U.S. Navy Ratings in World War II
Enlisted uniform patches seen aboard Abbot
A navy rating refered to an enlisted sailor’s job specialty. Most ratings had a unique symbol that appeared on uniform sleeves, although during World War II some ratings shared a common symbol. For example, shipfitters, molders and metalsmiths all wore an icon of crossed hammers.
Ratings badges shown here are taken from a variety of wartime uniforms, including whites, khakis, grays and navy blues. They represent typical ratings that were billeted aboard Abbot and other destroyers during World War II. Most badges exist in each of the uniform styles shown, although gray uniforms were relatively rare. Sometimes the year of manufacture was sewn or stamped on the back of the patch; this was especially common during World War II.
The unusual Officer’s Steward and Cook rating badge (technically known as a distinguishing mark) was worn on the left sleeve. In 1943, the rating was changed to Steward.
Enlisted pay grades, confusingly known as rates, are explained separately.
Complete Guide to United States Navy Badges and Insignia, by James G. Thompson