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USCG SCPO Collar.png
U.S. Coast Guard
Senior Chief
Petty Officer
collar device

E-8 insignia
U.S. Coast Guard
Senior Chief
Petty Officer
insignia

E-8 insignia
Good conduct
variation

E-8 insignia
Senior Chief
Petty Officer
insignia

SCPO collar.png
Senior Chief
Petty Officer
collar device

Senior Chief Petty Officer is the eighth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Chief Petty Officer and below Master Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer. They are referred to as Senior Chief in most circumstances.

Advancement to Senior Chief Petty Officer is similar to that of Chief Petty Officer. It carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores and peer review. It is the first promotion that is based entirely on proven leadership performance where test scores do not play a part. A Chief Petty Officer can only advance if a board of Master Chiefs approve, convened every year around March.

As with Chief Petty Officers, a Senior Chief Petty Officer takes on more administrative duties. In the Navy, their khaki uniform continues to reflect the duty; similar to that of an officer, albeit with different insignia than an officer. (In the Coast Guard, petty officers, chief petty officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers all wear similar uniforms.)

Like Petty Officers, every chief has both a grade (rank) and rating (job, similar to an MOS in other branches). A chief's full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a Senior Chief Petty Officer, who has the rating of Machinist's Mate would properly be called a Senior Chief Machinist's Mate.

Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as MM for Machinist's Mate, QM for Quartermaster, or YN for Yeoman. When combined with the petty officer level, this gives the short-hand for the Chief's rank, such as BMCS for Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate. The title of Senior Chief always precedes the rating. It is not uncommon practice to refer to the Senior Chief by this short hand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). They are commonly addressed as "Senior Chief" or even just "Senior" regardless of rating.

The rating insignia for a Senior Chief is an eagle with spread wings above three chevrons. The chevrons are topped by a rocker that goes behind the eagle (or "crow," as it is commonly called). An inverted star (a reference to the stars used on the sleeves of line officers) is placed above the eagle. This is used on the Dress Blue uniform. On all over uniforms, the insignia used is the one that has become universally accepted as the symbol of the Chief Petty Officer. This is a fouled (entwined in the anchor chain) gold anchor superimposed with a silver "USN" in the Navy or a silver shield in the Coast Guard. Like the dress blue insignia, this is capped by an upside-down star.

In the Navy, officers and chiefs are referred to as "khakis." This is a reference to the color of their most common uniforms, and is a direct contrast to those in paygrades E-6 and below (or, blueshirts).

Command Senior Chief Petty Officer

Command Senior Chief badge


As of 2005 and after a pilot program taking place on three mine countermeasures ships, the Navy started appointing senior chiefs to command senior chief. Until this time, senior chiefs had a senior enlisted leadership role in the submarine force as Chiefs of the Boat. This new effort works to formalize leadership at the senior chief level.

Irish Naval Service

Irish Naval Service SC/PO

Senior Chief Petty Officer is also a rank in the Irish Naval Service (Irish: Ard-Mhion-Oifigeach Sinsearach). The rank is deemed equivalent to a member of the NATO armed forces ranked OR-8, making it the equivalent of a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy or a Warrant Officer Class 2 in the Royal Navy. The rank is one grade below an Irish Warrant Officer.

See also

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