The Navy is deeply rooted in its history and tradition. You can see it in our ship names, uniforms and even our rank structure.
Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz on social media about whether the cartoon character Cap’n Crunch is a captain.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) June 19, 2013
— Cap'n Crunch (@RealCapnCrunch) June 20, 2013
Why? The debate started when someone noticed that he’s wearing three stripes on his sleeves instead of four. Why does this matter?
In the U.S. Navy, a commander wears three stripes and a captain wears four stripes – outranking the commander.
So, can a Sailor who doesn’t hold the rank of captain be called the captain of a ship? Yes.
According to the Naval Institute book Naval Ceremonies, Customs and Traditions by William P. Mack and Royal W. Connell:
“In a British order in council in 1748, the relative rank was settled with the Army by dividing Navy captains into three grades. It was deemed at that time that any officer in command was entitled to the title of captain while in command, regardless of rank.”
We don’t know Cap’n Crunch’s naval background. However, U.S. Navy Sailors are constantly deployed to preserve peace, protect commerce and deter aggression through forward presence.
There’s some food for thought.