USN WW2 Enlisted Rates: Steward Branch

U.S. Navy
World War II Enlisted Rates:

Messman/Steward Branch

The Messman Branch, responsible for feeding and serving officers, was a racially segregated part of the U.S. Navy. White sailors could not serve in the Messman Branch, which was composed almost exclusively of African-Americans and Filipino, Chinese and other foreign nationals who had been recruited overseas into the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. This attracted criticism from civil rights leaders during the war, and the Roosevelt administration was under some pressure to address this inequality. Some steps were taken throughout the war, but the navy's leadership proved resistant to major change. In February 19431 the name of the branch was changed to Steward Branch, the word "officer's" was dropped from rate titles, and "mess attendant" became "steward's mate." The new rating of "cook" should not be confused with "ship's cook," which was part of the Commissary Branch. In June 1944,2 cooks and stewards were authorized to wear petty officer-style rating badges. Despite the change in insignia, however, stewards and cooks were not petty officers and ranked below the most junior petty officer grade. Petty officer status was not extended to stewards until 1950.3

 

Through February 1943: Messman Branch

7th Grade 6th Grade 5th Grade 4th Grade 3rd Grade 2nd Grade 1st Grade
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Mess Attendant
3rd Class
(Matt3c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Mess Attendant
2nd Class
(Matt2c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff mark
Mess Attendant
1st Class
(Matt1c)
Officer's Cook
3rd Class
(OC3c)
Officer's Cook
2nd Class
(OC2c)
Officer's Cook
1st Class
(OC1c)
Officer's
Chief Cook
(OCC)
(Authorized Nov. 1942)[4]
Officer's Steward
3rd Class
(OS3c)
Officer's Steward
2nd Class
(OS2c)
Officer's Steward
1st Class
(OS1c)
Officer's
Chief Steward
(OCS)
(Authorized Nov. 1942)[4]

 

After February 1943: Steward Branch

7th Grade 6th Grade 5th Grade 4th Grade 3rd Grade 2nd Grade 1st Grade
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Steward's Mate
3rd Class
(StM3c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Steward's Mate
2nd Class
(StM2c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff mark
Steward's Mate
1st Class
(StM1c)
Cook
3rd Class
(Ck3c)
Cook
2nd Class
(Ck2c)
Cook
1st Class
(Ck1c)

Chief Cook
(CCk)
Steward
3rd Class
(St3c)
Steward
2nd Class
(St2c)
Steward
1st Class
(St1c)
Chief Steward
(CSt)

 

After June 1944

7th Grade 6th Grade 5th Grade 4th Grade 3rd Grade 2nd Grade 1st Grade
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Steward's Mate
3rd Class
(StM3c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff stripes
Steward's Mate
2nd Class
(StM2c)
distinguishing mark
(upper left sleeve)
cuff mark
Steward's Mate
1st Class
(StM1c)
Cook
3rd Class
(Ck3c)
Cook
2nd Class
(Ck2c)
Cook
1st Class
(Ck1c)

Chief Cook
(CCk)
Steward
3rd Class
(St3c)
Steward
2nd Class
(St2c)
Steward
1st Class
(St1c)
Chief Steward
(CSt)

Main page: USN Enlisted Rating Insignia of World War II


Notes:

 


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