Petty Officer 2nd Class

Good Conduct Variation


Petty Officer Second Class is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Petty Officer Third Class and 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 Machinist's Mate would properly be called a Machinist's Mate 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.

Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as MM for Machinist's Mate, BT for Boiler Technician, or YN for Yeoman. When combined with the petty officer level, this gives the short-hand for the petty officer's rank, such as BM2 for Boatswain's Mate 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 refered to by the short hand designation, without using the surname. Thus MM2 Miller would just be called MM2.

The rating insignia for a Petty Officer Second Class is an eagle with spread wings above two cheverons. 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 cheverons. On white uniforms, the eagle, rating, and cheverons will be black (this has lead to the eagle being refered to as the "crow" in common practice, and often the entire rating badge is simply refered to as the crow). On navy blue, the crow and rating are white, and the cheverons are red. Working uniforms and metal rank devices have the rating symbol ommitted.