entitled to wear epaulets, which were of gold bullion, the strap being of silver with an old English "E" embroidered on it in gold. Chief and first assistant engineers were authorized to wear black cocked hats with a loop of four gold bullions over the cockade.
When in full dress, other engineers wore the blue cloth undress cap. The cap device for all engineers was the wheel and anchor of the collar of the full dress coat placed in a wreath of olive and oak branches above a band of gold lace 1 inch wide.
For undress, engineers had a single-breasted blue coat with a rolling collar and no collar insignia. The rank of engineers was shown by the same button arrangement on the cuffs as on the full dress coat. Only a chief engineer was permitted to wear shoulder straps on his undress coat. They were 4 inches long and 1 3/8 inches wide, bordered with ¼-inch embroidery in gold with the old English "E" in the center. Chief and first assistant engineers could wear either caps or cocked hats in undress, while other engineers wore the cap.
Cocked Hats for Engineers
By an order of 1 January 1853, second and third assistant engineers were authorized to wear cocked hats, and first assistants were given gold lace shoulder straps 4 inches long and ½ inch wide bordered with gold beading 1/8 inch wide. The straps for second assistants were the same size, but of blue cloth edged with 1/8-inch gold cord.
A General Order of January 1859 conferred relative rank on engineers; chief engineers of more than 12 years' service ranked with commanders; chief engineers of less than 12 years', with lieutenants; first assistants, next after lieutenants; second assistants, next after masters, and third assistants with midshipmen. This action of the Secretary of the Navy was confirmed by an act of Congress of 3 March 1859.
A regulation of 8 February 1861 brought the uniform of engineers more closely into conformance with that of line officers. Coats were made double-breasted, and chief engineers were instructed to wear on their cuffs the same number of stripes of gold lace as worn by those officers with whom they had assimilated rank, dispensing with the large buttons. Chief engineers of over 12 years' service wore two ¾-inch wide stripes and those under 12 years, one stripe. The letter "E" was removed from the epaulets and shoulder straps of chief engineers, and the collar device was removed from the full dress coat of all engineers.
All engineers were permitted to wear an embroidered edging, gold, ½ inch wide, around the top and down the front of their standing collars. The wheel and anchor device was removed from the wreath of the cap and replaced by a cross of four live oak leaves in silver. Although the order did not mention a device for epaulets and shoulder straps to replace the "E", a copy of the regulations of 1852 in the Navy Department Library has a correction sheet pasted in showing the strap of a chief engineer of over 12 years' service with the oak leaf cross in the center and an acorn at either end, similar to those worn by senior surgeons. The strap of a chief engineer of less than 12 years' service had the cross of oak leaves in the center and no end devices. It is also indicated that the cap device was modified to include the cross of four live oak leaves.
The growing recognition that steam, not sail, was to be the source of propulsion and the tremendous expansion of the Navy required for the Civil War indicated an immediate need for the reorganization of the Navy Department. Congress, by an act approved 5 July 1862, provided for the expansion of the bureau system of management of the Navy Department by increasing the number of bureaus to eight. The functions of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair were distributed among the new Bureaus of Equipment and Recruiting, Construction and Repair, and the Bureau of Steam Engineering. A Bureau of Navigation was added to make up the eight.
The first Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering was Chief Engineer Benjamin F. Isherwood, who had been Engineer-in-Chief since 1861 and who, in large measure, had been instrumental in directing the transition from sail to steam under the former Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair.
Uniform of 1862
The uniform regulations, issued in a General Order of 31 July 1862, abolished the full-dress coat of all officers and specified that the undress frock coat would be used with epaulets and cocked hat for full dress; with cap and with or without epaulets and cocked hat for undress; and with cap and shoulder marks for service dress. The cuffs were closed and plain, and all officers wore stripes of gold lace on their sleeves to designate rank or assimilated rank. Staff officers were ordered to wear the epaulets, shoulder straps, and cap devices as prescribed prior to 1862. Chief engineers of more than 12 years' service, ranking with commanders, wore two ¾-inch wide gold lace stripes on their sleeves, ¾ inch apart with a stripe of ¼-inch lace between them; chief engineers of less than 12 years' service, ranking with lieutenants, wore a stripe of ¾-inch lace ¼-inch lace 1/4 inch above it; first assistants, who ranked next after lieutenants and actually with masters, one stripe of 3/4 -inch gold lace; second assistants, ranking after masters and actually with ensigns, a single ¼-inch stripe; with third assistants, who ranked with midshipmen, had no sleeve lace and wore medium-sized buttons on their coats in lieu of the large buttons of more senior officers.
By a General Order of 13 March 1863, the relative rank of staff officers was increased and, in addition, naval constructors, chaplains, professors of mathematics, secretaries, and clerks were given relative rank. The relative rank established for engineers was as follows:
Fleet Engineers to rank with Captains.
Chief Engineers, after 15 years since date of commission, to rank with Captains.
Chief Engineers, after 5 years since date of promotion, to rank with Commanders.
Chief Engineers for the first 5 years after promotion to rank with Lieutenant Commanders.
First Assistant Engineers to rank with Masters.
Second Assistant Engineers to rank with Ensigns.
Third Assistant Engineers to rank with Midshipmen.
The relative rank for naval constructors was:
Naval constructors of more than 20 years' service, to rank with captains; those of more than 12 years with commanders; and those of less than 12 years with lieutenant commanders. Assistant naval constructors ranked with masters.
Chiefs of bureaus of the staff corps ranked with commodores and took precedence with each other according to the dates of their individual commissions and not according to their dates of appointment as chief of a bureau.
Uniform of 1864
New regulations for the dress and uniform of the Navy were issued on 28 January 1864. However, it appears that portions of these new regulations had become effective prior to that date, for illustrative plates in the Navy Department Library show a new system of indicating rank on the sleeves by means of the number and spacing of ¼-inch gold lace, with a gold star for line officers and without the star for staff officers.
New corps devices and modifications of the arrangements of rank and corps insignia on shoulder straps were "adopted" on 15 July and approved by the Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. No order placing these changes into effect prior to 28 January 1864 has been found; but a circular of 21 December 1863 addressed to the commanders of Navy yards and squadrons states that the "new" instructions concerning shoulder straps and cap devices were not being obeyed and directed conformance. However, since no issuing order can be located, it appears that the use of the star as a device for line officers was effective officially on 28 January 1864.
Under the 1864 regulations, epaulets, cocked hats, and sword knots were abolished during the war, and the frock coat with shoulder straps and the cap were prescribed as the uniform for all occasions. Rank and corps were shown on the shoulder straps, and all officers wore varying numbers of stripes of gold lace ¼ inch wide on their sleeves, the line officers wearing a gold star 1 inch in diameter above the top stripe. All officers wore a wreath of oak and olive branches as a cap device; line officers from the rank of commodore down, a silver foul anchor within the wreath, while staff officers wore the device of their corps in the wreath. In effect, both on the shoulder straps and in the cap devices, the anchor was the device of the line, the exception being that a rear admiral wore two silver stars in the center of the wreath of his cap device.
The device of the Engineer Corps was similar to that established in 1861, but somewhat stylized. The device of the Construction Corps was described as "…a sprig, composed of two leaves of live oak in silver…" The wearing of the device on the shoulder straps varies somewhat. A chief of a bureau wore a silver star on the corps device; staff officers with the relative rank of captain had a silver spread eagle standing on the device; while officers of lesser relative rank wore their corps device in the center of the strap with a rank device at either end; silver oak leaves for commanders; gold oak leaves for lieutenant commanders; two gold bars for lieutenants; a single gold bar for masters; and no end devices for ensigns. Staff officers, ranking with midshipmen, did not wear shoulder straps.
Uniform of 1866
The uniform regulations issued after the Civil War on 1 December 1866 reinstated the body coat, cut to the waist in front and with tails, to be worn as part of the full dress uniform for special occasions, and the same regulations restored the epaulets and cocked hats. A common cap device to be worn by all officers except naval constructors, chaplains, and professors of mathematics was approved. This cap device was a silver spread eagle, with the eagle's head turned to the right, standing on an embroidered foul anchor which was in an inclined position. Naval constructors wore as their cap device the corps insignia in a wreath of oak and olive branches. Third assistant engineers who were warrant officers wore their corps device in the wreath.
Rank was indicated on the sleeves by the same arrangement of ¼-inch gold lace stripes as under the 1864 order, except for commodores, who had a single stripe of 2-inch lace, and rear admirals, who wore a stripe of 2-inch lace with a stripe of ¾-inch lace above it. The star was used to indicate line officers, while staff officers omitted the star from above the sleeve lace.
The arrangement of the devices on the epaulets and shoulder straps varied according to rank. Commodores and captains wore their rank devices in the center with a corps device at either end. Officers from commander to ensign wore the corps device in the center with the rank devices at either end, except that the ensigns had no rank devices. The foul anchor served as the corps device for the line. The device of the Engineer Corps was that previously ordered, a cross of four live oak leaves, while that of the naval constructors was modified slightly.
The 1866 regulations authorized a single-breasted sack coat with a row of five medium-sized buttons to be worn as "service dress." Rank and corps were indicated by wearing the devices on the collar on either side, the rank device with the corps insignia behind it. No rank stripes were worn on the sleeves, but line officers wore the star.
A new cap device was prescribed by a General Order of 11 March 1869 for all commissioned officers; a silver shield, with two crossed anchors in gold behind it, surmounted by a silver spread eagle facing right. For naval constructors, this device replaced the wreath with the corps insignia in the center.
By General Order No. 90 of 1 April 1869, the Secretary of the Navy advised that, in accordance with a decision of the Attorney General of 29 March 1869, the portion of the Navy Regulations of 1863 which referred to relative rank was cancelled. The only officers entitled to and given relative rank by Congress were surgeons, paymasters, and engineers, and their relative rank would be in accordance with previous acts of Congress. Naval constructors lost their rank, and fleet engineers and chief engineers with more than 12 years' service were to rank with commanders; chief engineers of less than 12 years', with lieutenants; first assistant engineers, next after lieutenants (actually with masters); second assistants, next after masters and so with ensigns; third assistants, with midshipmen.
This general order was reflected in the uniform regulations approved 14 July 1869, for reduced ranks were shown for staff officers, and naval constructors, who reverted to civilian status, were omitted. Since no officer below the rank or assimilated rank of lieutenant wore shoulder straps, all assistant engineers now wore gold embroidered shoulder loops. Staff officers did not wear the anchor of the line on their loops, so only the rank devices were shown. First assistant engineers wore a silver bar at each end of the pad; second assistants, a single silver bar in the center; third assistants, no device.
Color in Uniform
A major change in these uniform regulations, and one that lasted until 1921, was the assignment to each staff corps of a distinctive color to be worn between the gold lace rank stripes on the sleeves. An officer who was entitled to but one stripe of lace wore the colored cloth of his corps showing 1/4 inch on each side of the gold stripe. The color assigned to engineers was red.
The cap device to be worn by all commissioned officers and midshipmen after graduation was a silver shield with two crossed foul anchors in gold behind it, surmounted by an eagle facing left. This device was quite similar to that worn today, except that now the eagle faces right under a change of 26 April 1941. Sleeve lace arrangement was approximately that used today, except that lieutenant commanders wore two ½-inch stripes; lieutenants, a ½-inch stripe with a ¼-inch stripe above it; masters, a single ½-inch stripe; and ensigns, a ¼-inch stripe.
Congress, by an act of 3 March 1871, reestablished relative rank for certain staff officers. Navy Regulations Circular of 1 December 1871 published the new rank structure, again assigning relative rank to naval constructors. The first ten chief engineers and the first two naval constructors were given the relative rank of captain; the next fifteen chief engineers and the next three naval constructors, of commander; the next forty-five chief engineers and the remainder of the list of naval constructors, lieutenant commander or lieutenant; first assistant engineers and assistant naval constructors, lieutenant or master; and second assistant engineers, master or ensign.
Since the insignia of naval constructors had been omitted for the 1869 uniform regulations, a uniform circular was issued on 21 March 1872, directing naval constructors to wear the same uniform as that of officers of the line with whom they had relative rank, omitting the star from the sleeves and assigning dark violet cloth as the corps distinction. The device of the Construction Corps was a sprig of two live oak leaves and an acorn, embroidered in gold. This was similar to the device first authorized in 1864.
Uniform of 1874
A change in uniform regulations, dated 7 November 1874, changed the sleeve stripes of a lieutenant commander to the two and one-half stripes worn today by this rank and assigned lieutenants two ½-inch stripes. The next change which affected the uniforms of naval constructors and engineers was contained in a uniform circular of 16 January 1877. This change to the uniform instructions of 1876 provided a new service coat for all officers of the Navy, the single-breasted, standing-collar coat that lasted until after World War I. Rank or assimilated rank was shown by means of lustrous black braid stripes on the sleeves in the same arrangement as the gold stripes on the special full-dress and frock coats. However, the star of the line and the colored cloth of the staff corps were omitted. Rank was also shown on the ends of collar by the same devices used on the shoulder straps and epaulets, with the corps devices omitted. As a result, the service coat did not indicate an officer's corps.
The arrangements of lace to indicate rank were changed by a circular of 10 August 1881; masters now wore one and one-half stripes, ensigns a ½-inch stripe, midshipmen, a ¼-inch stripe. General Order No. 305, of 31 March 1883, changed the rank of master to lieutenant, junior grade; and midshipmen, during their 2 years at sea after graduation, were called ensigns, junior grade.
The uniform instructions approved 1 November 1883 directed that corps devices be worn behind the rank insignia on the standing collar of the blue service coat, line officers wearing a silver foul anchor. The device worn by engineers as pictured in the uniform regulations of 1886 is shown in figure 11 [not included], and that of naval constructors in figure 12 [not included]. The arrangement of sleeve lace (black braid, not gold) was the same as that worn today, except for the additional rank of ensign (junior grade), a ¼-inch stripe.
Engineers had been seagoing officers of the Navy from the date they were first employed in 1837 to operate the machinery of the Fulton II, but they had not had the pay, rank, or promotional opportunities of officers of the line. The Naval Personnel Act of 3 March 1899 amalgamated engineering officers with the line. Younger officers were permitted to qualify for general line duties, while the more senior and older officers were restricted to shore assignments or responsibilities in their specialty.15 The Engineer Corps passed out of existence, and with it the device of the cross of four live oak leaves.
Although there were changes in the naval uniform and in the wearing of devices, the major change which affected all staff officers was contained in a change in uniform regulations, dated 16 November 1918, effective 1 July 1921. This order eliminated the colored cloth designations of the various staff corps and provided that the corps devices embroidered in gold be worn above the gold rank stripes on the sleeves of blue uniforms and on the shoulder marks worn on the white service coats, mess jackets, and overcoats.
Since 1921, all officers of the Navy have worn the same uniform, rank being indicated by stripes or metal devices and the corps, by means of devices. The device of the Construction Corps, as shown in the uniform regulations approved 20 September 1922, is described as a "…sprig of two live oak leaves, spreading, with an acorn on the stem between the leaves, …embroidered in gold." This is basically the original device worn by constructors.
The reorganization of the Navy Department in 1862 had created three bureaus concerned with shipbuilding and repairs: Steam Engineering; Construction and Repair; and Equipment and Recruiting. In 1889, the handling of enlisted personnel was transferred to the Bureau of Navigation; additional functions of the Bureau of Equipment were transferred to other bureaus. As a result, the Bureau of Equipment was abolished by the Naval Appropriations Act of 30 June 1914. As more and more electrical equipment was installed aboard ship, it became evident that the name of the Bureau of Steam Engineering was not descriptive of its duties, so on 4 June 1920, it became the Bureau of Engineering.16
The Bureau of Ships
The two bureaus having the major responsibility for the design, construction, repair, and maintenance of ships were the Bureau of Construction and Repair, and the Bureau of Engineering. In order to place the responsibility for closely related matters in one location, and in the interest of efficiency, the Bureau of Ships was established by an act of Congress of 20 June 1940, taking over the functions of Construction and Repair, and Engineering. By an act of Congress of 25 June 1940, the Construction Corps was abolished, officers on the active list of the corps being transferred to the line of the Navy as engineering duty officers. Naval constructors on the retired list are still entitled to wear the device of the Construction Corps, whenever the wearing of the uniform by a retired officer is appropriate.
Although the devices of the Engineer and Construction Corps are no longer part of the uniform of the active duty Navy, the part played by officers of these corps in the laying down of the first men-of-war and the development of steam power will always be remembered.
1 Rear Admiral William P. Robert, (CC) USN, History of the Construction Corps of the United States, (Bureau of Construction and Repair, 1937).
2 Ibid., p.2.
3 Ibid., p.6.
4 Ibid., p.7.
5 Frank M. Bennett, Past Assistant Engineer, USN, Steam Navy of the United States (W.T. Nicholson, Pittsburgh, 1896).
6 Ibid., p.16.
7 Ibid., p.17.
8 Ibid., p.19.
9 Ibid., p.711-771.
10 Ibid., p.714.
11 Captain Robert B. Madden, USN, "The Bureau of Ships and Its E.D. Officers," Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, February 1954.
12 Bennett, op. cit., p.727.
13 Madden, op. cit., p.12.
14 Robert, op. cit., p.16.
15 Ibid., p.44.
16 Madden, op. cit., p.11.
Source: Tily, James C. "Uniforms and Insignia: Engineering and Construction Corps United States Navy." Bureau of Ships Journal. 9, no.5 (May 1960): 2-10.
BUPERS NOTICE 1020
22 December 1983
BUPERS NOTICE 1020
From: Chief of Naval Personnel
To: All Ships and Stations (less Marine Corps field addressees not having Navy personnel attached)
Subj: Unit Identification Marks
Ref: (a) US Navy Uniform Regulations, 1981
Encl: (1) List of Authorized Units
(2) Contract and Ordering Information
1.Purpose. To promulgate information and authorization for wearing Unit Identification Marks (UIM).
2.Background. UIMs originally stem from the unit name cap ribbon, which was a mark of distinction for seagoing personnel. UIMs were authorized for operating forces personnel prior to the introduction of the service dress blue coat and tie style uniform in 1973. With the return to the traditional jumper uniform, and in keeping with the pride and professionalism program, UIMs are being reintroduced for wear on the Naval uniform. The primary objectives of wearing UIMs are to provide public recognition as members of the Operating Forces and enhance unit pride.
3.Eligibility Criteria. Enclosure (1) lists those units considered eligible to wear UIMs with examples of approved abbreviations. Subunits of authorized units will wear the unit identification mark of the parent command. For the purpose of determining eligibility to wear UIMs, units must meet one of the following criteria:
a. operational Staffs;
b. commissioned Ships and Squadrons (Includes Naval Reserve Reinforcement and Augment Personnel); and,
c. units whose mission requires shipboard or advanced base operations.
4.Discussion. Enlisted personnel below chief petty officer assigned to any of the types of operational Naval forces listed enclosure (1) for permanent duty are authorized to wear UIMs on the right sleeve of service dress jumper uniforms, winter blue shirts and short sleeved white shirts. These marks shall be in ¼ inch white block lettering embroidered on black background ½ inch wide and shall be worn parallel to and with top edge 3/8 inch below lower row of shoulder sleeve stitching. They shall be centered on the outer face of the sleeve and shall be sewn on with colorfast blue thread. UIMs are authorized in two lengths, 5 inches and 5-3/4 inches, to accommodate length of unit names. The lettering on the UIMs shall be in accordance with the approved abbreviation of the particular unit. Upon reporting for duty, E1 through E6 personnel will be issued UIMs, seven for men and six for women. Organizations are authorized to purchase UIMs from O&MN funds. UIMs will be ordered in accordance with procedures at enclosure (2).
a. Commanding Officers shall disseminate the information as appropriate.
b. This notice shall be filled with reference (a).
6.Cancellation Contingency. This notice is canceled when incorporated into reference (a).
DAVID L. HARLOW
Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel
SNDL Parts 1 and 2
LIST OF AUTHORIZED UNITS
UNIT EXAMPLE OF NAME RANK
Special Commands, Groups and Units BMU2
Administrative Commands and Units NAVSUPPFORANTARCTICA
Squadron, Division and Group Commanders - Ships COMCRUDESGRU 8
Commissioned Ships USS NEWPORT
Service Craft AFDL 6
DSV/DSRV Readiness and Training COMSUBDEVGRU 1
Construction Battalions, Regiments and Detachments NMCB 4
Military Sealift Commands COMSCLANT
Fleet Air Commands COMFAIRKEFLAVIK
Air Wings Staffs COMCARAIRWING 6
Aircraft Squadrons FITRON 14
Source: United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. "Unit Identification Marks." BUPERS Notice. 1020. 22 December 1983.
Bureau of Naval Personnel
Standards and Curriculum Division
C. RANK AND INSIGNIA
ICI. 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.
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
Vice Admiral Lieutenant General
Rear Admiral Major General
Commodore Brigadier General
Commander Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Commander Major
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
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:
Admiral One 2-inch stripe and three ½-inch stripes above
Vice Admiral One 2-inch stripe and two ½-inch stripes above
Rear Admiral One 2-inch stripe and one ½-inch stripe above
Commodore One 2-inch stripe
Captain Four ½-inch stripes
Commander Three ½-inch stripes
Lieutenant Commander Two ½-inch stripes and one ¼-inch stripe between
Lieutenant Two ½-inch stripes
Lieutenant (jg) One ½-inch stripe and one ¼-inch stripe above
Ensign One ½-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 ¼-inch gold or black chin strap and an emblem of crossed anchors. Sleeve markings on the blue uniform consist of a ¼-inch gold stripe broken by blue every 2 inches, and a specialist's device according to the following table:
Boatswain Crossed fouled anchors
Gunner Exploding bomb
Machinist Three-bladed propeller
Electrician Globe of world
Radio Electrician Bolts of lightning
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 ¼-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 ½-inch in width instead of ¼-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.
Figure 1-2. Enlisted ratings.
Chief Boatswain's Mate CBM
Boatswain's Mate, 1c BM1c
Boatswain's Mate, 2c BM2c
Boatswain's Mate A,1 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 E,2 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 O,3 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief FCO
Fire Controlman S,4 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief FCS
Seaman, 1c S1c
Seaman, 2c S2c
Apprentice Seaman AS
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 H,5 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 I,6 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SAI
Special Artificer O,7 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SAO
Special Artificer D,8 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 G,9 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MMG
Machinist's Mate R,10 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief MMR
Machinst's Mate S,11 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 Pilot, 2c, 1c, Chief AP
Aviation Machinist's Mate, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMM
Aviation Machinist's Mate C,12 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMC
Aviation Machinist's Mate F,13 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMF
Aviation Machinist's Mate H,14 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMH
Aviation Machinist's Mate I,15 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AMMI
Aviation Machinist's Mate P,16 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 B,17 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AOMB
Aviation Ordnanceman T,18 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief AOMT
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 V,19 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief TMV
Painter V,19 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief` PtrV
Storekeeper V,19 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SKV
Yeoman, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Y
Storekeeper, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SK
Storekeeper D,20 3c SKD
Storekeeper T,21 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SKT
Painter, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Prtr
Painter L,22 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PrtrL
Painter M,23 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief PrtrM
Ship's Service Man B,24 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMB
Ship's Service Man C,25 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMC
Ship's Service Man T,26 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SSMT
Ship's Service Man L,27 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
Chief Commissary Steward CCS
Ship's Cook, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SC
Ship's Cook B,28 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief SCB
Baker, 3c, 2c, 1c Bkr
Steward, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief St
Cook, 3c, 2c, 1c, Chief Ck
Steward's Mate Stm
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 fore, the abbreviations will be the same as the corresponding rating in the regular Navy, preceded by "Nat."
1A: Master at Arms
5H: Harbor Defense
8D: Special Devices (synthetic training)
9G: Industrial Gas Generating Mechanic
10R: Refrigeration Mechanic
11S: Shop Machinist
12C: Aviation Carburetor Mechanic
13F: Aviation Flight Engineer
14H: Aviation Hydraulic Mechanic
15I: Aviation Instrument Mechanic
16P: Aviation Propeller Mechanic
17B: Aviation Bombsight Mechanic
18T: Aviation Turret Mechanic
19V: Assigned to Aviation Activities
20D: Disbursing Storekeeper
21T: Technical Storekeeper
23M: Multilith Operator
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 ¼-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 ¼-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.
IC2. 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 SUN 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.
Source: United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Seamanship. NAVPERS 16118. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1944): 9-15.
Department of the Navy
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts
Washington 25, D.C.
In reply refer to
10 Apr 1953
From: Recorder, Permanent Naval Uniform Board
To: Secretary, Permanent Naval Uniform Board
Subj: Cap ribbons; historical information on
1. The history of cap ribbons in the Navy has been researched from BuSandA and BuPers files and records. All pertinent findings are listed in chronological sequence below.
The first record of a cap ribbon appears to be in 1808, when an unnamed Naval surgeon wrote his observations on uniforms. He proposed a hat as follows:
"A small round hat, varnished to make it waterproof, with the name of the ship to which the sailor belongs printed on the front or the letters N.U.S. on a band, which may be shifted when a man is turned over a ship."
The first record of a cap ribbon being required on the enlisted men's caps is in 1866, when according to W.M. Schoonmaker's article on the history of the Naval uniform, the cap ribbons were prescribed to be a black ribbon with the ship's name in gold letters.
The publication, Uniform for the United States Navy, 1869, described the cap ribbon as follows:
"The lettering is to be of gilt or yellow color and must be the same in character and size for the whole ship's company."
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1886, describes cap ribbon to have "The name of the vessel to which the wearer is attached, in plain block letters one-half inch in height, preceded by the letters U.S.S., will be woven in gilt thread through the center of the ribbon."
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1899, and 1905 have the same description as above for cap ribbons.
BuNav CL NO. 13-18 published on 14 January 1918 on the subject of cap ribbons is quoted below:
"New cap ribbons of the following designations: 'U.S. NAVY' and 'U.S. NAVAL RESERVE' have been adopted. All men serving on regular Naval vessels including those in the Fleet, Train, and Transport Force, and at regular shore stations should wear ribbons giving the name of the ship or station, as at present.
"All men serving on shore in foreign service, and on board special War Department ships or other small ships taken over temporarily, shall wear 'U.S. Navy' ribbons.
"All reservists doing duty on shore in the various Naval Districts and on small craft in the districts should wear the 'U.S. Naval Reserve' ribbons. Men under instructions in special schools established for this present emergency or at rifle ranges shall wear 'U.S. Navy' or 'U.S. Naval Reserve' ribbons according to their status.
"The 'U.S. Naval Reserve Force' ribbons may be worn until the present supply is exhausted. Men doing armed guard duty will continue to wear the special ribbons already assigned to them."
BuNav CL NO. 179-18 published on 30 September 1918 prescribed that the cap ribbons bear the legend "U.S. Navy." It is quoted below:
"The instructions contained in reference (a) are here by rescinded, and hereafter cap ribbons bearing the legend 'U.S. Navy' shall be worn by all enlisted personnel of the Navy and Naval Reserve Force - this to take effect when the supply of ribbons, as at present authorized is exhausted." (Ref: (a) BuNav. Circular Letter No. 13-18, N6KN dated Jan 14, 1918.)
Cap ribbons with ships' names were again authorized for wear by General Order No. 515 of 15 January 1920. At this time, personnel ashore apparently continued to wear the cap ribbons with "U.S. Navy" inscribed thereon.
BuNav CL No. 49-25 published on 8 October 1925 inaugurated cap ribbons with the following designations for enlisted men attached to shore stations:
a. NAVY RECRUITING SERVICE
b. U.S. NAVAL TRAINING STATION
c. U.S. NAVAL HOSPITAL
d. SUBMARINE BASE
e. THE RECEIVING SHIP
f. U.S. NAVY YARD
g. NAVAL COMMUNCATION SERVICE
h. NAVAL ORDNANCE PLANT
i. U.S. NAVAL TORPEDO STATION
j. U.S. NAVAL AIR STATIONS
k. U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
The following additional designations for cap ribbons were added later:
U.S. FLEET AIR BASE
U.S. NR AVIATION BASE
PATROL SQUADRONS, USN
Cap ribbons inscribed "U.S. Naval Reserve" were apparently issued to reserve enlisted personnel continuously until 1937 when a BuNav letter of 4 March 1937 issued instructions to issue "U.S. Navy" inscribed ribbons to Naval reserve enlisted personnel when stocks of the "U.S. Naval Reserve" inscribed ribbons were exhausted.
The recommendation to eliminate individual activity names on cap ribbons was made in a letter by LCDR J.B. McVey from the U.S. Naval Training Center, Newport, R.I. on 6 March 1940. The reasons set forth were:
"Prescribe cap ribbons worn by all men to read 'U.S. Navy' or 'U.S. Naval Reserve (U.S. Coast Guard).'
"Change of station now entails the expense and inconvenience of changing cap ribbons. The traditions of wearing the ship's name is not followed with the white hat. It is undesirable to follow it when trying to restrict knowledge of ship's movements."
By the first endorsement to LCDR McVey's letter the Commanding Officer, NTS, Newport stated:
"I believe this change should be effected. The wearing of the correct ship's name on the cap ribbon is not enforced by a large number of ships, particularly the smaller type ships."
In May 1940 this item was referred to the Fleet Board on Uniforms where approval was recommended of cap ribbons to read "U.S. Navy," and "U.S. Naval Reserve" as appropriate.
In January 1941 the Navy Department Permanent Board acted on the recommendation on cap ribbons as follows:
"A change in the present practice of wearing the name of the vessel or station on cap ribbons appears to be a matter of Navy Department policy. It is suggested, however, that since names of ships are used, information as to the location and movement of the ship can be obtained, which is undesirable in time of war. The large number of changes occasion frequent purchases of cap ribbons and the Uniform Board therefore recommends all cap ribbons to be 'U.S. Navy' or 'U.S. Naval Reserve.'"
This change was published in the original edition of the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1941.
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1941 and 1947 provided for the "U.S. Naval Reserve" inscribed ribbons for enlisted Naval reserve personnel on inactive duty. Change 6 to U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1947 dated 8 November 1949 deleted the "U.S. Naval Reserve" inscribed ribbon, which left only the "U.S. Navy" inscribed ribbon for all enlisted Naval personnel except for chief petty officers.
Source: United States. Department of the Navy. Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Permanent Naval Uniform Board. "Cap Ribbons; Historical Information on." Memorandum. 10 April 1953.