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Uniforms & Insignias

Seabees stand by for a dress whites inspection at Naval Construction Battalion.

Uniforms & Insignias

Dozens of fields.
Hundreds of roles.
Decide where you'll make your mark.
How to Identify Role and Rank

How can you tell if a Sailor is Enlisted or an Officer? How can you tell their rank? What’s an easy way to find out what various Sailors do? The uniform and elements of the uniform provide answers to these and other questions. Start with an overview of uniforms and the significance of military insignias – including the basics of Navy rate and rank.

 

ENLISTED AND OFFICER DESIGNATIONS

Among other things, the uniform will tell you whether a member is Enlisted or an Officer in the Navy or Navy Reserve.

Sailors are classified as either Enlisted Sailors or Commissioned Officers (including Chief Warrant Officers and Limited Duty Officers).

This basic designation reflects upon a member's background and/or experience and suggests general roles and responsibilities.

UNIFORM KNOWLEDGE

Sailors serving on Active Duty or in the Navy Reserve wear the same basic types of uniforms. These include three basic categories:

Dress uniforms – Designed for more formal occasions, there are service dress, full dress and dinner dress uniforms in this category, ranging from least formal to most formal.

Service uniforms – Designed for daily use, these uniforms are intended for wear in office environments, in public and in watch situations.

Working uniforms – Also designed for daily use, these uniforms are intended for wear in non-office working environments at sea and ashore.

Variations of each of these basic uniform types exist and typically differ between Enlisted Sailors and Commissioned Officers.

MILITARY INSIGNIA 101

The military insignias worn on Navy uniforms clearly define a member’s pay grade, place in the chain of command, and job or area of expertise. When referring to Enlisted Sailors, the term used is rate. When referring to Officers (including Chief Warrant Officers and Limited Duty Officers), the term used is rank.

It is important to note that the same Navy rate and Navy rank information that applies to those on Active Duty also applies to those serving on Reserve Duty.

Below you can see the charts that correspond to Enlisted and Officer positions. Familiarize yourself with the path for advancement in each category.

OTHER TELLING FEATURES OF THE UNIFORM

Ribbons. Medals. Badges. Pins. Devices. Beyond rate and rank, there are also special insignias and other elements of the uniform that can reflect anything from your job specialty/qualifications to your professional community to your specific awards and decorations.

 

E-1 through E-3 have color-coded group rate marks based on their occupational field. Group rate marks for E-2 and E-3 are worn on dress uniforms only. Personnel in pay grade E-1 do not wear group rate marks. The rating badge, a combination of rate (pay grade) and rating (specialty), is worn on the left upper sleeve of all uniforms in grades E-4 through E-6. Chief Petty Officers (E-7 through E-9) wear collar devices on their white and khaki uniforms and rate badges on their Service Dress Blues.

E-1 Seaman Recruit (SR)

E-1
Seaman Recruit (SR)

E-2 Seaman Apprentice (SA)

E-2
Seaman Apprentice (SA)

E-3 Seaman (SN)

E-3
Seaman (SN)

E-4 Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)

E-4
Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)

E-5 Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)

E-5
Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)

E-6 Petty Officer First Class (PO1)

E-6
Petty Officer First Class (PO1)

E-7 Chief Petty Officer (CPO)

E-7
Chief Petty Officer (CPO)

E-8 Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)

E-8
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)

E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)

E-9
Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)

Special Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)

E-9
Fleet/Command Master Chief Petty Officer

E-9 Fleet Command Master Chief Petty Officer

Special
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)

Navy Officers wear their rank devices in different places on their uniforms, depending on the uniform.

The three basic uniforms and the type of rank devices are khakis (a working uniform) – pins on the collar; whites – stripes on shoulder boards; and blues – stripes sewn on the lower sleeve.

O-1 Ensign (ENS)

O-1
Ensign (ENS)

O-2 Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)

O-2
Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)

O-3 Lieutenant (LT)

O-3
Lieutenant (LT)

O-4 Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

O-4
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

O-5 Commander (CDR)

O-5
Commander (CDR)

O-6  Captain (CAPT)

O-6 
Captain (CAPT)

O-7 Rear Admiral Lower Half (RADM LH)

O-7
Rear Admiral Lower Half (RADM LH)

O-8 Rear Admiral Upper Half (RADM UH)

O-8
Rear Admiral Upper Half (RADM UH)

O-9 Vice Admiral (VADM)

O-9
Vice Admiral (VADM)

O-10 Admiral (ADM)

O-10
Admiral (ADM)

O-10 Special Fleet Admiral (reserved for wartime only)

O-10 Special
Fleet Admiral (reserved for wartime only)

Chief Warrant Officers hold warrants from the Secretary of the Navy and are specialists and experts in certain military technology or capabilities.

Chief Warrant Officers wear an individual insignia in place of the Officer’s star.

W-1
Warrant Officer (not currently used)

W-2 Chief Warrant Officer 2

W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 2

W-3 Chief Warrant Officer 3

W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 3

W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4

W-4
Chief Warrant Officer 4

W-5 Chief Warrant Officer 5

W-5
Chief Warrant Officer 5

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