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Old 01-23-2012, 11:46 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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Navy men: what's the difference between a rank and a rating?

I see navy ranks such as petty officer, seaman first class and such. I also see men refer to themselves as gunners mate, boatswains mate, etc...

What is the difference? Is the rating not related to the rank but only shows your "profession?" Or do certain ratings automatically go with certain ranks and vice versa?
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:55 AM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Good explanation here:

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/ranks/rankrate.html
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:56 AM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
I see navy ranks such as petty officer, seaman first class and such. I also see men refer to themselves as gunners mate, boatswains mate, etc...

What is the difference? Is the rating not related to the rank but only shows your "profession?" Or do certain ratings automatically go with certain ranks and vice versa?
I think both a Seaman or a petty officer can be a gunners mate or boatswain, etc. One is a rank the other is job (or position) on a boat.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:30 PM
SeldomSeen SeldomSeen is offline
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Technically, rank only applies to officers, and reflects their level of authority and pay. Among enlisted personnel, everyone has a rate and a rating. Rate is the enlisted equivalent of rank...the level of authority & pay (petty officer 1st class, chief petty officer, etc.). Rating is the particular job or skill set (yeoman, gunner's mate, quartermaster, etc.).

To confuse things further, the lowest three rates, E1, E2, E3 do not have formal ratings, but only four general fields. For the maritime fields an E1 is a seaman recruit, an E2 is a seaman apprentice, an E3 is a seaman. For mechanical people it is Fireman recruit, etc.; For Aircraft types, Airman; For Seabees, Constructionman. Most of these have "striker" ratings which indicates the particular specialty they are working toward.

The petty officers (E4, P.O. 3rd class; E5, P.O. 2nd class; E6 P.O. 1st class) all have their specialty rating (yeoman, gunner's mate, quartermaster, etc.). Some may also have special designations such as trainer, liason, and so forth.

Confused yet? in the realm of senior enlisted (E7, chief petty officer; E8, senior chief P.O., E9, master Chief P.O.) the ratings get combined again. Basically the navy figures that by the time one reaches senior status he or she is capable of taking on supervision of several similar areas. For example, in the Seabees (the navy's construction sector) the seven ratings that apply to Seabees are combined into three more general fields; planning & engineering, heavy equipment & mechanical, and building trades.

We will not here get into the various divisions among officer ranks, nor the warrent officers who happily occupy a kind of no-man's land, neither fish nor fowl. I should also add that this is pretty much how thing were when I was a Seabee some 30 years ago. Things have probably changed somewhat since then.
SS
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:10 PM
Monty Monty is offline
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To make it even more confusing, in the US Navy, not only do the lowest three Enlisted paygrades have general fields, those paygrades are further divided into two groups:
  1. Strikers. These are individuals who have been designated as striking for a particular rating, such as Yeoman. Althoug they will be referred to as Yeoman Seaman, for example, they do not have a rating. There are a couple of ways of receiving designation; by graduating from a Class "A" school or passing the Navy-wide Enlisted advancement examination for a particular rating but not achieving a high enough advancement score (total of various factors, one of which is the advancement exam score).
  2. Nonstrikers. These are individuals who have not been designated as described in 1.
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