Navy leadership reverses controversial decision by restoring sailors’ ratings

(Dec. 1, 2015) From the left, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Blane Wilson, from Buffalo, N.Y., has his second class petty offer rating badge sewed on by Steelworker 2nd Class Jeffery Conmy during a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 "tacking on crow" ceremony on Naval Station Rota, Spain, Dec. 1, 2015. NMCB 1 promoted 21 Sailors to their newly appointed petty officer ranks with a traditional "tacking on crow" ceremony with a contemporary frocking ceremony in Rota, Spain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/RELEASED)

A Christmas miracle has come for sailors this year: Navy leadership has announced the return of sailors’ ratings and job titles across the fleet- a complete backtrack from a widely-unpopular move made earlier this year.

Effective immediately, all enlisted sailors will regain their ratings and job titles that have been a long-standing tradition for the Naval forces.

The reversal comes after a controversial move made in September that eliminated ratings titles, which infuriated sailors across the globe and caused excessive backlash, slowing down the Navy’s overall mission to reform the antiquated personnel system.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson recently referred to the move as a “course correction,” citing the Navy’s failure to anticipate just how much negative feedback they would receive over the ratings change.

“We have learned from you, and so effective immediately, all rating names are restored,” Richardson wrote in a fleet-wide message scheduled for today.

“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.”

Richardson noted that while corrections need to be made, the main goal is still modernization.

“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.”

While changes may change ratings titles in the future, Richardson said that he will solicit feedback from the sailors he represents.

“Nobody wanted to see ratings taken away. The traditions and identities associated with them are undeniable. My sailors will be relieved and gratified that their voices appear to have been heard,” said one East Coast Command Master Chief who discretely spoke to Navy Times. “And I’m just glad I don’t have to open a manual to find out what kind of Sailor I’m getting the next time orders cross my desk.”

The reversal reportedly did not surprise many sailors, who believed the situation would have righted itself when Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is replaced by a new Navy Secretary in 2017.

“I genuinely believe sailors expected this. I think we’ve all been waiting and watching to see if someone was going to take a step back and determine that an interesting idea had been pushed too quickly,” the Master Chief said.

While the titles have changed, the mission objectives that involved the name change in the first place have not- Navy officials are still pushing for an overhaul of the system, which entails everything from opening more job opportunities to potentially eliminating advancement exams.

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