Who and what is a petty officer? This question may well be asked with reference to any number of the so-called rated men aboard any ship in the navy. So far as regulations are concerned, petty officers may be said to be any rated persons in the service, who, according to Art. 1015, U. S. N. Regs., 1913, “shall have, under their superiors, all necessary authority for the due performance of their duties, and . . . shall be obeyed accordingly,” but, in the strictest sense of the word, is every such person a petty officer? We find from an analysis of the term that “petty” means “ inferior, or subordinate,” and that “officer” means “one who holds an office, a person lawfully invested with an office, whether civil, military, or ecclesiastical,” or that a petty officer is a “person lawfully invested with a subordinate office,” yet how many so-called “ petty officers,” aboard the average ship, are invested with a subordinate office ?
The Petty Officer Question
By Ensign E. W. Robinson, U. S. Navy