Talk:Chief petty officer

Active discussions
WikiProject Military history (Rated Start-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality assessment scale.

time in gradeEdit

  • Does anyone know exactly how many months/years are required at PO1 before they're eligible to go for Chief? I have no idea. - Wguynes 03:53, Mar 27, 2004 (UTC)

Here are the Time In Rate (TIR) Requirements for U.S. Navy Enlisted Advancements (given in months): SR to SA = 9 (w/No exam); SA to SN = 9 (w/No exam); SN to PO3 = 6; PO3 to PO2 = 12; PO2 to PO1 = 36*; PO1 to CPO = 36*; CPO to SCPO = 36 (w/No exam); SCPO to MCPO = 36 (w/No exam). *May be waived up to 1 year for Early Promotes (EP's) for advancement to PO1 or CPO only. Source = U.S. Navy Advancement Center Based upon educational background, work background or incentives for advanced training, certain recruits may enter the Navy as SA or SN.

  • I used the insignia from the insignia table page. They're rather small and lacking in detail for use here, but better than nothing. If anyone finds higher quality, larger, and consistent-looking insignia for all the navy enlisted, please feel free to replace these. I think leaving the table page as the small ones is best, however, due to server load. - Wguynes 03:53, Mar 27, 2004 (UTC)

non-US military CPOsEdit

Perhaps someone could add something about non-US nations. According to this website located here, Chief Petty Officer is a Royal Navy (i.e. British Navy) rank, not just a U.S. one.

    • Are you volunteering? - Wguynes 00:41, May 3, 2004 (UTC)
      • I'm afraid not, or at least not at the moment. I just thought I'd mention the issue so someone else who knows more about the subject and/or has time to the neccesary research can make the neccesary additions to the entry. Perhaps after exams, and such finish I might do some research myself. Silverfish 00:09, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

Page move of Chief Petty Officer to Chief petty officerEdit

This is a title. My understanding is that it should be capitalized across all words. - Wguynes 20:18, May 15, 2004 (UTC)

Who's the one that keeps on stating that the RN has the rank of Warrant officer class 2? I only know of four NCO navy ranks Leading Rate, PO CPO and WO. No WO2 18:01, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2(WO2) was introduced in the Royal Navy in April 2004. It replaced the appointment of 'Charge Chief Petty Officer' for senior CPO technicians. LONDON 29/06/06

More on Chief Petty Officers in the U.S. NavyEdit

Advancement requirements: the time in rate required for advancement from Petty Officer First Class to Chief Petty Officer has varied over the years according to the needs of the Navy.

Initiation: The Chief's initiation was strictly a post World War II innovation. The initiate's sponsors designed and/or selected a "costume" for the initiate to wear during the initiation. The initiation consisted of a number of tests of "bravery" and "endurance" (in costume), a trial (in costume), and a swearing in (in uniform). At the trial, the initiate was "fined" for his (or her) offenses against the Chief Community. These fines always turned out to be less that what the initiate expected them to be (this was part of the ongoing initiation joke). Chief Petty Officer Clubs hosting these events used the fines to help defray the cost of the event and to pay for presentations and gifts to the selectee and his family. Typical, was one initiation where the selectee received a set of CPO insignia, a plaque commemorating the event, a free dinner for two at the CPO club, and several commemorative certificates. Ex-Chief Warrant Officers and Limited Duty Officers were always welcome at initiations. Any other commisioned officers were by invitation only. The initiation court consisted of a judge, a bailiff, a sheriff, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney of the initiate's choice. The jury consisted of all the CPO's present; the verdict was always guilty. The serious part of the ceremony usually concluded with a reading of the CPO Creed. The creed was written by Admiral Arleigh Burke during his watch as Chief of Naval Operations.

Participation: Participation in the initiation was entirely optional. However, anyone who chose not to undergo the process attached a permanent stigma to themselves. I have over the years run into several people who chose to forgo the CPO initiation. Generally, neither their peers nor their subordinates called them as chief but rather referred to them by their paygrade (E7).

Chief Petty Officer Selection Boards: The President of the Board, the Recorder and several other members are always commissioned officers. The other members of the board are always Master Chief Petty Officers. I think the average CPO board consists of around thirty-five or forty individuals.

Appointments to the grade of Chief Petty Officer seem to be ceremonial only. The NavPers Manual and its predecessor the Bupers Manual, Enlisted Service Record entries, and the U.S. public laws which govern the advancment of Naval enlisted personnel make no metion of appointments.

Forms of address: The last few years have seen the emergence of a trend to address Senior Chief Petty Officers and Master Chief Petty Officers as "Senior" and "Master" respectively. This seems to have been brought back by Chiefs who attended The Army and the Air Forces's senior enlisted leadership acadamies. This does not sit well with old timers who belive the most important thing in the title is the word "Chief."

Oldbubblehead 01:59, 24 April 2007 (UTC) RMCM(SS)/LCDR, USN,(retd)

Removed Famous Chief Petty OfficersEdit

I removed the Famous Chief Petty Officers section. It only contained one link, to Brian Craig. His page said nothing about him even being in the Navy. Athenastreet 00:12, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Other "Famous" Chief Petty Officers: John Tower CPO USNR, US Senator; Bob Feller CPO USN, MLB Hall of Famer

Questionable ClaimEdit

"Advancement into the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval ranks."

Two problems.

1) "Naval" in the US parlance means the Navy AND the Marines. The Marines probably think advancement to GSGT is the "most significant."

2) Advancement from Seaman (Airman/Fireman) to Petty Officer is at least as significant a promotion.HedgeFundBob 02:44, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I respectfully beg to differEdit

The term "naval" in US parlance isn't only the Navy and Marines. The Naval Establishment includes the Navy, Marines AND the Coast Guard, a fact often forgotten by our Sister Services. In the Navy and the Coast Guard the Advancement to Chief Petty Officer is the most significant promotion that a Sailor or Coast Guardsman will ever earn. It is marked by an a Chief's Call to Initiation for the Coast Guard and an Induction for the Navy. Both are an examination of where you as a new Chief have come from and where you are headed. Both the CCTI and Induction call for the new Chief the study the ways of the past and learn valuable lessons on leadership and humility. It calls for new skills to be developed to lead subordinates and teach junior officers appointed over them the deckplate skills that a Chief has in his or hers particular rate. This is a quantum leap for most Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. The Navy and the Coast Guard have long recogized the unique position that a Chief Petty Officer has in the hierarchy of naval jobs. "Ask the Chief" is used by both junior officers and enlisted.

This is NOT to belittle the advancement of a Marine from Staff Sergeant to Gunnery Sergeant! Much of the same applies to the new "Gunny", but there isn't the Initiation.

The advancement from Seaman/Fireman to Petty Officer Third Class is a big deal. It separates you from the Non-rated personnel for the first time. You finally are Rated. That is good, but you still have much to learn about your Rate and you still have a long way to go to get to the top of the enlisted ladder. Many are advanced to Petty Officer Third Class, still fewer to Chief Petty Officer.

In my opinion, the most significant change is from Petty Officer First Class to Chief Petty Officer. Leadership skills are often harder for persons to grasp than details of rate training. Sign me as a Retired Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer and damned proud of it! Cuprum17 (talk) 22:52, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Just FYI, the equivalent for the Marines is from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant (not from Staff to Gunny). The Marine E-6 holds similar billets to Navy E-7's. Cheers!--Sallicio  21:48, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree for the most part. Seaman to Petty Officer 3rd Class isn't that a big deal, and even PO3's are even unofficially referred to as "Overpaid Seamen/Firemen/ect...". Heck my promotion to E-4 was automatic since I signed up for 6 years, didn't even have to take the test. It's even common to hear the term "E-4 and below" throughout the navy. I was in Japan for my first 3 years, and we had to be considered an "exceptional sailor" to get overnight liberty, but the program was only for E-4 and below. E-5 and above was exempt from this. It's not until you hit E-5 do you start getting some sort of significance. But PO1 to Chief is a HUGE jump. You wear a different uniform, sleep in a seperate berthing, eat in a different mess hall, need an act of congress to strip you of the rank (at least that's what I heard), go through an initiation progress, get to wear the "Ask the Chief, I am the Chief!" shirts, everything. Very big deal indeed. I dunno about the Marine equivalents though, I just know about the Navy. Supergoalie1617 (talk) 18:37, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

this article needs to be rewritten in an encyclopedic toneEdit

this needs to have a lot of copy editing done

the article is full of undefined military terms and lacks sources

someone has even just placed quotes from the naval manual slap bang in the heart of the page

needs work

lots of work —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

get an account and get startedEdit

It may need rewritten but I don't see your contribution to the article yet. I have in the past added information that is unique to the Coast Guard CPO, as the original was written with the Navy CPO in mind. Get yourself a user account set up and I will have more respect for your point of view. And speaking of "undefined military terms" what is a "naval manual"? I think I know what you mean, but which one? It is real easy to post on the discussion page "needs work - lots of work", and then leave, but to do the research and write the article is a different matter.

I invite you to rewrite the article, but remember that I will also invite myself to comment on those revisions. Don't worry, it will be constructive criticism. ;)

BTW, I don't see any need for the "reduction in rate" nonsense either and I have removed it. I will be working on some citations for the parts of the article also. This will take some time as I have a real world job. Sign me a proud Coast Guard Chief Petty OfficerCuprum17 (talk) 22:18, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

As a retired Chief, I think describing the position for a general readership, in a single article, is quite a task. There is so much a reader would need to know about the Navy and the military in general, that getting into detail concerning the advancement to Chief will confuse most readers. I recall the first days of boot camp being confused as to what rank a Chief was. As a civilian, most think of officer and enlisted. The Chief's anchor collar device is a good example. Many civilians equate them with the "US" collar devices seen on Army and Air Force uniforms. In effect, to the unknowing, a Chief wearing khakis appears as an officer without rank insignia. The CPO rank carries much weight within the Navy, and among veterans who served with or as Chiefs. Unfortunately, this bearing often doesn't carry over to the civilian community very well. That's why I think this article has received some criticism as to not meeting Wikipedia standards. It's obviously written by Chiefs who have made certain assumptions concerning the readers knowledge.

Eelb53 (talk) 06:29, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Chief Eelb53: While I agree with what you have said about the scope of the article and the criticisms that have been made about the style of writing used in it, I would respectfully request that you remember that not all chief petty officers in the US military are in the Navy. The Coast Guard is the Navy's sister service and it also uses the designation of Chief Petty Officer in its rank structure. If you attempt to rewrite part of this article please keep that in mind. Many past editors either didn't care or ignored this fact...a retired Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer sends... Cuprum17 (talk) 18:58, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Chief Cuprum17: I don't want to overlook the Coast Guard Chiefs by any means. I never served with any Coast Guard Chiefs, so I know very little about the traditions involved with being a Chief in your service. My main contention is that the general reader would need a base of knowledge, before beginning to understand many parts of the article, regardless of branch of service. I don't plan a rewrite, because frankly there are many more Chiefs who know alot more about the subject matter than I do. Even if I did a rewrite, I would not edit anything concerning the Coast Guard.

Eelb53 (talk) 06:08, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanx, others have not been so kind. Some Navy Chiefs in the past have pretended that the CG Chief Petty Officer didn't exist. Many of the traditions in initiation were borrowed from the Navy, but there is no khaki in the Coast Guard; everyone from the Commandant on down to the lowest seaman apprentice wears the same uniform.
Good luck in your editing there, Chief; and don't be bashful. If you see something that needs changing, do it. Cuprum17 (talk) 17:11, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Deckplate leaders?Edit

Can someone gather some citations for this? I spent 4 1/2 years in the Navy, got out as an EN2 (got out 3 weeks after being promoted :-) and NEVER heard of a Chief being referred to a deckplate leader. Most of the Chiefs I was around spent their time in the Chief's lounge drinking coffee (3 months cranking in the Chief's Lounge, I know what I'm talking about here, lol) or sitting in the division office playing on the computer. The E-6's were the closest to resembling a "deckplate leader", as they were the ones that were usually in AUX 1, AUX 2, the engine room, the boiler room, ect... with me. Hardly ever saw my chief go down there. So yeah, can whoever put down the "deckplate leaders" cite some sources please? I don't think it should be there. Supergoalie1617 (talk) 17:58, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

If you are ever aboard ship, on a naval base, or at a joint command, you will see all kinds of chiefs running around once a year with shirts that say "Deckplate Leader". This will be in reference to separating the "genuine" Chiefs from the E-6 selectees during the annual induction. Hard to imagine someone having been in the Navy and never even hearing of the term before. You can even buy coffee mugs at the Exchange that say it. I'm replacing the section. --It's me...Sallicio!  06:45, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Here is a link...and here and here and here.--It's me...Sallicio!  06:55, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, me too. Or me neether. Never saw no deckplate leaders when I was active (76-80) or in the ten years following as a reservist (when I myself made chief). Are we sure this isn't a reference from, perhaps, the North Dakota navy? kcylsnavS{screechharrass} 23:13, 2 April 2011 (UTC)


The section regarding United States Navy Chiefs make up the majority of this article. Should this article be spun out and a brief statement and link be left in its place?

For instance, there are several articles regarding officers with common names as those used in other countries that are specific to the United States. With the size of the article which is largely dominated with United States specific content, would it not make sense to spin this section out?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:56, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

a few thoughts. Would the spunout article become any larger or has it already reached it's maximum size? If it's not going to get any bigger spinning out confers little advantage. It dominates at the moment because there is little other material - the lede shows that - which ought to be addressed. There would still have to be a summary of the moved material left behind. (I don't know if the two Canadian ranks ought to be summarised more in this article) GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:13, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
As a retired Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer, this is one of the articles on my watchlist and I've always thought that it left a lot to be desired. If this article were spunout as you propose, it would leave little in the old article. Is it your intention to leave the Coast Guard portion in the article and take only the Navy information to a new section? If so, the proposed article is misnamed...there are two armed services that use the title of Chief Petty Officer, the Navy and the Coast Guard. Each service has a slightly different induction ceremony and different customs and traditions relating to the Chief. The current article contains the current "Induction" procedure, but I would like to see a history that includes the old "initiation" rituals and an explanation of why the new induction is used now instead of the old initiation ritual. I know the problem would be finding references for any of this that are reliable. I would hate to see the traditions of either service short-changed in any case. I'm sure there are more navies and coast guards that use the rank of Chief Petty Officer besides the United States, Canada and the UK but there are no entries for them in the main article. If I can help with any Coast Guard material, give me a shout out and I will try to help as best I can. Cuprum17 (talk) 21:56, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
It would be my intention to spin it out into a new article that encompasses the usage both in the USN as well as the USCG. Furthermore, to allow for it to pass WP:NN, references would definitely need to be improved. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 08:07, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Agree If you need help on my end, just holler and I'll try my best to come up with references.Cuprum17 (talk) 02:44, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
This might be a case where one of you could write to the appropriate Forces museums - the UK National Maritime Museum in Greenwich would seem to be the appropriate place, as most anglophone usage seems to derive from the UK, who first formally recognized the rank in 1808, although it is thought to have existed from the 17th Century. The use of Anglicised French is consistent with the arrival of French //émigrés// from the early 1790s onwards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:26, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Made some corrections under the US portion of the articleEdit

I just made some changes in the US portion where it was referring to Chiefs as a rate(ing) changed it to rank instead, think we could use some more information total here, there is more to the mess than just a paragraph or two. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Radhazusn (talkcontribs) 21:40, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

You are confusing the term "rating" with that of "rate". Enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard do not have a "rank'; only officers have a rank. Enlisted personnel have a "rate", Chief Petty Officer; and a "rating", Chief Boatswains Mate. Cuprum17 (talk) 22:12, 13 June 2014 (UTC)


Although it is common practice in the US to remove capitals from work titles, as a form of ubiqitisation/equality, Capitalisation is recognised by Sir Ernest Gower in his reference work on English Grammar Plain English as a normal use for job titles.

I have held the rank of Colour Sergeant in the UK and have a voice to match. Some suggest it should be declared, as karate-hardened hands sometimes are, as a dangerous weapon. I can clearly be heard in a recording of David Byrne's Atomic Bomb in London's Festival Hall, over a choir of several hundred and three rock bands: he frontlined me because I can. Do you really want me to use it on you, you 'orrible little editors, do you? A case in point is that you use the term colour sergeant, with a "U", in the UK section (it's a grade of Sergeant roughly equal to Staff Sergeant, there's uncertainty as to which is higher as it varies from unit to unit: a Guards Colour Sergeant is certainly senior to a line infantry Staff Sergeant). Now Grandpa Rahere, he was CPO Officers' Mess Steward at Portsmouth. He might have persuaded Jackie Fisher to sent a gunboat or something. Kindly note, he was not Cpo, or C3PO, or...

The NATO rank system uses the practice, and I observe an American also does so too here. So please, Editors, cease and desist from diminishing these senior Warrant Officers, a CPO is a Chief Petty Officer, there is no such thing as a petty officer, the old maxim "the smaller the dog, the fiercer the bite" often applies. My grandpa was short (there's a tale that one day when he really got ratty, Gran put him on the mantlepiece...) yet he cut the mustard.

And turning the tables, have you fought for your country? Because if you haven't, I'd say you're being disrespectful to those who have, do and will. And at least get the UK's entry correct - or I'll start talking about the USA, which would be rather petty of me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

External links modifiedEdit

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Chief petty officer. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 21:29, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Return to "Chief petty officer" page.