21 Replies Latest reply on Feb 16, 2018 9:52 AM by Ira Claves

    What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?

    Cindy Koehn Wayfarer

      My reason for asking:  I am trying to build a shadow box for my dad with his decorations and his accurate Navy rate badges.

       

      My father was a Fire Controlman 2c (T) during WW2.  This was the highest rating he achieved.  I have this information from his actual Navy personnel file I obtained from the St. Louis archives.

       

      We have in the family files some other rate badges that I don't know how they fit into his story.  I have attached some photos of the items I'm trying to understand.

       

      1.     I've been told that the 3 chevrons with the arc across the top means a Chief Petty Officer.  I've also been told that the square-knot rate might have been a rate he was 'awarded' during training at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois.  I've been told that these rates didn't really mean anything once he left training and was assigned to his ship (USS Arctic).

       

      2.     Anchor with 2 stars, with USN across the front - is this an actual Navy badge/insignia?  What does it mean, and when would it have been awarded to him?

       

      3.     This is an example of a Fire Controlman rate; this is the rate I KNOW he achieved.  Can you confirm that this is his 1st class rate; his second class rate would have added a second red chevron.

       

      Can anybody shed any light on the 'rope' rate badge, and the anchor pin?

       

      Thank you very much.

      DSC_0004.JPGDSC_0003.JPGDSC_0005.JPG

        • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
          Alan Walker Scout

          Ms. Koehn,

           

          Regarding the first image, here is a thread that discusses it: What is the USN rate with a rope knot, ex-apprentice? - NAVY, COAST GUARD AND OTHER SEA SERVICES - U.S. Militaria Forum

           

          The center image is of a standard collar or cap device; it looks to be on the large side,

          so it would be a cap device.

           

          The last image is the Fire Controlman, third class insignia. You are correct in that two stripes would denote second class.

           

          Hope this helps!

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            • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
              Cindy Koehn Wayfarer

              Thank you, Alan.  Regarding the anchor device - is this an award of some type, or just a part of a standard uniform?  Did everybody wear these?  If not, for what reason would my dad possibly been awarded it?  And when - during active service, or during training?

               

              Again, thanks.

                • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                  Alan Walker Scout

                  No, this was the standard service insignia for enlisted personnel. They may not have been

                  used during training, though; it might depend on the time period.

                  • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                    Christian Belena Wayfarer

                    Cindy: I am a Navy Vet and have done a great deal of research regarding US Navy uniform traditions. Collar devices and/or cap devices (as they are called) come with the rank. So as a Chief Petty Officer, along with his crow (what we call the arm patch although it is specifically what we call the eagle at the top of the rank), he was given one set of shoulder devices upon his promotion. He would have had to purchased additional devices to cover the amount of uniforms he had (and one or two extras as backups.) These are not an "award" in the way of getting a letter of commendation or campaign medal. It is strictly a rank identifier.

                     

                    However, what you show in the center picture is actually the device (i can't tell what size it is by the photo) for a Master Chief Petty Officer which is one rank above CPO. A CPO would not have any stars.

                     

                    Petty Officers 1, 2, and 3 class also had them. They are silver and worn on only certain uniforms. Uniforms have changed a great deal over the years (for good and for bad.) As Martha states, a good set of information is All Hands magazine which has its complete archives available online as downloadable PDFs. You can also contact me if you have any Navy uniform-related questions. I'd be more than happy to help you.

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                      • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                        Cindy Koehn Wayfarer

                        He was only a CPO during his training (the 1st picture).  As I understand

                        it, recruits may be given a rank (I know, that's a landlubber's term)

                        during their training time.  When Dad 'graduated' and joined his ship, the

                        rank he had during training becomes meaningless.  Is this correct?   If it

                        IS correct, then does it follow that he could no longer wear the anchor

                        device (the 2nd picture) once he left training?

                         

                        Also, nobody has been able to tell me what the square knot means on the CPO

                        badge.

                         

                        I do know for certain (based on his separation document) that while in

                        active duty, his final rate was "Fire Controlman 2nd class (technical)".

                        In the family files, we have his 3rd class rate badge (the 3rd picture).

                         

                        Thank you, Christian.

                          • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                            Alex Daverede Adventurer

                            Cindy,

                             

                            That last bit of information may have solved the mystery.  The knotted insignia (actually a reef knot) was an old Navy sleeve insignia for an ex-apprentice.  Once the sailor became a rated seaman, he could wear the reef knot as an acknowledgement of his former apprentice status.  I was puzzled by the combination of the reef knot and petty officer insignia; however, with your last post it makes sense to see the badge as a training school insignia, temporarily denoting the leadership status of the wearer. 

                             

                            As the schools were hard-pressed to keep instructors on staff during wartime, "real" sailors could hardly be spared to lead the formations of students present at all the Navy schools.  So select students were appointed (there may have been a formal process) to various leadership positions to supervise the many mundane duties performed at the Navy schools. 

                            • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                              Christian Belena Wayfarer

                              Cindy:

                               

                              Without reviewing your father's service records, it is somewhat confusing. I have never come across a situation where a person was given the rank of Chief Petty Officer in a boot camp or other training instance, and then demoted to a Second Class Petty Officer. I have an 1942 edition of the BlueJackets Manual at home and will have to look into it. I know that company commanders would give assignments to recruits in order to mimic real-world, real-navy situations. So, maybe your father was an acting "CPO" only at that time. He would then have been sent to the fleet as either an apprentice or undesignated.

                               

                              This explanation of the square-know rating badge is from a military forum website:

                              That is an Apprentice Petty Officer First Class, (pre 1948 version). Worn by recruits while in training who were filling the duities of a termporay P.O. The original reg (March 1918), describes as "Rating Badges For The Use Of Enlisted Men Under Training At Training Stations". (Reference "United States Navy Rating Badges And Marks 1833 to 2008", pages 48 & 49, by John Stacey.)

                               

                              As I stated in my earlier response the device doesn't go with the CPO badge (the CPO badge would have had to have two stars on it as well.)

                               

                              Do you have your father's complete service jacket? (AKA service records)

                      • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                        Christian Belena Wayfarer

                        Here is another great resource for WWII-era Naval Ratings > USN WW2 Enlisted Ratings

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                        • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                          Martha Collins Wayfarer

                          One item to note is how often during WWII items of uniform changed, as did things like definitions of medals. Christian Belena's post is an excellent example as it is for 2 time periods.There are many resources to be found, just be careful on the date. This is a link to a WWII and beyond Navy periodical.

                          All Hands Archive

                          Browse to May 1943. Download the PDF. An article starts on page 29 (not screen #, but printed page #) that is fairly comprehensive, although it does not mention the rope icon in your first photo.

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                          • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                            Derek Grover Wayfarer

                            I believe that is the old RCPO "Recruit Chief Petty Officer"insignia. Within any given Recruit Training Company there are "Recruit Leaders" who are chosen by the Company Commanders.  There are usually three or four chosen from the ranks of the recruit company to include one RCPO, one MA "Master At Arms" and two other designates who's names I forget... This is only for Bootcamp and does not carry into active duty...  Hope this helps...

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                              • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                Cindy Koehn Wayfarer

                                Thank you, Derek - you have confirmed what several other folks have said

                                (on the History Hub and off), and you explained it SO clearly and

                                definitively.

                                 

                                Now, the next question.  I've attached a picture of an insignia that I'm

                                trying to identify.  First off, my dad's rate was "Fire Controlman".  When

                                he left the Navy in 1946, his final rating was 2nd class.  In the family

                                archives, we have his uniform jacket, and the badge on the shoulder is

                                indeed a fire controlman 2nd class.  He kept his 1st class patch as a

                                souvenir when he got promoted; it's the same as on his uniform except it

                                has 1 red chevron instead of 2.

                                 

                                Now, some folks on some sites have said that the anchor pin would have been

                                worn by a CPO.  That implied to me that he only would have worn it during

                                training at Great Lakes.  BUT, that also implies to me that, since he left

                                the CPO designation behind when he left to join his ship, he would have

                                left behind the anchor pin as well.

                                 

                                The reason for the question - I'm building a display case with his medals,

                                rate badge, tags, and other stuff from his active service aboard his vessel

                                (USS Arctic).  I need to know if this anchor pin belongs to that part of

                                the story, or does it belong only with his recruit/training phase.

                                 

                                I am grateful for your help, Derek - indeed, I'm grateful for the help of

                                ANYBODY who chimes in on this.

                              • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                Derek Grover Wayfarer

                                Cindy,

                                 

                                Glad I could verify the other answers you have received.  As far as the "Anchor Collar Device" it is emblematic of the enlisted rank of "Master Chief" in the fleet. The "Anchor" without the "Stars" represents "Chief Petty Officer" the two "Stars" represents "Master Chief" (E-9) . It is also used as the "Collar Device" of the RCPO "Recruit Chief Petty Officer" in bootcamp, so it could be from his Recruit Training Company as well. It wouldn't surprise me if he kept both as reminders when he he transferred to the Fleet.

                                 

                                As far as the last "Rating / Rank Badge", here's the explanation of the emblems. The Eagle is called a "CROW" and represents "Petty Officer", the rating insignia below it is "FT, Fire Control Technician", the single stripe, called a "ROCKER" represents 3rd Class Petty Officer (E-4), If his Service Record says he was discharged as a "2nd Class PO" there is a possibility that he was "Recommended for Advancement" upon discharge which is common. You should have a page in his "Service Record" titled "Enlisted Performance Record" that will have a listing of all of his "Performance Evaluations, Advancement Recommendations and Advancement Effective Dates".  I am guessing that he was "Recommended for Advancement" upon his discharge and never purchased the 2nd Class Crow (E-5) to put on a uniform that he would never wear again...

                                 

                                Hope this gives you a bit more info to go on... DG

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                                  • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                    Cindy Koehn Wayfarer

                                    Re the anchor pin.  If I'm understanding you correctly, the anchor 'pin' would have been something that he wore during his time as a recruit at Great Lakes, when he also wore the CPO patch with the square knot on it.  The pin does have 2 stars on it, so that makes him a 'Master Chief'.

                                     

                                    This is the most important question: after he left Great Lakes, he would no longer have worn the anchor pin, just like he would not have worn the CPO patch with the square knots.  Is this correct?

                                     

                                    I've attached a pic of my dad in his white uniform; we have his blue tunic in our family archives.  His FC 2nd class badge is clearly visible, but no anchor pin.  The blue tunic has the same badge.

                                     

                                    Also, do you know what the square knot on the training CPO badge means?  I have been unable to find it on the web.  A retired admiral friend of mine says it might mean bosun's mate, but he wasn't sure (he served in the Vietnam era, so wasn't sure about WW2).

                                     

                                    Dad White Uniform.jpg

                                      • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                        Derek Grover Wayfarer

                                        You are correct, it is the "Master Chief Collar Device" and would have only been worn while he was RCPO "Recruit Chief Petty Officer" in Bootcamp and not authorized for him to wear in the fleet. Also, the photo you posted of your father, he is wearing the white summer "Cracker Jacks" which are the designated uniform for E-6 (1st Class) and below. The Chief's Uniform is a collared shirt, tie, slacks, much like the Officer's Uniform.

                                         

                                        This photo gives me a clue as to why you have that loose FT3 Rating / Rank badge (3rd Class FT) the red rocker on Navy Blue. I'll bet the badge that you have came off of his winter uniform (Navy Blue Cracker Jacks). When he was promoted to FT2 (2nd Class) he would have had the ship's tailor remove his old 3rd Class stripes and sew on the new 2nd Class FT2 stripes... I'll bet that one patch you have is his old insignia before he was promoted to FT2 and the stripes in the picture FT2 are still on his old uniform...

                                         

                                        I think you need to get a FT2 Rating / Rank Insignia to build his shadow box with his correct rate / rank.  You can purchase them online for summer white, or winter blue uniform here US NAVY RATING BADGES

                                        Bear in mind, the Petty Officer insignia only comes pre-made with 1st Class (3 stripes). You have to cut the lower stripe off and hem the edge of the Insignia with just the remaining 2 rockers (2nd Class). That's why the FT3 Insignia you have has been cut at the bottom edge because they all start-off with 3 stripes and are cut accordingly before they are sewn to the uniform...  http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/80861-my-post-ww2-crows/

                                         

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                                    • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                      Douglas Bicknese Newbie

                                      For more information about what practices may have taken place during boot camp, you may want to reach out to the Museum of the American Sailor at Great Lakes Naval Training Center . . . https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/museums/nmas/explore/collections-and-research/research.html

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                                      • Re: What is the meaning of this Navy insignia?
                                        Ira Claves Newbie

                                        I would probably disregard the Master Chief pin, the navy didnt even have that rank until later in the 1950s. good question where and why he picked that up.