The Engine Room Force was organized somewhat differently from other branches. Historically, non-rated engine room men were paid at a higher rate than their deck counterparts because of the more strenuous nature of their work. This was still reflected when the US entered World War II, with the non-rated fireman first class holding the same pay grade as third class petty officers in other branches. In a major reorganization of the Navy's enlisted structure, effective January 1944, the Engine Room Force rates were brought into line with other branches, and third class engine room petty officers were authorized.
Firemen wore a red branch mark on the left shoulder of blue and white jumpers.