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These charts represents the United States Coast Guard enlisted rate insignia. Rates are used to describe an enlisted sailors pay-grade. Rates aren't to be confused with "ratings", which describe the Coast Guards enlisted occupations. (The rating symbol of crossed anchors depicted in the graphics below are for a boatswain's mate).
E-1 to E-3
Junior enlisted personnel are broken up into five definable groups with colored insignia stripes designating with which group they belong. A speciality mark may be worn above the rank insignia, which denotes training in a particular field: either as an apprentice (one that is in search of a rating to join), or as a designated striker (one that has found a rating but is not yet a petty officer). The serviceperson is addressed by their group designation, if known (ie Fireman Jones, Airman Apprentice Smith); by the generic appellation 'seaman;' or by their striker designation (SNBM Watson, FNMK Johnson).
E-4 to E-6
E-4 to E-6 are considered to be non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and are specifically called petty officers in the Coast Guard. Their insignia is a perched eagle with spread wings (also referred to as a 'crow') atop a rating mark (a rating mark, or 'rate' is a symbol denoting their job category, similar to U.S. Army and U.S. Marines' MOS), with red chevron(s) denoting their relative rank below. The Coast Guard does not follow the Navy practice of awarding gold chevrons for twelve years good conduct.
Onboard ships, the First Class Petty Officers become members of the First Class Mess which serves as a recognition of their status at the top of the junior enlisted ranks. This manifests itself on small ships as a few reserved tables in the galley, but may be a separate seating area or space onboard a large ship. The food is the same as that in the galley from which the other junior ranks eat. It also is a precursor to the Chief's mess.
E-7 to E-9
E-7 to E-9 are still considered NCOs, but are considered a separate community within the Coast Guard, much like the U. S. Navy. They have separate berthing and dining facilities (where feasible). They serve as the day to day leaders and managers of the enlisted workforce, and routinely serve in command cadre positions. Their dress blue insignia consists of a perched eagle with spread wings atop a rating mark, with three gold chevrons and one 'rocker' below; inverted five-point stars above the crow denote the rank of Senior Chief (one star) or Master Chief (two stars). However, all other uniforms use the fouled anchor device to denote rank. It consists of a fouled anchor with the Coast Guard Shield (in silver) superimposed, with stars above the anchor to indicate higher paygrades, similar to the dress blue insignia.
The proper form of address to a Chief Petty Officer is simply "Chief.". In the US Coast Guard, the Chief is specifically tasked in writing with the duty of training Junior Officers (Ensign, Lieutenant (j.g.), Lieutenant, and Lieutenant Commander). This is one of the major differences between a Chief in the Coast Guard and his counterparts in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Command Master Chief
Upon obtaining Master Chief Petty Officer, the servicemember may choose to further their career by becoming a Command Master Chief (CMC). These personnel are considered to be the senior-most enlisted servicemember within their command, and are the special assistant to the Commanding Officer in all matter pertaining to the health, welfare, job satisfaction, morale, utilization, advancement and training the command's enlisted personnel. Area Command Master Chief Petty Officers and the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard-Reserve Forces wear the same rating badge as the Command Master Chief, except that two stars and shield are gold.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) is the senior enlisted person in the Coast Guard. The MCPOCG serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Coast Guard, and as an advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families. The MCPOCG is also an advisor to the many boards dealing with enlisted personnel issues; may be called upon to testify on enlisted personnel issues before Congress; and, maintains a liaison with enlisted spouse organizations.