Petty Officer

A petty officer is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-5. They are equal in rank to sergeant in the British Army and Royal Air Force. A petty officer is superior in rank to leading rate and subordinate to chief petty officer, in the case of the British armed forces.

The modern petty officer dates back to the Age of Sail. Petty officers rank between naval officers (both commissioned and warrant) and most enlisted sailors. These were men and women with some claim to officer rank, sufficient to distinguish them from ordinary ratings without raising them so high as the sea officers. Several were warrant officers, in the literal sense of being appointed by warrant, and like the warrant sea officers, their superiors, they were usually among the specialists of the ships's company. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests the title derives from the Anglo-Norman and Middle French 'petit' meaning "of small size, small; little".

Two of the petty officer's rates, midshipman and master's mate, were a superior petty officer with a more general authority, but they remained no more than ratings. However, it was quite possible for a warrant officer, such as the armourer, to be court-martialed for striking a midshipman as his superior officer. The reason why was both were regarded as future sea officers, with the all-important social distinction of the right to walk the quarterdeck. Midshipmen wore distinctive uniforms, master's mates dressed respectably, and both behaved like officers. Master's mates evolved into the rank of sub-lieutenant, and midshipmen evolved into a naval cadet.

A petty officer has the ability to train others that have the desire to join the military.

Read more about Petty Officer:  Canada, United Kingdom, United States

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Famous quotes containing the words officer and/or petty:

    No officer should be required or permitted to take part in the management of political organizations, caucuses, conventions, or election campaigns. Their right to vote and to express their views on public questions, either orally or through the press, is not denied, provided it does not interfere with the discharge of their official duties. No assessment for political purposes on officers or subordinates should be allowed.
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