Marks, Specialty Marks and Distinguishing Marks of the Sea Services
Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:15 PM
By Daniel D. Smith, Sr.
In John A. Stacey’s excellent work United States Navy Rating Badges and Marks 1833 to 2008, he included chapters on “Specialty Marks” and “Distinguishing Marks.”
The first mention of “marks” for enlisted personnel was in the Navy Regulations of 1833 which proscribed “marks of distinction” for petty officers. An anchor mark worn on the right sleeve for Boatswain’s mates, gunner’s mates, carpenter’s mates, masters at arms, ship’s stewards and ship’s cooks.
Quartermasters, quarter gunners, captains of the forecastle, captains of the tops, armorers, coopers, ship’s corporals and captains of the hold to wear the anchor mark on their left sleeve.
The 1841 regulations instituted an eagle over the anchor for the petty officer mark.
In 1866 eight marks were introduced to be worn with the petty officer mark. These new marks were to distinguish the job function of the wearer. These were the first “specialty” marks. The original specialties were Master at Arms, Gunner’s mates, Coxswains, Boatswain’s mates, Quartermasters, Carpenter’s mates, Captain of the tops and Sailmaker’s mate. The marks were worn on the right or left sleeve depending on which “watch” section the sailor belonged to, either “Port” or “Starboard” watch section.
Distinguishing marks were first introduced in the 1905 USN uniform regulations. While a number of these were in use well before 1905, they were called “marks” before 1905. Distinguishing marks (DMs) were utilized to distinguish personnel who had met specific qualifications in addition to qualifications required for their rating. Distinguishing marks were also issued to personnel who were members of crews attaining merit in approved competitions such as gunnery exercises and engineering readiness. Some specialty marks are also used as distinguishing marks examples of this usage are bugler and signalman. The placement of marks and distinguishing marks changed a number of times between 1866 and 1948.
(Photo-3, 1918 era)
This thread is intended to highlight rare, scarce or popular “marks,” “distinguishing marks,” “apprentice marks,” and “specialty marks” of the Sea Services (USN, USCG and USMC).
Two examples of the bugler distinguishing mark. On the left is the USN used from 1912-1948 and on the right is the more scarce USCG version used from 1915-1920.
Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:47 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:52 PM
Edited by dpcsdan, 15 February 2013 - 01:53 PM.
Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:58 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 02:03 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:01 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:05 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:18 PM
Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:30 PM
Worn by enlisted personnel through the grade of chief petty officer for those having passed through the apprentice training program.
Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:21 PM
Enlisted submariner qualified "dolphins" distinguishing mark in never authorized bullion.
A quick snap, lighting makes it look yellow:
Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:48 AM
A quick snap, lighting makes it look yellow:
Was this on the sleeve of the jumper or on the very short lived over the pocket configuration?
Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:49 AM
It was on the sleeve, he was discharged at the end of WWII.
Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:51 PM
Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:05 PM
You see the bullion dolphins a lot on cpo uniforms and rarely on po1-po3 uniforms,
True, the example posted was from a jumper.
Posted 15 June 2013 - 04:09 PM
No other rare or interesting USN distinguishing marks out there?
Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:52 AM
Sailmakers Mate(1893-1939) and Underwater Mechanic-unauthorized but possibly worn for about two months(02 April 1948- 09 June 1948) before being replaced with Exclusive Emergency Service Rating ESM [Underwater Mechanic] Specialist M
Posted 16 June 2013 - 11:01 AM
Two beautiful Navy Diver DMs( Salvage Diver and Master Diver) in bullion on khaki.
Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:56 AM
Choir member DM with photo of usage. WWII and possibly through the 1950s usage.
Anyone have any knowledge of the "Choir" DM? Boot camp only usage maybe?
Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:11 AM
Perhaps it looks this way in the obverse side, Jay? Amphibious distinguishing mark shown.
Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:58 AM
Attached is a look at USN enlisted uniform - Unit Identification Marks (UIMs). Also referred to as shoulder tabs. I posted a longer history in the Uniform section.
Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:39 AM
Various officer and enlisted submarine qualified marks (bullion not officially authorized)
Posted 06 February 2016 - 06:17 AM
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