US Navy Announces Change of Heart After Proposal to Remove 241-Year-Old Job Titles Goes South

In September, the United States Navy announced it would be changing ratings names — the Navy’s term for job titles — in an attempt to make sailors’ roles more easily identifiable by civilians and thus make it easier for service members to get jobs after leaving the Navy.

The proposal came shortly after the Marine Corps announced it would be removing “man” from 19 of its job titles.

Sailors would be known not by their traditional rating, but by their rank (petty officer or sergeant, for example). The modernization of ratings titles — which would see terms like “yeoman” and “hospital corpsman” replaced with more explanatory titles — was met with some opposition.

One such point of contention, in addition to an unwillingness to break from tradition, was the claim that the change would only add more confusion when trying to identify sailors on large ships.

After the announcement was made, a petition began circulating online and quickly garnered the 100,000 signatures required to get on President Barack Obama’s desk. And though the White House backed the change, the public outcry was enough to make the Navy reconsider.

Wednesday morning, Navy Adm. John Richardson made the announcement that the ratings titles would be restored and said the the proposal “was unnecessary and detracted from accomplishing our major goals.”

Image credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Richardson added:

“Modernizing our industrial-age personnel system in order to provide sailors choice and flexibility still remains a priority for us,” he said. “We will need to tackle the issue of managing rating names.”

In keeping the old ratings titles, the Navy will be upholding a tradition that dates back 241 years.

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