juniors. Those serving their country in the strictly
ordered fraternity of military service observe naval
courtesy as a type of ritual.
GENERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN
JUNIORS AND SENIORS
A junior officer approaching a senior for the
purpose of making an official report remains at
attention until invited to be seated or to stand at
ease. The junior officer awaits rather than
anticipates the invitation.
Unless on watch, a person in the naval
service uncovers when entering a room where a
senior is present.
When a senior enters a room where junior
officers or enlisted persons are seated, the one who
first sees the senior calls, Attention on deck.
All present remain at attention until ordered to
Personnel seated at work, at games, or at mess
normally are not required to rise when an officer
passes unless they must clear a path. However,
they are required to rise when called to attention
or when a flag officer or the captain of the ship
The place of honor is on the right. Accordingly,
when a junior walks, rides, or sits with a senior,
the junior takes position alongside and to the left.
When entering an automobile or a boat,
officers do so in inverse order of grade. A
lieutenant and a captain getting into an auto-
mobile enter in that order. The lieutenant takes
the seat in the far, or left-hand, corner and the
captain sits on the right side. When getting out,
the captain leaves first. In entering buildings or
rooms, however, the junior opens doors for the
senior and enters last.
The custom of the right-hand rule is an old
one, quaintly expressed by George Washington
in the 30th Rule of Civility: In walking, the
highest place in most countries seems to be on the
right hand, therefore, place yourself on the left
of him whom you desire to honor.
At parties, to leave before the commanding
officer is considered poor taste. If necessary to
do so, guests should pay their respects to the
commanding officer before departing.
A junior never offers to shake hands with a
senior; the senior makes the first gesture.
A junior officer avoids keeping a senior
waiting. Normal courtesy aside, punctuality is
essential in the military service. When called by
a senior, a junior responds immediately.
In replying to questions from a senior, a junior
officer avoids a great deal of embarrassment by
giving complete and explicit answers. If the junior
cannot supply the desired information, an I
dont know, sir/maam, but I will find out and
let you know is the best answer. An indirect
answer may convey misinformation on which a
senior may be basing an important decision. To
avoid admitting ignorance, juniors sometimes
make evasive statements that not only seriously
affect their reputation but also confuse the issue.
A junior assigned to do a task should
promptly report the progress of completing the
task to the senior. The junior should report either
the completion of the task or exactly what has
been done toward its completion.
When given orders, juniors must ensure they
know what is required. They should not hesitate
to ask questions to clarify points. If they need ad-
vice, they should seek it first from their peers, but
should not hesitate to go to the senior who gave
the orders. Juniors should anticipate the wishes
of a senior whenever possible.
An officer should not jump the chain of
command. When necessary to proceed to someone
higher in the chain of command, officers should
keep their immediate supervisor informed of their
Suggestions for Junior Officers
Excuses for failure or negligence are always
unacceptable. Officers should assume responsibility
and not depend on alibis. If at fault, they should
freely accept blame.
Bootlicking, a deliberate courting of a person
for favor, is despised. Seniors may temporarily
mistake such tactics for a sincere desire to please
and to do a good job. However, through long
experience with such behavior, they in time
recognize this false sincerity. However, junior
officers must make a genuine effort to be friendly
and cooperative to succeed. Persons with a
continued willingness to undertake any task
assigned and perform it cheerfully and efficiently
eventually gain a reputation for dependability.
They also ensure their popularity with fellow
officers. Continued complaining has the opposite
The satisfaction of having done a good job
should be sufficient reward in itself. The junior
officer should not report each personal or
divisional accomplishment to the senior officer.
Of course a report that is required must be made,
but work well done generally reaches the attention