Posted on Dec 23, 2015
SN Greg Wright
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First things first, credit for this idea goes to COL Ted Mc, who posed these questions to me in another thread, as an indication of the confusion Naval ranks can cause other services. I thought it would be fun and informative to submit them to the larger RP audience. Sister service members, if you have similar vagaries in your rank structures, please feel free to post them as well. So, to wit:

1. When is a full-bird Captain referred to as 'Commodore'?
2. When is an (O-3) Captain referred to as 'Major'?
3. When is a Lieutenant referred to as 'Captain'? (Or, alternatively, a Senior Chief, or Master Chief?)

And bonus question, just for the heck of it, what the hell is a 'Boats', anyway?

Go!
Edited >1 y ago
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CAPT Kevin B.
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Edited >1 y ago
We had an Army Transportation Captain as our Motor T officer in Operation Deep Freeze. He'd always say "Army Type" on the phone to avoid confusion until..... The Coke machine was busted for a week and he rung up the Exchange Officer. Got a new one within an hour.

On the flip side, I was a LT (O-3) at MCAS El Toro. Power went out in housing and it would take as much time to fix 100 ENL units as it would 10 OFF units. A Marine Major was looking at work being done on the wrong side and demanded I do something about it. I refused. He wanted to know my boss' name. Captain Schumate. He rung him up and while chewing him out, fell to silence once he recognized the person on the other end of the phone was humming Anchors Aweigh. He did look good Monday morning apologizing in his dress uniform.
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CAPT Kevin B.
CAPT Kevin B.
>1 y
CAPT Schumate was real old school. 3-5 martini at lunch guy who didn't have much use for Marine Majors who felt "hard ass" came with their rank. The Major came down to my office to apologize to me after. I'm sure it wasn't his idea. The other Major I shared an office with had a pretty low hanging jaw trying to understand why a Marine O4 was kowtowing to a Navy O3.
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PO2 Orlando Sims, MPA
PO2 Orlando Sims, MPA
>1 y
This is an awesome story!!!!
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CDR Assistant Production Superintendent
CDR (Join to see)
>1 y
I was an LDO Navy LT in Guam as Explosives Safety Officer. We had an issue that I needed to inform PACFLT about and I called their N42. Someone picks up and says, "N42, Captain Mentikov". I start yes sir, yes sir two bags full sir, inform him of the issue and discuss some options. A month or so later I fly to Pearl Harbor for the PACFLT ordnance and explosives safety conference. I ask a few buddies which one was Captain Mentikov and he points to a Marine Captain !!!!!!! I go and introduce myself and after chapping his ass a bit, we had a good laugh. I have known Mark now for over 15 years since then and we still have a good laugh. He said he got things done answering the phone as Captain Mentikov and he has also gotten some pretty good digs in the BOQ when he told them he is "Captain Mentikov". He was a fellow Mustang or perhaps we would have had one of the famous Navy Marine throw downs :-)
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PO2 Ron Burling
PO2 Ron Burling
>1 y
And this is no shit, while assigned to the 31st Naval Construction Regiment as a weapons instructor, we all shared, for an office, an old Quonset Hut at Port Hueneme,CA. Even our NCOIC, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant worked out of there. That E-7 controlled all Seabee ranges on the West Coast, all one of them. One day the phone rang and for some reason the Gunny answered. He said; "This is the Gunny, speak but don't fuck up!". After that, his side of the conversation went like; "You're right, Captain, that is no way to answer a telephone. Yes sir. Yes, Sir. No, Sir, it won't happen again, Sir. Now, when was it you wanted to borrow MY range? No, Sir, sorry, we are booked solid."
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Capt Walter Miller
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1. When he controls more than one ship.

2. To avoid having two 'captains' on board.

3. When they command a vessel.

4. A Boatswain.

Walt
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1SG David Niles
1SG David Niles
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I served under Commodore O'Connell when I was deployed and I was told it was because he commanded ground forces
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PO1 Drill Sergeant
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Cpl Phil Hsueh - I just got off the USS Ronald Reagan this month and it felt like we had Captains on patrol on the O3 level. As I sit here I can think of around NINE, yes NINE Captains you would see around the ship.

BIG CO
BIG XO
CAG
DCAG
Commodore

The rest are all boat people (airwing typically does not know anything about that type of thing). Several more that you would see walking through the P-ways (excuse me a second "Attention on deck", Carry on Carry on)
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CMDCM Gene Treants
CMDCM Gene Treants
>1 y
Back in the late 60'sand early 70's on Gators it was common practice to referrer to Marine O-3's Major instead of Captain because of the Tradition of having only ONE Captain on the Ship. However, like so many Naval Traditions this had gone by the wayside. Capt Walter Miller all of your answers were right on! Well done Marine!

On the other hand it was really great to have Marine Captains on watch with us when I was at NAPLES and standing Watch. If we had to interact with another Navy facility when the Captain got on the hook and talked to them, we usually got fast action.
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SFC James Welch
SFC James Welch
1 y
Commander of the “ Local Yacht Club”
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Lt Col Scott Shuttleworth
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This is funny and brings back memories. As an Air Force Captain I work in a joint environment with a Coast Guard search and rescue unit. Not intentionally, I would call over to the Coast Guard Ops Center to launch a search and said "this is Captain Shuttleworth with an immediate launch message" I got things done until I realized what was happening. Never dawned on me until one day one of the Coast Guard Senior Chiefs on watch with us pointed it out to me. After that I always prefaced my phone calls with this is Air Force Captain Shuttleworth to avoid the confusion. Still didn't slow those quiet professionals down. Love all the services dearly but from that experience, I Love me some Coast Guard!!!!
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CPO Bryan Borrelli
CPO Bryan Borrelli
>1 y
My last duty station was CENTCOM. It took me a while to figure out why the AF or Army guys jumped when I said "this is Chief Borrelli," then it dawned on me that was what they called AF E9s and Army Warrants.
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PO1 John Miller
PO1 John Miller
>1 y
CPO Bryan Borrelli
That's because a Navy Chief is on par with Army and Air Force "Chiefs!" :)
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