What are the oldest ratings in the US Navy?

Still reeling from the loss of our rates, it’s always important to keep one eye on the past. Since the formation of the Continental Navy in 1775, ratings have been an important distinction between the individual skill sets of sailors aboard warships. Indeed, the Continental (and later the United States) Navy’s ratings are based on the ratings and insignias of the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy’s ratings go back even further, and it’s impossible to tell where they all originated.fcpo

The oldest ratings in the US Navy are Quartermaster, Gunner’s Mate, and Boatswain’s Mate. Additionally, the term “Yeoman” was often used in reference to sailors responsible for administration onboard a ship, however, the rate would not exist until 1835.

Further, rates that would eventually be converted into other rates existed, including ship’s cook (which eventually became Culinary Specialists), Ship’s Carpenter (which could be argued eventually evolved into Hull Technicians).

The majority of rates in the Navy originally stemmed from some other rating. With exceptions such as Fire Controlmen, Sonar Technicians, Information Technicians, and pretty much any rate that has the word “technician” in it, all rates came from something. Can you imagine a wooden ship not having somebody that might today be called a Damage Controlman?

For brevity’s sake, we refer to the original rates as BM, GM, and QM. So when a cook tells you that CS was one of the original rates in the Navy, they’re wrong and the macaroni and cheese tastes like feet. Tell them that. Tell them that specifically, and remember to use your tray as a shield to block the half-frozen hamburger patties they’ll throw like ninja stars. Just because they’re not one of the original ratings doesn’t mean they’re any less-skilled at throwing questionable meat products.

Remember to celebrate the ratings that once were with one of our excellent rating coins, shirts and more!