By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anaid Banuelos Rodriguez, USS Green Bay Public Affairs
7th FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (Nov. 30, 2018) - Sailors assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) participated in the classic Navy tradition of "tacking on crows" for the ship's newly selected first, second and third class petty officers November 30.
"Tacking on the crow" involves Sailors taking turns stitching on the petty officer rating badge, or crows, to the uniform of a newly-advanced Sailor, representing their new rank. The term “tack” meaning a rushed stitching job used until a more permanent and professional sewing job could be completed.
“Each stitch represents a commitment by the senior petty officer to support and mentor the newly frocked petty officer,” said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Bryan Docker. “Our heritage and traditions help build pride in our Navy, connect us with past generations of Sailors, and help keep our foundation strong. In particular, the revival of the tradition of tacking on the crow is a way to show our young Sailors that we are here to help guide and mentor them as they continue in the Navy.”
The tradition dates back to the Royal Navy and days of the sail. Because new uniforms or rating devices were hard to come by at that time, petty officers would donate pieces from their uniforms in an effort to welcome new petty officers to the rank.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to welcome our newly advanced petty officers than with this little bit of history,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Josephine Sablan, president of the Second Class Petty Officer Association. “This is my first time experiencing something like this and I’m honored to be a part of it. A piece of wisdom that I want to pass down is to emphasize how important and influential a second class can be. We’re the backbone of the Navy so wear your rank with pride.”
Throughout the event, Sailors shared words of wisdom, a few sea stories, a history lesson on the tradition of tacking on the crow, personal experiences as a petty officer and explained the new responsibilities while taking turns stitching each newly advanced petty officer’s crow.
“This was definitely a more memorable experience than the last time I was pinned,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Tiffani Gregus. “It felt more meaningful and interactive seeing the faces of my fellow petty officers welcoming me with open arms rather than just a handshake and pose for a photo. You could feel that the new petty officers were immediately welcomed into the association and I can’t wait to be a part of this tradition again in the future but this time, adding a stitch of my own.”
The command wanted to allow the Sailors an opportunity to embrace the heritage and tradition in a positive way. The Sailor 360 team and the Chief Petty Officer Mess organized and executed the event. Between all of the associations, they talked to 26 selectees and sewed new collar device patches onto their coveralls.
“As chief petty officers, we’re charged with instilling history and tradition. I want to welcome each newly frocked petty officer into their respective association and encourage each one of you to be a student of leadership,” said Green Bay’s Command Master Chief David Robinson. “I challenge you to lead strong, lead consistent and lead with no regrets.”
Green Bay, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 2009. The ship is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan as part of Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet and is operating in the region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. For more information about Green Bay, go to https://www.facebook.com/LPD20.GreenBay/.