Die Gorch Fockis a tall ship of the German Navy (Deutsche Marine). She is the second ship of that name as a sister ship of the Gorch Fock built in 1933. Both are named in honor of the German writer Johann Kinau who wrote under the pseudonym “Gorch Fock” and died in the battle of Jutland/Skagerrak in 1916. The modern-day Gorch Fock was built in 1958 and had undertaken 146 cruises by 2006, including a tour around the world in 1988. She is under the command of the Naval Academy in Flensburg-Mürwik.
One of the fun things about Kevin Spacey is you never know where you might find him. Here he is at the Annapolis Cup croquet match between St.John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy. The community-wide event attracts several thousand people to the heart of Annapolis for a festive lawn party complete with outrageous costumes, old-fashioned picnics, swing dancing, and, of course, croquet competition. April 22, 2017
The moment I saw this photo, a torrent of great old memories came flooding into my consciousness….for a good reminiscing session inside my head!
This was me 40 years ago….spending every waking moment working, studying, practicing….as I learned the art of seamanship, the art of leadership, and the qualities necessary for one to succeed as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy.
Happy Birthday to Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen. He graduated the US Naval Academy in 1995. His dream of becoming a Navy SEAL was realized at age 27. He died during Operation Red Wings along with the 15 other men in the Chinook. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Sorry for the unfinished version of this post that came up earlier - my laptop glitched and posted early! Here’s the full post.
The Navy and the Coast Guard share a lot of traditions, one of which is having ranks (or, as these two services call them, “grades”) that bear no resemblance to those of our ground-pounding or air-watching brethren. Much like the Army, however, you can always count on the fact that lower numbers = lower ranks. Both the Navy and the Coast Guard will confuse things by having ratings as well as ranks, but we’ll stick with ranks here.
Where rank is worn depends on what uniform someone is in. In a Navy dress uniform, the rank is shown via a rank/rating badge on the sleeve. In the Coast Guard, enlisted members wear their rank insigna on both sleeves or on the collar, depending on the uniform. In coveralls (shared by both services), any type of camo (aka, the soon-to-be-defunct “digie blues”, aka NWU or newer NWU type III), it’s worn on the collar. Same thing with the black and tans.
Navy and Coast Guard uniforms are complicated; look for a post on that later. (Or you can check Wikipedia; it’s strangely accurate on this!). For now, let’s go back to ranks.
E-1 thru E-3: Seamen (and its many varieties)
E-1: Seaman Recruit This is your mark 1, mod 0 guy/gal fresh into the service. But because the Navy and the Coast Guard like to be complicated, the rank of E-1 has several variations:
Navy and Coast Guard: Seaman Recruit (SR) Fireman Recruit (FR) Airman Recruit (AR)
Navy only: Constructionman (CR) Hospitalman (HR)
E-2: Seaman Apprentice The Coast Guard advances new sailors straight to SA after graduating from boot camp. The Navy automatically advances sailors after six months. You can also jump straight to SA with enough time in a JROTC program. Again, you get the same variants as above, which turn into SA, FA, AA, CA, and HA.
E-3: Seaman Advancement is automatic, provided the CO approves. For the Coast Guard, 6 months time in grade is required. For the Navy, a Sailor must have one year’s time in service and at least 9 month’s time as a SA. Again, we have the same variants as above, now SN, FN, AN, CN, and HN.
All three Seaman ranks are commonly referred to as “Seaman <insert name here>”, like “Seaman Schmucketelly”. Someone is generally not referred to as “Seaman Recurit Schmucketelly”.
E-4 through E-6: Petty Officers
After advancing from Seaman, a Sailor must take advancement exams to reach the Petty Officer ranks (there are some specialty schools that will advance someone, but that’s part of the rating conversation). These grades are:
(E-4) Petty Officer Third Class (E-5) Petty Officer Second Class (E-6) Petty Officer First Class
These ranks indicate increasing responsibility. A Second Class or First Class may serve as a Work Center Supervisor, or a Leading Petty Officer in their division.
Basic Promotion Requirements:
E-3 to E-4: Coast Guard: CO’s recommendation, at least 6 months time-in-rate (TIR), or automatic upon graduation from either “A” school or a formal Striker Program. Navy: CO’s recommendation, 6 months TIR, 2 years time-in-service (TIS), or sometimes automatic upon graduation from “A” school.
E-4 to E-5: Coast Guard: CO’s recommendation, at least 6 months time-in-rate (TIR) and passing the advancement exam. Navy: CO’s recommendation, 12 months TIR, 3 years time-in-service (TIS) and passing the advancement exam.
E-4 to E-5: Coast Guard: CO’s recommendation, at least 12 years TIR and passing the advancement exam. Navy: CO’s recommendation, 36 months TIR, 7 years TIS , Completion of the Navy Leadership Training Continuum (LTC), and passing the advancement exam.
Keep in mind that although the Coast Guard’s requirements look easier, promotion quotas exist. Only so many sailors can be promoted each cycle, so the top performers are the ones who are advanced more quickly.
Petty Officers can be addressed as “Petty Officer Schmucketelly”, but they’re usually referred to by their rate, such as “BM2 Schmucketelly” (Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Schmucketelly) or just “BM2″. More on that in another post.
E-7 thru E-9: Chief Petty Officers
Chiefs are the backbone of the enlisted ranks in the Navy and the Coast Guard. They’re sometimes a law onto themselves, and serve as the enlisted leadership in any ship or unit. In order to make Chief Petty Officer (E-7), a Sailor must pass an exam and then their record goes before a promotion board.
Requirements: Coast Guard: CO’s recommendation, at least 2 years TIR and passing the advancement exam. Navy: CO’s recommendation, 36 months TIR, and 11 years TIS. [The TIS requirement can be waived for stellar candidates; I worked with a 7 year Chief who was one of the best I ever served with.]
Advancement from CPO to SCPO to MCPO depends entirely on record review, completion of leadership requirements, and TIR.
E-7 to E-8 Coast Guard: 2 years TIR Navy: 36 months TIR
E-9 to E-9 Coast Guard: 2 years TIR and completion of a Senior Enlisted Academy Navy: 36 months TIR and completion of a Senior Enlisted Academy
Master Chief and Senior Chief Petty Officers often serve as Senior Enlisted Advisors (SEL - usually Senior Chiefs), Chief of the Boat (subs), and Command Master Chiefs. They are the CO’s primary adviser on enlisted affairs. Although the CMC/COB/SEL won’t set policies, they’re the “bellybutton” of the command for enlisted morale, training, and other issues. This individual serves closely with the CO and usually has a very frank and open relationship with him/her.
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) is the senior enlisted member of the Navy. Same with the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG).
Chief are addressed either as “Chief”, “Chief Schmucketelly”, or as “BMC” (Boatswain’s Mate Chief).
Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs are generally just referred to as “Senior Chief” or “Master Chief”, with or without the addition of their name.
Other Enlisted Stuff:
Enlisted Sailors E-6 and below will often address one another with their last names, particularly ones that know one another well. First names are very rarely used, particularly not on duty.
No one will refer to a Chief as “sir” or “ma’am” - the immediate response from said Chief/Senior Chief/Master Chief will be that “I work for a living!”
I’ve also referred to “Rates” a lot, and I do promise to work on another post for that one. Basically, rates = specialties, and as is often said in the Navy, “Choose your rate, choose your fate”. Once you’re rated, you’re in that rate for the rest of your career, unless you cross-rate to another one.
The Oscars 2015 red carpet ushered in a new cool for the navy suit. Our two best dressed men were Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne in midnight blue Alexander McQueen and Ansel Elgort in navy and black Prada, both showing off how to do formal without a black tux.
For guys out there looking to try something new for an upcoming wedding or black-tie event, here are Wantering’s most coveted navy pieces.