Service members sign a contract to serve for a limited time frame. Sailors in pay grades E-1 through E-3 (Seaman Recruit-to-Seaman) are considered in the apprentice phase of their career and are learning their core skills. They are usually either in some kind of training status or on their initial assignment. The training includes the basic phase where recruits are immersed in military culture and values. Each Sailor also has a job speciality ranging in categories such as administration, aviation, construction, dental, engineering, hull, medical or weapons.
|No insignia||Seaman Recruit (SR, E1): The paygrade E1 are Seaman Recruit (SR), Hospitalman Recruit (HR), Airman Recruit (AR), Fireman Recruit (FR), and Constructionman Recruit (CR). They are the most junior enlisted rate. They do not bear any uniform rate insignia, which would normally be worn on the left sleeve.|
|Seaman Apprentice (SA, E2): E2s are Seaman Apprentice (SA), Hospitalman Apprentice (HA), Airman Apprentice (AA), Fireman (FA) Apprentice, and Constructionman Apprentice (CA) and are the second most junior enlisted rank in the Navy. The actual title for an E2 varies based on the community to which the Sailor belongs, as does the color of their group rate marks. White stripes on the Navy Blue Uniform and Navy Blue stripes on the White Uniform denote Seaman Apprentice (duties include deck, line-handlling and navigation) and Hospital Apprentice (duties include medical- and health-related functions). Red stripes denote Firemen Apprentice (duties include ship engineering and maintenance such as bolier room operations, fire room operations and assiting in ship-to-ship transfer at sea of fuel and supplies). Green stripes denote Airmen Apprentice (duties include aviation-related fuctions such as aircraft maintenance, supply procurement). Light blue stripes denote the Seabees (duties include construction-related fucntions such as operating equipment, installing electrical wiring and paving roads).|
|Seaman (SN, E3): E3 paygrades, Seaman (SN), Hospitalman (HN), Airman (AN), Fireman (FN) and Constructionman (CN) are the highest non-rated ranks in the Navy.|
Petty officers are enlisted members who range from technicians to supervisors of work centers.
|Petty Officer Third Class (PO3, E4): As the most junior of Petty Officers, they are continuing to train in their field and learning to be leaders. Their advancement is contingent on performance evalutations by their superiors and rate examinations. A Petty Officer’s full title is a combination of both rate and rating. For example, a Petty Officer Third Class with a rating of Fire Control Technician would be called a “Fire Control Technician Third Class.” For E4 to E9, the Sailor’s specific rating is shown on their rank patch between the crow and the chevron. The image to the left shows the crossed anchors for the Boatswain’s Mate rating|
|Petty Officer Second Class (PO2, E5): Similar to Petty Officer Third Class, advancement to Petty Officer Second Class is dependent on time in service, performance evaluations by superiors, and rate (technical specialty) examinations. The advancement cycle is currently every 6 months.|
|Petty Officer First Class (PO1, E6): Normally serving as Leading Petty Officer of a Division or Work Center, they may direct the activities of a division in the absence of the division Chief Petty Officer.|
|Chief Petty Officer (CPO, E7): As the first of the CPOs and unlike the lower rates, advancement to Chief Petty Officer not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and specialty examinations, but also the requirement of peer review. Advancement into the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval rates. As a Chief, the Sailor takes on more leadership responsibilities; hence, their uniform changes to reflect this, becoming similar to that of an officer albeit with different insignia. Chief Petty Officer also have conspicuous privileges such as separate dining and living areas. Chief Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis on leadership as they progress through the CPO rates. A recognized, collateral duty for all chiefs is the training of Junior Officers.|
|Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO, E8): Referred to as “Senior Chief” or “Senior.”, advancement to Senior Chief Petty Officer is similar to that of Chief Petty Officer. It is the first promotion based entirely on proven leadership performance where test scores do not play a part. A Chief Petty Officer can only advance if a board of Master Chiefs approve, convened every year around March. As with Chief Petty Officers, a Senior Chief Petty Officer takes on even more leadership responsibilites.|
|Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO, E9): One of the most senior rates, they are referred to as “Master Chief.” Advancement to Senior Chief Petty Officer is through a selection board process.|
|Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMC, E9): Generally, the most senior enlisted Sailor of a command serves as the Command Master Chief. Master Chiefs also hold the senior enlisted advisor position for Force and Fleet Commands with the title Force or Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer, respectively.|
|Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON, E9): Serves as adviser to the CNO on enlisted personnel matters. The MCPON is the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the entire Navy. They are selected by the Chief of Naval Operations. Their exact duties vary, depending on the CNO, though they generally devote much of their time to traveling throughout the Navy observing training and talking to Sailors and their families.