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Petty Officer First Class: Wikis


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E-6 insignia
Good conduct
12 years or more
of good conduct

E-6 insignia
Petty Officer
First Class
U.S. Coast Guard

Petty Officer First Class is the sixth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Petty Officer Second Class and below Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer.

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 FT1 for Fire Control Technician First 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 CS1 Dimmer would just be called CS1. A First Class Petty Officer may be generically referred to as PO1 when the sailor's rating is not known, although some prefer to be called simply "Petty Officer (Eby)."

Similar to Petty Officer Second Class and Third Class, advancement to Petty Officer First Class is contingent upon the following conditions:

  • Completed a period of time-in-rate (three years time-in-rate as a Second Class Petty Officer, or two years if the Second Class Petty Officer received a promotion recommendation of "early promote" (EP) on their latest periodic performance evaluation and the Second Class Petty Officer's Commanding Officer authorizes a one year time-in-rate waiver).
  • Have an established Performance Mark Average (PMA).
  • Not be currently selected in the LDO or CWO program.
  • No pending request for voluntary transfer to the Fleet Reserve.
  • Recommended for advancement by the Commanding Officer.
  • Completion of the week-long Naval Leadership Work Center Supervisor course prior to February 1 and August 1 depending upon the current advancement cycle.[1]

The advancement cycle is currently every 6 months (March and September). Only Second Class Petty Officers that achieve a passing score on the biannual advancement examination are eligible to be advanced to First Class Petty Officer. Once the examination is complete, a quota is established based upon the needs of the Navy with respect to the specific rating the sailor holds. Using the rating ET (Electronics Technician) as an example:

The Navy's new High Year Tenure policy imposes a maximum enlistment of 20 years to a Petty Officer First Class. If a PO1 fails to make Chief Petty Officer within those 20 years, the Petty Officer is involuntarily separated for not meeting advancement requirements. This may be waived in the event the sailor holds critical training, NEC's or clearances.

The rate insignia for a Petty Officer First Class is a perched eagle above three 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 black (this has led to the eagle being referred to as the "crow" in common practice, and often the entire rating badge is simply referred to as the crow). On navy blue uniforms, the eagle and rating are white, and the chevrons are red unless the sailor has been in the Navy for 12 years or more all with good conduct- then that sailor wears gold chevrons on the dress blue uniform. The Coast Guard does not use golden chevrons. Working uniforms and metal rank devices do not have the rating symbol.

First Class Petty Officers normally serve as a Leading Petty Officer (LPO) of a division, and may direct the activities of a division in the absence of the division Chief Petty Officer.

First Class Petty Officers often form associations at their commands. Membership in these associations are voluntary but often seen as a vital step in preparation for advancement to Chief Petty Officer. At smaller commands with few Petty Officers, Second Class Petty Officers are sometimes invited to join, in which case the associations are commonly referred to "Acey-Ducey" associations.

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 First Class, who has the rating of Fire Control Technician would properly be called a Fire Control Technician First Class. The term petty officer is only used in the general sense when referring to a group of petty officers of different ratings, or when the petty officer's rating is unknown, or when someone who is E-3 or below addresses a petty officer while in basic training or during an A school.


  1. ^ Department of the Navy (2001). BUPERSINST 1430.13E. Department of the Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel.  

See also



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