By MC1 Brannon Deugan, NMCB 1 Public Affairs
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Blane Wilson (left), from Buffalo, N.Y., has his second class petty offer rating badge sewn on by Steelworker 2nd Class Jeffery Conmy during a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 “tacking on crows” ceremony on Naval Station Rota, Spain, Dec. 1, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/151201-N-SD965-028)
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 Seabees participated in a traditional “tacking on crows” ceremony at a theater across the street from their camp on Naval Station Rota, Spain, Dec. 1.
A crow is an unofficial Navy term for the petty officer rank insignia, which includes an eagle above one to three chevrons, depending upon a Sailor’s rank. The tacking on tradition stems from a time when new uniforms or rating devices were hard to come by, so petty officers would donate pieces from their own uniforms in an effort to welcome new petty officers to their rank.
“The ceremony followed an old tradition of the Navy, but was made into something new and better by teaching younger troops the tradition and importance of rank structure,” said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Richard Hall, a Sparta, Illinois native who was frocked to E-4.
Frocking is the authority to wear the rank of the next pay grade until receiving the benefits and pay of that rank.
“It was an honor to be promoted, because when I think I’m moving up in the Navy’s rank structure, it means I’m doing something meaningful for my country,” Hall added.
Approximately 18 Seabees were wearing the uniform of the day, the Type III Navy Working Uniform, while 15 ‘Bees wore the service dress blue uniform.
The Seabees wearing the dress blue uniform volunteered to participate in the traditional “tacking on crows” ceremony, where they took turns stitching on a new rating badge to the left sleeve of a fellow shipmate’s dress blue uniform, while imparting words of wisdom to help the shipmate navigate through the promotion.
“The ceremony was a traditional experience that not a lot of Sailors will get to be involved with, because it is not a common practice today,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Blane Wilson. “I hope that every other E-4, E-5, and E-6 Sailor will get the opportunity to be a part of a similar experience when they are frocked to the next paygrade.”
Wilson represented the newly promoted E-5’s of NMCB 1 during the ceremony, and he credited his work ethic, study habits, and shipmates for providing the opportunity for him to earn a second chevron.
“Being advanced is great. I worked hard, studied hard, and I’m appreciative of this,” stated Wilson, a native of Buffalo, N.Y. “I’m thankful for all of my friends and supervisors who helped me get here through opportunities and encouragement, while I studied hard for approximately two months straight, and it paid off. I couldn’t be happier about being advanced.”
Equipment Operator 3rd Class Richard Hall, from Sparta, Ill., is frocked by Chief Construction Mechanic Gustavo Ramirez to petty officer third class during a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 frocking ceremony on Naval Station Rota, Spain, Dec. 1, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/151201-N-SD965-092)