In U.S. Merchant Marine officer rank insignia, the fouled anchor is the equivalent of the line officer’s star in the Navy, signifying that the wearer is a commissioned officer or in a commissioned administrative line position. As in the U.S. Navy, the officer rank is denoted by the number of stripes on the shoulder board, with a single stripe used for Ensign (O-1) and four for Captain (O-6).

When the U.S. Maritime Service was fully active (1936 to 1954), the fouled anchor was used as a branch of service mark specifically indicating Line, but it and other branch-of-service and specialty marks were enclosed in wreaths to indicate USMS provenance. Unlike the Navy, however, all officers save one wore the wreathed fouled anchor insignia (Engineering officers who reached the rank of Captain could wear the three-bladed propeller insignia). Today, private companies issue officer insignia, so on U.S. Merchant Marine vessels you may see an Officer with a Steward’s insignia (crescent moon), whereas in the Merchant Marine that mark would have been restricted to enlisted personnel and Warrant Officers (WO and CWO1).
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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.