The place of honor is to the right. Accordingly,
take a position to the left side when walking, riding, or
sitting with a senior. When aboard ship, take an
inboard position to a senior. The custom of the
right-hand rule is quaintly expressed by George
Washington in his 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
who you desire to honor.
When entering an automobile or a boat,
officers do so in inverse order of grade. For example,
a lieutenant and a captain getting into an automobile
enter in that order, with the lieutenant taking the seat
on the far side. When getting out, the captain leaves
first. In entering buildings or rooms, however, the
junior opens doors for the senior and enters last.
At parties, try not to leave before the captain.
If you must leave, pay your respects to the captain
Avoid keeping a senior waiting. Normal
courtesy aside, punctuality is essential in the naval
service. When called by a senior, you should respond
In replying to questions from a senior, avoid
embarrassment by giving complete and explicit
If you cannot supply the desired
information, give a response such as I do not
know . . . , but I will find out and let you know. That
is much better than an indirect answer that conveys
misinformation on which a senior may be basing an
important decision. Admitting you do not know the
answer is more prudent than giving evasive
statements that may seriously affect your reputation
and confuse the issue.
When ordered to do an assigned task, report
back promptly to the senior (1) that you have
completed the task or (2) what you have done toward
completing the task.
When a senior gives you an order, make sure
you understand what the senior expects of you and
when it should be completed. Do not hesitate to ask
questions to clarify these points. Once they are clear,
however, do not ask how to do the job. Study the task;
if you need advice, turn to a fellow officer. Ask the
advice of the person who gives you an order only
when you have no other alternative. Try to anticipate
the wishes of your senior whenever possible.
Only one response to an oral order is
properAye, aye, sir/maam. This reply means
more than yes. It means that I understand and will
obey. Responses to an order such as all right,
sir/maam and O.K., sir/maam are improper.
Very well is proper when spoken by a senior in
acknowledgement of a report made by a junior.
Never jump the chain of command. In other
words, do not consult anyone higher in the chain of
command than your immediate superior, unless your
superior gives you the authority to do so.
RELATIONS BETWEEN OFFICERS
AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL
By virtue of your commission, you will be in
charge of enlisted personnel. Base your relations with
them on a foundation of mutual respect.
enlisted personnel are intelligent, cooperative, and
ambitious. They want to be treated as adults whose
abilities are appreciated. Enlisted personnel want to
respect their officersto admire them and to be able
to boast about them to those aboard other ships. The
following points will help you establish good
relationships with your subordinates:
Cultivate a climate of personal dignity between
yourself and your subordinates. That will enable you
to converse with them about casual and unofficial
matters and yet maintain that reserve which
discourages undue familiarity.
Be considerate. Show your subordinates you
care for their welfare. For example, if you require some
of your people to work through the noon meal, make
sure you have hot meals saved for them. A good officer
always considers the welfare of enlisted personnel.
Dont go too far with promoting friendliness
between yourself and your people, such as calling
them by their first names or by their nicknames.
Address enlisted personnel by their correct title. Do
not allow enlisted personnel to visit you in your room
or the wardroom for reasons other than business.
Financial transactions between you and enlisted
members are forbidden by Navy regulations.
Enlisted mess management personnel are in
charge of the wardroom pantries, the galley, and
officers rooms. Since they are constantly in close
contact with officers and have frequent occasion to be
in the wardroom and in officers rooms, you may
become too familiar with them, or, perhaps at times,