The Navy has reversed one of its least-popular moves of all time and restored historic ratings titles after months of protests and objections from enlisted sailors.
Effective immediately, enlisted sailors will officially regain their ratings, titles which inspire cultural loyalty and have defined enlisted career tracks for hundreds of years.
Three months ago, the Navy shocked the world by eliminating ratings titles, such as gunner’s mate, boatswain’s mate and yeoman that date back to the founding of the Navy—and further. These titles often came from the British Navy and have historical significance that helps sailors feel like part of a team.
Navy ratings controversy a “distraction”
The backlash against the move was strong, and the Navy said it was a “distraction” from their broader efforts to reform the personnel system.
Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, called it a “course correction” and acknowledged the massive negative reaction from sailors.
“We have learned from you, and so effective immediately, all rating names are restored,” Richardson wrote in a Navy message set for release Wednesday.
More change is yet to come, however, as the Navy seeks to make the personnel system and its career paths more flexible in the future.
“The feedback from current and former Sailors has been consistent that there is wide support for the flexibility that the plan offers, but the removal of rating titles detracted from accomplishing our major goals,” Richardson wrote.
“There is a way to have the benefits of the rating modernization program without removing rating titles,” the CNO wrote in the message.
“This course correction doesn’t mean our work is done – rating modernization will continue for all the right reason,” Richardson wrote. “Modernizing our industrial-age personnel system in order to provide Sailors choice and flexibility still remains a priority for us.”
No word yet on what the new personnel system overhaul will dictate.