Re: Halfway Military Ranks or Titles in Posts
William H. Sills (email@example.com)
Wed Jun 24 10:57:29 1998
For the benefit of Advisor W. Scott Smith, et al.
For many years, the BSA "commissioned" its leaders.
Scoutmasters, skippers, commissioners, etc. received actual
commission documents from the National Council.
Sea Scouting is a "stand alone" program which predates
Exploring. It traditionally was affiliated with Boy Scout
Troops as opposed to being involved with Career Awareness
Exploring. Sea Scout skippers, mates, commodores,
commissioners, portmasters, etc. were all "commissioned"
officers as were all Scoutmasters. Often the skipper and the
Scoutmaster was the same individual.
Naturally, the youth members did not need to get a
commission to join the BSA. Therefore, they were "non
commissioned". The Sea Scout ranks and titles have remained
unchanged except for the use by many ships of the relatively
new Explorer Scout term "Crew Leader" for the traditional
Sea Scout term "Coxswain".
Since Sea Scouting is nautical and is closely allied to the
US Navy and the US Coast Guard, the rank title system makes
eminently good sense.
Traditionally, Sea Scout commissioned officers wore silver
sleeve stripes similar to the US Navy and US Coast Gurad.
The US Coast Guard Auxilliary adopted that system when it
was formed during WWII. Mates wore one stripe, skippers,
committee members and the chairman wore 1-1/2. The DE and
District officers and unit commissioners wore two. The EE
wore 2-1/2, council officers and the Scout Executive (Local
Pilot) wore three. (Area Committee and Vice Commodore 4,
Regional Committee, Area Commodore and Regional Vice
Commodore a broad stripe, National Director broad plus 1,
National Committee and Regional Commodore broad plus 2.)
Quartermasters wear no stripes and have a black rather than
a silver chin strap (hurricane strap).
Above the stripes is the "First Class Anchor" or Sea Scout
badge. Quartermasters, Mates, Skippers and professionals
wear it , committee members, vice commodores, etc. have it
surrounded by an oval of rope. Chairmen, commodores and the
president of the national council have it surrounded by a
rope in a diamond shape. The National Council president has
the broad stripe and three stripes of a full admiral. Except
for much of Central Region and a few isolated locations in
Northeast Region, that system has been superceded by the
current simplified OFFICIAL system of one two, three and
four stars with the plain, oval and diamond devices.
Traditionally, Sea Scout officers always wore the blue
coat, white shirt and either white or black trousers.
Therefore, there was no need for collar devices.
Currently, many Sea Scouters wear uniforms without the coat
except for formal occasions, eg. undress black working shirt
and trousers, khaki shirt and trousers, and white shirt and
trousers. They often wear the 1st Class Anchor pin on the
left collar and national officials wear four stars on their
right collar. Regional and Area officials three stars, local
council two stars and everyone else except Quartermasters
wear one star. Quartermasters wear the 1st class anchor on
both collar points. Officially, the sleeve badge should be
worn on the left sleeve in position three.
Some Sea Scout ships have their own unique titles such
as Chief Engineer, Executive Officer, Chief Mate, etc.
Officially, there is one skipper and as many mates as you
wish plus committee members and the ship committee chairman.
The uniforming confusion came arose from the efforts
of the former Exploring Division to make every unit a "do it
yourself" outfit. They dropped our "hard and fast" rules.
However, if anyone wishes to know the official uniform
policy, they need only to read the SEA SCOUT MANUAL (33239A)
and, coming soon, the new SKIPPERS HANDBOOK and the CREW
LEADERS (Coxswains) HANDBOOK.