Thank you for visiting navy.com – the official recruitment site of America's Navy. We have recently made technological updates to our site in an effort to provide a better interactive experience. To enjoy the best possible experience, we recommend that you consider upgrading to one of the following versions (or higher) of any of these popular browsers:
Not sure what a particular Navy term or acronym means? Here's a resource that can get you in the know.
Advanced Pay Grade
Opportunity to advance to a higher pay grade based on previously obtained experience.
Aviation Selection Test Battery
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
Test administered by the military to determine qualification for enlistment in the Armed Forces.
Basic Military Training
Initial instruction given to new military personnel.
The final test at Boot Camp that determines the passage to becoming a U.S. Navy Sailor. On board ship, a location and conditions to respond to when under attack or experiencing an emergency such as a fire.
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL
A SEAL training course that develops mental and physical stamina as well as leadership skills.
Bureau of Navy Personnel
Organization served to provide administrative leadership, policy planning and general oversight of the Navy.
Construction Battalion (Seabees)
The Navy community of construction workers.
Navy Senior Officer rank (0–5).
Civil Engineer Corps
Officer corps that oversees the construction, renovation, maintenance and building of Navy projects all over the world.
Chief of Naval Operations
The highest ranking Officer in the U.S. Navy.
A commissioned Navy Officer in charge of a designated Navy command.
Career Reenlistment Objectives
Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive
Navy linguists tasked to gather highly classified intelligence information for the Navy’s top-level decision makers using foreign language skills.
DD Form 214
Certificate of release or discharge from Active Duty.
Delayed Entry Program
Program that allows recruits to join the Navy but postpone reporting for duty for up to a year.
Money provided to Sailors to aid in moves from one duty station to another.
Departmental Material Inspection
An inspection of bed making, folding and stowing of gear.
Department of Defense
Federal department in charge of organizing and supervising all agencies related directly to national defense, specifically the Armed Forces.
Department of the Navy
Department established by Congress to provide support and leadership to the U.S. Navy.
Enlisted Sailor tasked with assisting Navy Dentists in providing dental care to Navy personnel and their families.
End of Active Obligated Service
Date at which one’s Naval service has been officially completed.
Rank achieved by Sailors who have completed the minimum educational requirement of a high school diploma.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Technicians tasked to safely dispose of explosive materials.
Forward Air Controller
An individual who directs the action of military aircraft engaged in close air support of land forces.
Fleet Marine Force
Enlisted Sailor tasked with assisting Navy Medical Officers in providing medical care to Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families.
Naval community made up of communications experts who process, transmit and analyze a wide variety of data.
Judge Advocate General
Corps that provides legal services and advice in all legal matters involving the Navy or the Command.
Joint Task Force
The combination of more than one military service.
Landing Signal Officer
Naval Aviators specifically trained to facilitate the safe recovery of aircraft aboard aircraft carriers.
Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
The senior most Enlisted member of the U.S. Navy.
Military Entrance Processing Station
Station where recruits take the ASVAB, physical exam, select a rating and take the Oath of Enlistment.
Medical Service Corps
Navy Officer Corps consisting of health-care administrators, optometrists, pharmacists, scientists and other specialized practitioners.
The Navy Exchange
A department store for military personnel and their families.
Naval Flight Officer
Officer who specializes in aircraft weapons and sensor systems (2nd seat in the cockpit).
Navy Knowledge Online
For more information, please visit Navy Knowledge Online.
Navy Reserve Order Writing System
Someone without any previous military experience.
Navy Recruiting Command
Main headquarters for Navy recruiting, located in Millington, Tennessee.
Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps
A college scholarship program used to recruit future commissioned Officers for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center
Center that provides training and service to aircrews and squadrons.
Officer Candidate School
A 12-week training program designed to give Officers a working knowledge of the Navy. It is the equivalent to Officer Boot Camp.
Officer in Charge
A commissioned Navy Officer in charge of an organization, facility or function, responsible for a group of Officers and Sailors in the organization.
Public Affairs Officer
Officer responsible for preparing and disseminating information relative to military operations through news releases, photographs, radio and television, and other informational material.
Physical Fitness Assessment
A required basic physical test conducted to determine the physical fitness of Navy personnel.
An inspection of a recruit’s personal appearance and uniform.
Boot Camp graduation.
Projected Rotation Date
Date on which a Navy Officer or Sailor’s next duty station is established based on their pay grade and community.
Physical Readiness Test
A required basic physical test conducted to determine the physical fitness of Navy personnel.
Recruit Drill/Division Commander
Sailor responsible for training recruits at the Navy Recruit Training Command (RTC).
A Line Officer is a commissioned Officer who is not eligible for sea command.
Recruit Training Command
Campus located in Great Lakes, Illinois, where Navy recruits train to become Sailors. Also known as Boot Camp.
Members of the Navy Special Operations Force who specialize in direct action and special reconnaissance missions.
Secretary of the Navy
Civilian head of the Department of the Navy, responsible for conducting all affairs related to the Department.
Sick In Quarters
Term used when a medical condition or injury is such that in-hospital care is not required to return the patient to a full- or limited-duty status.
Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (pronounced: swick)
Navy Special Operations Force member who operates the inventory of boats used for mission support.
Surface Warfare Officer
Navy Officer Corps who pilot, operate and manage a surface ship such as destroyers and cruisers.
Temporary Additional Duty
A temporary assignment of additional duty.
Uniform Code of Military Justice
The foundation of all military law in the United States, applicable to all members of uniformed services of the United States.
Unrestricted Line Officer
Officer of the line in the U.S. Navy who is qualified to command ships, subs and aviation units and can rise to high Navy leadership positions such as CNO.
United States Navy
The sea branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
United States Naval Academy
The undergraduate college in Annapolis, Maryland, that educates and commissions Navy Officers and Marine Corps Officers.
Weapons System Officer
Specific to the F/A-18F and F/A-18D aircrafts, an Officer who specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems.
Naval Officer who is second in command, reporting to the Commanding Officer (CO).
Loose from moorings and out of control. Applied to anything lost or out of hand.
Towards the stern (tail) of a ship.
The entire ship’s company, both Officer and Enlisted.
An amount of money a Sailor has coming out of regular pay.
AVIATION BOATSWAIN'S MATE
Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (AB) work with naval aircraft on land and on flight decks at sea, specializing in anything from aircraft launch and recovery (ABE) to aircraft fueling (ABF) to aircraft handling (ABH).
Response acknowledging the understanding of a command/statement.
A building where Sailors live when ashore.
Downstairs, like the next deck below.
Non-aviation rate for Enlisted personnel as well as Officers. A “shoe” is a ship driver/Surface Warfare Officer.
A Sailor who has crossed either the Arctic or Antarctic Circle. Also applies to Officers.
The oldest rate in the Navy, Boatswain’s Mates (BM) are “jack-of-all-trades” Sailors who perform general seamanship duties on board Navy ships – everything from ship maintenance to loading/unloading cargo and supplies.
The forward part of a ship or boat.
Brass or shiny metal kept polished rather than painted.
Aviation rate Enlisted personnel.
An anchored float used as an aid to navigation or to mark the location of an object.
An order to resume work or duties.
To throw off, to let go, to unfurl.
Compartment in which anchor chain is stowed.
Forms used to request taking leave, a day off, etc.
Coupon or receipt booklet.
(MESS DECK) A place to eat.
Raising and lowering of the National Ensign, the American flag and organization flags.
CUP OF JOE
A cup of coffee. Named after Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy 1913–1921, who under General Order 99 in June 1914 prohibited the use of alcohol on board U.S. Navy ships.
To dispose of or throw away.
The general work force of the Navy and Navy Reserve – generally requires a high school diploma (or GED) as a minimum educational requirement, completion of Recruit Training and training in an occupational specialty area.
The rank of an Officer between Chief Warrant Officer and Lieutenant Junior Grade.
A unit of length equal to 6 feet used for measuring the depth of water.
Full-blown cleaning, sort of like spring cleaning in overdrive.
The Officer responsible to the XO for the deck department/division aboard ship.
Any commissioned Officer in pay grade 0–7 or above.
An opening in the bulwark or lifeline that provides access to a brow or accommodation ladder; when shouted means to get out of the way.
A storage room.
Candy, gum or cafeteria, sometimes called pogey bait.
GRAD AND GO
A Boot Camp graduate who leaves for the next duty station three hours after graduation.
The equipment used in mooring or anchoring a ship.
Access box to sound-powered phone circuitry.
A device to move personnel from one level to another. Stairs.
Authorized absence, like vacation.
Permission to leave the base, usually for not more than 48 hours.
Lines erected around the weather decks of a ship to prevent personnel from falling or being washed over the side.
A life-size model ship where recruits practice mooring, line handling, putting out to sea and other aspects of basic seamanship.
The crew’s dining area.
A 90-day obligated duty working on the mess decks when first reporting aboard. (aka MESS-CRANK’N)
The midnight watch, the most dreaded watch because one loses the most sleep out of the rotation.
Reserve component of the U.S. Navy in which part-time Sailors and Officers are called into Active Duty, or mobilized, as needed.
The leadership and management team of the Navy and Navy Reserve – generally requires a degree from a four-year college or university and completion of an Officer Training program.
Volunteer who is the well-trained link between Sailors and their families.
“Processing days.” When recruits first arrive at Boot Camp, they are issued initial equipment, uniforms and supplies.
A place on a waterway with facilities for loading and unloading ships.
The left side of a nautical vessel.
Assembling all hands for muster. Also refers to a home on base, a residence.
A job specialty title.
A signal signifying the start of a workday.
A place to wash dishes.
Originally meant to describe a water fountain. Quickly became a place Sailors would gather and talk. Term now used primarily for rumors and rumor control.
To stop or quit work.
Medical facility located in a hospital, aid station or on board ship.
Anyone who works in the Engineering department.
The right side of a nautical vessel.
The aft part (rear) of a ship or boat.
Cleaning ritual that involves sweeping assigned areas.
Lights out, time for sleep.
Working above the highest deck, generally performing maintenance on the ship’s mast.