Protocol Tip of the Week

  • Published
  • By Joint Base Charleston
  • Protocol Office
There are less than sixty days until the official standup of Joint Base Charleston. With so little time, it is essential for all Joint Base personnel to know and understand our naval military ranks. In the years to come, Charleston military bases will be linked with Air Force, Navy and Army personnel, to be called Joint Base Charleston. For this week's tip, you will gain an understanding of the naval officer structure.

With a quick glance at the naval officer diagram, many would conclude there is little difference from the Navy rank structure to ours. In actuality, the only significant similarity Navy rank structure holds to the Air Force is the common symbols. For instance, look at the official titles. Many times we associate the title of captain with the pay grade of O-3 in the Air Force. In the Navy, the title of captain is used for the pay grade of O-6. Additionally, the term commander in the Air Force is associated with the leaders of our units. For the Navy, this term is coined for their O-4 and O-5 officers. These differences are important to know and understand when interacting with other service members. Being able to identify and associate with these ranks will allow you to present yourself as confident and competent in your work.

While the Navy does not have a blues Monday like the Air Force, they will sometimes wear several different uniform sets. Depending on the occasion, naval officers may wear their dress whites, summer dress whites, or service dress. All of these uniforms are equivalent to our service dress. It is important to be able to identify officers by their epilates. These epilates vary by design and can be difficult to quickly identify. However, it is important to salute whenever you identify these epilates. Take the time and learn the different variations; it will help in the years to come. Navy officers wear their rank on their collars, exactly the same as Air Force officers and should be afforded the same respect.

It is important to also touch on the Navy's saluting standards, which have baffled many of our Air Force members. In the OPNAVINST 171O.7A, "Naval Guide to Protocol," it states "1209.3 persons uncovered shall not salute, except when failure to do so would cause embarrassment or misunderstanding." This is to say, when naval officers are inside or in their car that would not permit them to wear their cover, they cannot salute. For example, many times we conduct our ceremonies inside and treat them as if they are outdoors, the Navy does not do this. If they are inside, they strictly do not salute.

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