Pacific War, 1942
Ranks, Ratings and Awards of WW2
See USN website for display of ranks today -- there are minor differences from WW2.
O- Officer -- typical duties, sleeve, shoulder, years required for temporary - permanent rank
- Ensign -- assistant - single stripe, gold bar. Newly commissioned.
- Lieutenant, Junior Grade -- assistant - 1-1/2 stripes, silver bar. 1-3 year
- Lieutenant -- Skipper of patrol boat -- two stripes, two silver bars. 3.5-7 years
- Lieutenant Commander -- Skipper of destroyers or submarine - 2-1/2 stripes, gold leaf. 6-14 yrs
- Commander -- Executive officer on capital ship - three stripes, silver leave. 12-21 yrs
- Captain -- Skipper of Cruiser and larger - four stripes, eagle. 18-25 yrs
- Commodore (wartime only) -- Convoy commander; same as Rear Adm, lower division,
broad stripe, one star
- Rear Admiral, -- Task Force commander - broad plus 1 stripe, two stars
- Vice Admiral - Fleet Commander - broad plus 2 stripes, three stars
- Admiral -- Theater Command, Atlantic/Pacific/Far East - broad plus 3 stripes, four stars
- Fleet Admiral (wartime only) -- World-wide, later awarded to 2 others. - broad plus 4 stripes, five stars.
Leahy, King, then Nimitz and Halsey.
|General command path. Sleeve: star.|
|Captain, CO. Officer in command of ship.|
|Executive Officer, XO. Second in command, in charge of personnel issues.|
|Drill Officer, DO. Third in command, in charge of training and discipline.|
|First Lieutenant. In charge of cleanliness and upkeep. |
|Maintenance Officer. In charge of cleanliness and upkeep ashore. |
|Navigator. -- responsible for safe navigation.|
|Gunnery Officer. -- responsible for ordnance equipment and training.|
|Engineering Officer.-- responsible for machinery for driving the ship|
|First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer -- responsible for cleanliness and water-tight integrity ships, boats and structural parts of the ship.|
|Watch Officer, OOD -- officer of the deck, responsible for condition during a watch period.|
|Chaplain -- religious and welfare interests|
|Judge Advocate - legal|
|Medical / Dental / Nurse -- health and conditions|
|Supply -- purchase and disbursement|
Officers comprise about 10% of total Navy on active duty. Warrant officers add another 1-2%
|Officer Numbers and Average Age and Service Time|
|% of |
|Years in |
|O2 Lieutenant, Jr Grade||24-26||16%-18%||92%||1|
|O4 Lieutenant Commander||35-37||17%-19%||90%||6 (21)|
|O5 Commander||41-43||12%-14%||81%||6 (28)|
|O6 Captain||46-48|| 5%- 8%||45%||6 (30)|
Separate officer lists are maintained for special branches : medical, chaplain, flag officers, warrant officers, WAVES, etc.
Officers selected are placed on a promotion list and promoted as vacancies occur in order of date of rank.
Temporary promotion in rank is granted when large numbers of officers are needed, as in war time, which will accelerate the promotion timetable.
Exceptional officers may be promoted early, 5 to 10% of promotions are of such officers.
An officer review board sets dates of rank to be considered for each grade and the method of selection, based on the needs of the service. The "best qualified" method selects a percentage of those most qualified. Best qualified is used for grades of LtCmdr, Commander and Captain.. The "fully qualified" method promotes all who are not unqualified. Fully qualified is generally used for Lt(jg) and Lieutenant grades.
Technical Specialists (without college)
W- Warrant Officer
- W1 -Warrant Officer, noncommissioned, half stripe with blue
- W2- Chief Warrant Officer, commissioned, one stripe with blue. 1-2% of officer corps
Midshipmen - Officers in Training
E- Enlisted. See
USN for today's ranks, only E1-E7 existed in WW2.
- Seaman 3rd class (now Seaman Recruit) - While in Boot camp; 4 months.
- Seaman 2nd class, (now Seaman Apprentice) - completed boot camp, on first posting.
- Seaman 1st class (now Seaman) - passed examination on Navy and seamanship
- Petty Officer 3rd Class - qualified to assist with a specialty
- Petty Office 2nd Class - capable in most areas of specialty
- Petty Officer 1st Class - knowledgeable in all areas of speciality.
- Chief Petty Officer - Knowledgeable in all areas of specialty and
rating - a special area of competence.
Seaman - deck, ordnance, electronic, clerical
Fireman - engineering, black gang, left arm rate
Airman - aviation
Constructionmen - CB
Hospitalmen/Dentalmen - medical
Stewards - officer servants
Yeoman - clerk
Left arm rate - engineering machinery and hull specialist, typically below decks.
Right arm rate - deck and operations specialist.
Boatswain - deck crew
Coxswain - 3rd class boatswains mate, small boat helmsman.
All petty officers may be called by customary nickname.
Boatswain's Mate - "Boats"
Radioman - "Sparks" or "Sparky"
Gunnery Mate - "Gunner" or "Gunny"
Machinists Mate - "Chips"
Any CPO - "Chief"
Awards of WW2
|AWARD||Points of merit|
|Good Conduct Medal ||3 years with minimum offenses. ||1|
|Purple Heart ||received medical attention in a combat zone.||1|
|Commendation Ribbon ||letter of commendation for Sec of Navy. ||2|
|Air Medal ||meritorious achievement in flight ||3|
|Bronze Star ||meritorious achievement in combat zone. ||3|
|Navy & Marine Corps Medal||heroism not involving combat. ||3|
|Distinguished Flying Cross ||Heroism in flight ||4|
|Legion of Merit ||exceptionally meritorious conduct, war or peace.||4|
|Silver Star ||Conspicuous gallantry in combat ||4|
|Distinguished Service Medal ||exceptionally meritorious in position of
great responsibility, combat or peace.||4|
|Navy Cross ||Extraordinary heroism in combat. ||4|
|Medal of Honor ||Conspicuous gallantry, risk of life above and beyond. ||5|
|Devices on ribbon|
|"v" ||Valor, the award was earned in combat.|
|"stars" ||Gold star, subsequent awards. 1 silver = 5 gold stars|
|Captains Mast|| minor offences || 7 days|
|Deck Court|| more than minor ||20 days|
|Summary court-martial||less serious ||60 days|
|General court-martial|| very serious. ||180 days to years.|
Saluting is a courtesy paid to all officers in all US service, in uniform or civilian dress, and foreign officers.
The Captains and Admirals are saluted of every meeting or passing.
Other officers are saluted on first meeting of the day.
A salute in passing is at 6 feet distance.
Men at rest come to attention and salute.
Men at work salute when addressed.
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About this page: rank - Rank, rating and awards in World War II.
Last updated on June 20, 2006 - add Officer age.
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