U.S. NAVY SERVICE STRIPES (HASH MARKS) SET OF 7

When the Navy introduced service stripes indicating length of service in 1894, they were issued at each reenlistment following three years of service and came in only one size—8” x 3/8”—and only in scarlet. With the addition of gold stripes to be issued to Petty Officers who had earned three good conduct badges, the qualifying period for each stripe was changed to “each com¬plete term of enlistment of three or four years under continuous service,” but the length remained the same.

At some point prior to 1947, the dimensions were slightly altered, with the length reduced to 7” but the width remaining the same, and the qualifying period was set at four years instead of “three or four years.” But for some reason, the Navy decided to alter the design of the service stripe based upon rate and gender. Nailing down the precise date this change happened is extremely difficult, but the current dimensions were used in the 1991 edition of the uniform regulations.

Today, the service stripes worn by male Chief Petty Officers (E7 to E9) are the same size as spelled out in the 1947 regulations, 7” x 3/8”, but for enlisted male Sailors E1 to E6 the length is 5 ¼”. For women Sailors—from Recruit to Master Chief Petty Officer—the length of the service stripes is the same as their male Junior enlisted counterparts, but the width is reduced to 1/4 of an inch.
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