Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wearing it on your sleeve

I was on the way home from work the other day and stopped in for a six pack, and saw a Naval representative gassing up.
I suppose he was a recruiter, since as far as I know, the closest Naval facility to Castroville is in Beeville.
He was a Second Class Quartermaster with four years in.

I could tell that by looking at his left sleeve.
The Navy has a symbol for every rating they use (or had), some have been expanded because of technological advances needing more specialization. Some have disappeared or been absorbed into a like rate.

Anyway, the Navy has different traditions from the other services due to their specialized needs and history. Yes, different from the Marines, too- who follow the ground based military traditions.

One of the differences is their rank and rating system. Every Enlisted has a rate (if they're above E-3) they're specifically trained for (an MOS is different)and it's embroidered on their rank patch ( their Crow).

This was mine- a Construction Electrician.

I was a CE-2 Construction Electrician Second class Petty officer (E-5)CE-2.

The reason I knew my Quartermaster had been in (at least) four years was the red stripe he had near his sleeve cuff, each one of those represents four years of service.

I'm not sure of the Exact reasoning behind these peculiar Naval traditions, but I imagine that it was the need to recognize the people capable of doing certain jobs when the SHTF and they were on another watch. You don't want a Hull Tech playing with high pressure steam lines when the ship lost all lights, or an Engineman trying to fix a fire control computer.
The red service indicators would let you know how much experience the rating had.

Ok, your 'other service' lesson is over for today. Next time is why the traditional Dress Blues look the way they do.

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