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Three Pairs of Naval Boards to identify


linasl
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Hello everyone.

I have three pairs of US Navy kit I would like to identify, including rank and approximate period.  As I think the two shoulder boards are quite old, I could not easily reference them on Google.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.  Linas

 

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Shoulder boards with little or no curve, and left facing eagles on the buttons are WWII era. The eagle changed direction in May 1941.


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  • 5 months later...
Jim Morris
On 9/3/2020 at 6:27 PM, Bearmon said:

Cadet, Ensign, Cadet hat device  

 

What the Army would call "Cadets" are known in the Naval Service as "Midshipmen", with the exception of Aviation Cadets.

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I wore those exact same shoulder boards - the ones with just the star - (granted, a few decades later...) at Officer Candidate School as an officer candidate. 

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Justin B.

Yeah I guess to be technical those boards were either "cadet" or "candidate" depending on the program, but also were not "midshipman" (USNA, NROTC, V-7).

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  • 6 months later...

Dave - Were you OCS or AOCS (or their reserve subsets)?

 

When Dad went through the 16 week OCS program at Newport in 1958, the uniforms for officer candidates were slightly different. I believe the changes were made in early Sixties.

 

During his period of attendance, candidates, like Dad who came into the Navy after college graduation, were enlisted into the special rate of officer candidate seaman apprentice (OCSA/E-2). Dad's class was unique in that it had recent college graduates training with fleet personnel selected for the then "Seaman to Admiral" Program. These individuals retained their paygrade and converted to special rating of officer candidate. For example a PN2 became a temporary OC2, a YNC became a temporary OCC, and the lone warrant went from a Boatswain to a temporary Officer Candidate Warrant-WO1 (OC). Crazy!  The chief petty officers and sole warrant were grouped together in one company. All other candidates, fleet and OCSAs, were commingled throughout rest of the battalion.

 

His Class attended from mid-April until mid-August. For first 8 weeks E-6 and below first wore the winter blue undress enlisted jumper (later summer undress white jumper) with seaman apprentice or petty officer insignia and service stripes (if appropriate) on left sleeve and an OC patch on the shoulder, as well as Dixie Cup hat. The chiefs wore khaki service dress (pre-1975 version with long sleeves, tie and jacket) with rating badges and service stripes on left sleeve and "OC" patch on shoulder, as well as combination cap with chief's device on black band, front black chinstrap. The warrant also wore khaki along with his Boatswain shoulder boards with "OC" patch on shoulder. Similar to his chief classmates the warrant  wore combination cap with warrant device on black band and front quarter inch gold chinstrap. For rifle drill and work details everyone wore dungarees and chambray (?) shirt, with E-6 and below wearing Dixie Cup hats and the chiefs/warrant wearing combination cover with respective devices and chinstrap. For the "Day Cruise" on board one of the destroyers stationed at Newport, E-6 and below for summer undress jumpers and chiefs/warrant wore dungarees and chambray shirt with combination caps.

 

During the 9th week everyone transitioned into an "officer-like" uniform. Being now late June, E-6 and below ditched the sailor jumper and donned service dress khaki with "midshipman 4th class" shoulder boards, and OC patch on left shoulder-probably to distinguish them from USNA/NROTC, The chiefs took off their rating patches and service stripes and added midshipman shoulder boards keeping the OC patch on left shoulder. In realty I suspect most, if not all, went and got a officer coat with shoulder loops. Also, one or two chiefs did not make it to commissioning and reverted back to their previous chief's rate.** The warrant officer had it the simplest! All he did was swap his Boatswain shoulder boards for those of a midshipman 4th class. ALL candidates now wore same headgear: combination cap with midshipman fouled anchor device on black band with 1/4 inch gold chinstrap.

 

Dad's class was held during the Spring/Summer months. Classes in Fall/Winter had a similar arrangement. E-6 and below wore jumpers, and chiefs/warrants wore service dress khaki or service dress blue during first 8 weeks. Final eight weeks everyone wore service dress blue (officer) with nothing on lower sleeves, OC patch on left shoulder and a midshipman anchor device for upper notch of each coat lapel. Basically a midshipman 4th class coat with "OC" patch on left shoulder.  Sometime in early 1960s this changed to the uniform(s) similar to that worn today at OCS.  

 

The shoulder boards we have come to associate with officer candidates and made famous in the movie, "Officer and A Gentleman" had its origins in the wartime aviation officer procurement program. First worn by WWII NAVCADs to later include all aviation officer candidates in pre-commissioning phase of training. I could be wrong. I need to go back and do research again, it's been over a decade.

 

**one footnote. You would think that all the chiefs had a leg up in this iteration of OCS. The majority did; a few struggled with the transition from enlisted to officer.  My father remembered at least one OCC who did not make the academic cut.  Dad ran into him years a few later in the fleet. The "chief" after being dropped from OCS had been selected for the initial crop of Navy senior chiefs/master chiefs. These two new senior enlisted pay grades had been established by law while Dad's OCS class was in session. Even then he heard scuttlebutt coming from Alpha Company of his chief classmates discussing vigorously on the pros/cons of staying with the commissioning program or returning to the fleet and trying for E-8/E-9.  The chief who had dropped from the program at the end actually was picked up for master chief, due to his seniority as a chief. Dad met up with him again to find the former OCS drop-out had made chief warrant officer. When Dad met him he had progressed to CWO-4.  And truth be told, the 1950s iteration of the "Seaman-to-Admiral" Program didn't work too well for those enlisted with more than 10 years of service and little to no college. The LDO/CWO programs would have suited them better career-wise, or even remaining enlisted and seeking promotion senior chief/master chief instead.

 

Below is a photo of my Dad during his first week at OCS. Not a happy beginning!

Officer Candidate School 1958.JPG

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2 hours ago, tafh63 said:

Dave - Were you OCS or AOCS (or their reserve subsets)?

 

 

What a great post! Lots of information that I didn't know, to be honest.

 

I was in OCS, so post-AOCS (which ended in 1993) and we all attended in Pensacola, Florida. I was lucky enough to start in July (I look back on that saying to myself "what on earth were you thinking??? Summer OCS in Florida????) and was commissioned 13 weeks later in October.

 

For the first week, we wore the plain olive green trousers (like the old-style Army ones...for all I know, that's what they were), a white t-shirt with our name stenciled on it and a "chrome dome" beat to death helmet liner. Can't forget the canteen and belt, of course. LOL And we wore our own "go-fasters" or tennis shoes that we brought with us. We were definitely a motley-looking bunch, for certain. 

 

My class was made up of 54 (to start; we graduated 48, losing about a dozen and picking up several who failed back from other classes) and the only thing I really remember about the first week was using my tiny (a pinky-nail sized) piece of Nevr Dull to take the coating off my two brass belt buckles (so we could then polish them, and they could tarnish if we didn't). 

 

After the first week, we got to change out of the first uniforms into what we'd wear for the remainder of our time at OCS, which was the short-sleeved khaki shirt (not worn anywhere else that I was aware of) matching trousers, and the visor hat with vinyl cover. The latter became gross over time because we'd sweat profusely in them and the vinyl basically made a greenhouse on our heads...the number of covers that you'd see that were literally growing mold inside would undoubtedly be a health hazard today. We all wore black shoes and it was a competition to see who could wear down the back edges of their heels in order to exemplify to our drill instructors that we were "motivated" by slamming our heels into the deck while marching (I vividly remember my drill instructor yelling "one HEEL, one HEEL" as we'd march. We honestly sucked at drill...) 

 

We wore that uniform up until our commissioning, even as "candidate officers" in the last two weeks. Our PT gear changed from pain white T-shirts to the branded OCS T-shirts based on our status passing major inspections, but otherwise, we kept the same khaki uniform for day-to-day wear. 

 

Sadly, I recorded everything in an almost day-to-day e-mail journal (back when we used to have communal computers to send e-mails) to my then-girlfriend, but when we broke up, I deleted everything...and there went my whole personal history of OCS. Agh... 😭

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4 hours ago, tafh63 said:

Dave - Were you OCS or AOCS (or their reserve subsets)?

 

When Dad went through the 16 week OCS program at Newport in 1958, the uniforms for officer candidates were slightly different. I believe the changes were made in early Sixties.

 

During his period of attendance, candidates, like Dad who came into the Navy after college graduation, were enlisted into the special rate of officer candidate seaman apprentice (OCSA/E-2). Dad's class was unique in that it had recent college graduates training with fleet personnel selected for the then "Seaman to Admiral" Program. These individuals retained their paygrade and converted to special rating of officer candidate. For example a PN2 became a temporary OC2, a YNC became a temporary OCC, and the lone warrant went from a Boatswain to a temporary Officer Candidate Warrant-WO1 (OC). Crazy!  The chief petty officers and sole warrant were grouped together in one company. All other candidates, fleet and OCSAs, were commingled throughout rest of the battalion.

 

His Class attended from mid-April until mid-August. For first 8 weeks E-6 and below first wore the winter blue undress enlisted jumper (later summer undress white jumper) with seaman apprentice or petty officer insignia and service stripes (if appropriate) on left sleeve and an OC patch on the shoulder, as well as Dixie Cup hat. The chiefs wore khaki service dress (pre-1975 version with long sleeves, tie and jacket) with rating badges and service stripes on left sleeve and "OC" patch on shoulder, as well as combination cap with chief's device on black band, front black chinstrap. The warrant also wore khaki along with his Boatswain shoulder boards with "OC" patch on shoulder. Similar to his chief classmates the warrant  wore combination cap with warrant device on black band and front quarter inch gold chinstrap. For rifle drill and work details everyone wore dungarees and chambray (?) shirt, with E-6 and below wearing Dixie Cup hats and the chiefs/warrant wearing combination cover with respective devices and chinstrap. For the "Day Cruise" on board one of the destroyers stationed at Newport, E-6 and below for summer undress jumpers and chiefs/warrant wore dungarees and chambray shirt with combination caps.

 

During the 9th week everyone transitioned into an "officer-like" uniform. Being now late June, E-6 and below ditched the sailor jumper and donned service dress khaki with "midshipman 4th class" shoulder boards, and OC patch on left shoulder-probably to distinguish them from USNA/NROTC, The chiefs took off their rating patches and service stripes and added midshipman shoulder boards keeping the OC patch on left shoulder. In realty I suspect most, if not all, went and got a officer coat with shoulder loops. Also, one or two chiefs did not make it to commissioning and reverted back to their previous chief's rate.** The warrant officer had it the simplest! All he did was swap his Boatswain shoulder boards for those of a midshipman 4th class. ALL candidates now wore same headgear: combination cap with midshipman fouled anchor device on black band with 1/4 inch gold chinstrap.

 

Dad's class was held during the Spring/Summer months. Classes in Fall/Winter had a similar arrangement. E-6 and below wore jumpers, and chiefs/warrants wore service dress khaki or service dress blue during first 8 weeks. Final eight weeks everyone wore service dress blue (officer) with nothing on lower sleeves, OC patch on left shoulder and a midshipman anchor device for upper notch of each coat lapel. Basically a midshipman 4th class coat with "OC" patch on left shoulder.  Sometime in early 1960s this changed to the uniform(s) similar to that worn today at OCS.  

 

The shoulder boards we have come to associate with officer candidates and made famous in the movie, "Officer and A Gentleman" had its origins in the wartime aviation officer procurement program. First worn by WWII NAVCADs to later include all aviation officer candidates in pre-commissioning phase of training. I could be wrong. I need to go back and do research again, it's been over a decade.

 

**one footnote. You would think that all the chiefs had a leg up in this iteration of OCS. The majority did; a few struggled with the transition from enlisted to officer.  My father remembered at least one OCC who did not make the academic cut.  Dad ran into him years a few later in the fleet. The "chief" after being dropped from OCS had been selected for the initial crop of Navy senior chiefs/master chiefs. These two new senior enlisted pay grades had been established by law while Dad's OCS class was in session. Even then he heard scuttlebutt coming from Alpha Company of his chief classmates discussing vigorously on the pros/cons of staying with the commissioning program or returning to the fleet and trying for E-8/E-9.  The chief who had dropped from the program at the end actually was picked up for master chief, due to his seniority as a chief. Dad met up with him again to find the former OCS drop-out had made chief warrant officer. When Dad met him he had progressed to CWO-4.  And truth be told, the 1950s iteration of the "Seaman-to-Admiral" Program didn't work too well for those enlisted with more than 10 years of service and little to no college. The LDO/CWO programs would have suited them better career-wise, or even remaining enlisted and seeking promotion senior chief/master chief instead.

 

Below is a photo of my Dad during his first week at OCS. Not a happy beginning!

Officer Candidate School 1958.JPG

I did not know any of this !  This is amazing. I have seen the “OC” patches, but no one knew what they were. Thank you for this post!

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Justin B.
5 hours ago, tafh63 said:

 

When Dad went through the 16 week OCS program at Newport in 1958, the uniforms for officer candidates were slightly different. I believe the changes were made in early Sixties.

 

This is great information, thanks!

 

The Officer Candidate patch appeared in the uniform regs as early as 1952.

usn_oc_patch.jpg.506cf60334d9399e4a0b6dfa0751cee3.jpg

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Salvage Sailor
8 hours ago, tafh63 said:

 

**one footnote. You would think that all the chiefs had a leg up in this iteration of OCS. The majority did; a few struggled with the transition from enlisted to officer.  My father remembered at least one OCC who did not make the academic cut.  Dad ran into him years a few later in the fleet. The "chief" after being dropped from OCS had been selected for the initial crop of Navy senior chiefs/master chiefs. These two new senior enlisted pay grades had been established by law while Dad's OCS class was in session. Even then he heard scuttlebutt coming from Alpha Company of his chief classmates discussing vigorously on the pros/cons of staying with the commissioning program or returning to the fleet and trying for E-8/E-9.  The chief who had dropped from the program at the end actually was picked up for master chief, due to his seniority as a chief. Dad met up with him again to find the former OCS drop-out had made chief warrant officer. When Dad met him he had progressed to CWO-4.  And truth be told, the 1950s iteration of the "Seaman-to-Admiral" Program didn't work too well for those enlisted with more than 10 years of service and little to no college. The LDO/CWO programs would have suited them better career-wise, or even remaining enlisted and seeking promotion senior chief/master chief instead.

 

 

Aboard my Salvage ships we only had (7) Officers and of those, three were Mustangs (including the CO), Two were ROTC grads and the other two were Warrants.  30 days prior to when the Warrants reached their retirement date, they 'reverted' their rank to Master Chief, giving up their Warrant status, to collect higher retirement benefits as a Master Chief.

 

There ya go......more USN trivia.

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3 hours ago, Salvage Sailor said:

 

Aboard my Salvage ships we only had (7) Officers and of those, three were Mustangs (including the CO), Two were ROTC grads and the other two were Warrants.  30 days prior to when the Warrants reached their retirement date, they 'reverted' their rank to Master Chief, giving up their Warrant status, to collect higher retirement benefits as a Master Chief.

 

There ya go......more USN trivia.

And, that was by pretty common. 

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I went through OCS in Newport, RI in 1979 from July through 2 November 1979.  We wore khakis up til I believe October then shifted into Winter Working Blues (black shirt, black pants). We graduated in Service Dress Blues. I don't remember wearing whites except may Quarterdeck watch but don't remember.

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