- Petty Officer Second Class
Petty Officer Second Class is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above
Petty Officer Third Classand below Petty Officer First Class, and is a non-commissioned officer.
Similar to Petty Officer Third Class, advancement to Petty Officer Second Class is dependent on time in service, performance evaluations by superiors, and rate (technical specialty) examinations. The advancement cycle is currently every 6 months. Only a certain number of billets (job openings for this rank) open up biannually and all petty officers third class compete. The top scorers are chosen for advancement, but only in sufficient quantities to fill the billets available.
Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders. Unlike the sailors below them, there is no such thing as an "undesignated Petty Officer." Every petty officer has both a rate (rank) and rating (job, similar to an MOS in other branches). A petty officer's full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a Petty Officer Second Class, who has the rating of Fire Control Technician would properly be called a Fire Control Technician Second Class. The term petty officer is, then, only used in abstract, the general sense, when referring to a group of petty officers of different ratings, or when the petty officer's rating is unknown. Often, the petty officer is just referred to by the short hand designation, without using the surname. Thus CS2 Dimmer would just be called CS2. A Second Class Petty Officer may be generically referred to as PO2 when the sailor's rating is not known, although some prefer to be called simply "Petty Officer (Velasco)."
Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as FT for Fire Control Technician, STS for Sonar Technician Submarines, or TM for Torpedoman's Mate. When combined with the petty officer level, this gives the short-hand for the petty officer's rank, such as FT2 for Fire Control Technician Second Class. It is common practice to refer to the petty officer by this short hand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). Often, the petty officer is just referred to by the short hand designation, without using the surname. Thus CS2 Dimmer would just be called CS2.
The rating insignia for a Petty Officer Second Class is a perched eagle above two chevrons. On more formal uniforms (summer whites and winter working blues or above), the symbol for the petty officer's rating will be placed between the eagle and the chevrons. On white uniforms, the eagle, rating, and chevrons will be dark blue (effectively black) thus leading to the eagle, and by extension the entire badge, being most commonly referred to as a "crow." On navy blue, the eagle and rating are white, and the chevrons are red. Working uniforms and metal rank devices have the rating symbol omitted.
* U.S. Navy enlisted rate insignia
Comparative military ranks
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