USN WW1 Enlisted Rates

U.S. Navy
World War I Enlisted Rates:

The enlisted rate insignia of World War I were governed by the Uniform Regulations of 1913 and subsequent revisions. The enlisted structure of the Navy, at that time, was still evolving from its nineteenth century origins. Petty officers and non-rated men were grouped into classes, but there were not yet standardized pay grades as we think of them today. Not every rating had rates in every class; a few titles had only one petty officer rate.

The overall shape of the rating badge was not standardized at the time, and sailors often cut the backing material into decorative shapes. The rating badges in the following tables are illustrated in a rectangular format, similar to the way they were presented in the uniform regulations.

In March 1918 the first rating badges for petty officers assigned to naval aviation were authorized. To accommodate the wider winged specialty marks, the eagle was spaced a quarter of an inch higher than on standard rating badges. This was most visible in the arch for chief petty officers.


Petty Officers

Petty officers wore their rating badges on one sleeve of their uniforms: the right side for the seaman branch, and the left side for all others. The Geneva cross of the pharmacist's mates was red on both blue and white backgrounds.

gold rating badge gold rating badge white rating badge white rating badge white rating badge

Gold stripes with silver embroidered eagle and specialty mark: Worn on blue clothing by petty officers with three consecutive enlistments with good conduct.

Red stripes with white eagle and specialty mark: Worn on blue clothing by petty officers not entitled to gold stripes.

Blue stripes with blue eagle and specialty mark: Worn on white clothing.

Red stripes with blue eagle and specialty mark: Worn on white clothing before Uniform Regulations of 1913, which changed the stripes to blue. Authorized to be issued until supplies were exhausted.

Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class with red specialty mark for white clothing.

Seaman Branch
(right sleeve)
Artificer Branch
(left sleeve)
Special Branch
(left sleeve)
Chief Petty Officer
rating badge
Chief Master-at-Arms
rating badge
Chief Boatswain's Mate
rating badge
Chief Turret Captain
rating badge
Chief Gunner's Mate
rating badge
Chief Quartermaster
rating badge
Chief Machinist's Mate, Chief Water Tender, Chief Special Mechanic [1]
rating badge
Chief Electrician
rating badge
Chief Carpenter's Mate
rating badge
Chief
Printer [2]
rating badge
Chief Storekeeper [3]
rating badge
Chief Machinist's Mate, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Chief Quartermaster, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Chief Carpenter's Mate, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Chief Yeoman [5]
rating badge
Chief Pharmacist's Mate [6]
rating badge
Bandmaster
rating badge
Chief Commissary Steward
Petty Officer 1st Class
rating badge
Master-at-Arms 1st Class
rating badge
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class
rating badge
Turret Captain 1st Class
rating badge
Gunner's Mate 1st Class
rating badge
Quartermaster 1st Class
rating badge
Machinist's Mate 1st Class, Boilermaker, Engineman 1st Class [7], Coppersmith 1st Class, Water Tender, Special Mechanic 1st Class [1]
rating badge
Electrician 1st Class
rating badge
Carpenter's Mate 1st Class, Painter 1st Class, Plumber and Fitter, Patternmaker 1st Class [8]
rating badge
Shipfitter 1st Class, Blacksmith 1st Class, Molder 1st Class [9]
rating badge
Printer 1st Class [2]
rating badge
Sailmaker's Mate
rating badge
Storekeeper 1st Class [10]
rating badge
Machinist's Mate 1st Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Quartermaster 1st Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Carpenter's Mate 1st Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Yeoman 1st Class
rating badge
Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class [11]
rating badge
First Musician
rating badge
Commissary Steward [12]
rating badge
Ship's Cook 1st Class,
Baker 1st Class
Petty Officer 2nd Class
rating badge
Master-at-Arms 2nd Class
rating badge
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class
rating badge
Gunner's Mate 2nd Class
rating badge
Quartermaster 2nd Class
rating badge
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class, Oiler, Engineman 2nd Class [7], Coppersmith 2nd Class [13]
rating badge
Electrician 2nd Class
rating badge
Carpenter's Mate 2nd Class, Painter 2nd Class, Patternmaker 2nd Class [8]
rating badge
Shipfitter 2nd Class, Blacksmith 2nd Class, Molder 2nd Class [9]
rating badge
Printer 2nd Class
rating badge
Storekeeper 2nd Class [10]
rating badge
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Quartermaster 2nd Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Carpenter's Mate 2nd Class, Aviation [4]
rating badge
Yeoman 2nd Class
rating badge
Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class [11]
rating badge
Ship's Cook 2nd Class
Petty Officer 3rd Class
rating badge
Master-at-Arms 3rd Class
rating badge
Coxswain
rating badge
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
rating badge
Quartermaster 3rd Class
rating badge
Electrician 3rd Class
rating badge
Carpenter's Mate 3rd Class, Painter 3rd Class
rating badge
Storekeeper 3rd Class [10]
rating badge
Yeoman 3rd Class
rating badge
Pharmacist's Mate 3rd Class [11]

Non-Rated

Personnel below petty officer grade were termed "non-rated," and were divided by the navy into "seaman" classes, even though not all held the title of seaman. Seamen wore a "branch mark" around the right shouder seam of their jumpers, white on blue uniforms and blue on white. Firemen, the non-rated men who worked in vessels' engine rooms and fire rooms, wore a branch mark on the left side, which was red on all uniforms.

Seaman Branch Artificer Branch Special Branch
Seaman 1st Class

(upper right sleeve)
Seaman
Gunner
Seaman
1st Class
(no branch mark)

(upper left sleeve)
Fireman
1st Class
Shipwright
(no branch mark) (no branch mark) (no branch mark)

(upper left sleeve)

(upper left sleeve)

(upper left sleeve)
Hospital Apprentice
1st Class
Musician
1st Class
Ship's Cook 3rd Class,
Baker 2nd Class
Seaman 2nd Class
Seaman
2nd Class [14]
Fireman
2nd Class
(no branch mark) (no branch mark) (no branch mark) (no branch mark)

(upper left sleeve)

(upper left sleeve)

(upper left sleeve)

(upper left sleeve)
Hospital Apprentice
2nd Class
Musician
1st Class
Bugler Ship's Cook
4th Class
Seaman 3rd Class
Apprentice
Seaman
(no branch mark)
Fireman
3rd Class [15]
Landsman
(no branch mark)
Landsman


Notes:


All text and images © Justin T. Broderick, 2013-2017 unless otherwise indicated.

Page last modified: April 19, 2014.