AskDefine | Define midshipman

Dictionary Definition

midshipman n : a temporary rank held by young naval officers in training

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. the lowest rank of officer in several navies; especially that of a trainee officer
  2. any of several fish, of genus Porichthys, that have light-producing organs

Translations

rank
fish

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

For the fish called midshipman, see midshipman fish.
A midshipman is a subordinate officer, or alternatively a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the navies of several English-speaking countries. The word derives from the part of ship, midships, where they were usually quartered, since commissioned officers were quartered astern and seamen and petty officers in the forecastle.

Royal Navy

In the Royal Navy, the rank of midshipman is one of the oldest ranks still in existence, and is the second lowest rank of officer, above the rank of Cadet RN which is referred to in the Naval Discipline Act 1957 but no longer used. Although not commissioned, midshipmen are officers in the Royal Navy, and rank immediately below Second Lieutenants in the British Army and Pilot Officers in the Royal Air Force and above all enlisted and warrant ranks (although pre-1956 Royal Navy and Royal Marines Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers from Warrant Rank were senior to Midshipmen). A Midshipman in the Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Navies holds a commission, however this is not confirmed and officially issued until promotion to Sub-Lieutenant. A midshipman's rank insignia, which has changed little since Napoleonic times, is a white patch of cloth with a gold button and a twist of white cord on each side of the coat collar.
Midshipmen, although always treated as officers, were formerly technically ratings, being rated by their captains, but today, like other subordinate officers, they hold their ranks by Admiralty Board orders. In Napoleonic times boys could only be rated midshipmen after two years at sea, after which they were eligible to sit the examination for Lieutenant after a further four years, being at least 19 years of age. Today those joining the Navy as graduates start as Sub-Lieutenants with non-graduates joining as Midshipmen. Until they have completed initial sea training, both midshipmen and sub-lieutenants at Britannia Royal Naval College do not use their substantive ranks, but use the non-substantive rank of Officer Cadet
In Royal Navy slang, midshipmen are sometimes referred to as "snotties", and a somewhat dubious legend states that the three buttons formerly on the jacket cuffs of the midshipman were placed there to prevent him wiping his nose on his sleeve http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.4023/changeNav/3533. However, an identical story is told about the cuff-buttons of uniforms of many services in many countries.
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United States Navy and United States Marine Corps

In the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps a midshipman is an officer cadet. The rank of midshipman is used by the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and Naval ROTC. Midshipmen are further divided into midshipman ranks according to school year and/or standing within their Brigade, reflected in their equivalent NCO or officer ranks.
Midshipmen at the Academy and in Navy-option NROTC wear service dress uniforms similar to those of U.S. Navy officers, with shoulderboard and sleeve insignia varying by school year or officer rank. All wear gold fouled anchor insignia on both lapel collars of the service jacket. Shoulder boards have a gold anchor and a number of slanted stripes indicating year, except for midshipman officers, whose shoulder boards have a small gold star and horizontal stripes indicating their rank.
NROTC Marine-option midshipmen wear corresponding USMC uniforms with the Marine Eagle, Globe and Anchor replacing the fouled anchor where applicable.
On the khaki service uniform shirt, a Freshman (Midshipman Fourth Class or "Plebe") wears no collar insignia, a Sophomore (Midshipman Third Class or "Youngster") wears a single fouled anchor on the right collar point, a Junior (Midshipman Second Class) fouled anchors on each collar point, and a Senior (Midshipman First Class or "Firstie") wears fouled anchors with perched eagles. Midshipman officers replace the left eagle-anchor with rank insignia. Marine-option NROTC midshipmen wear enlisted Eagle, Globe, and Anchors in place of the fouled anchors or eagle-anchors.
Midshipman officer collar insignia are a series of gold bars, from the rank of Midshipman Ensign (one bar or stripe) to Midshipman Captain (six bars or stripes) in the Brigade of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and in Naval ROTC. The second highest midshipman grade, Midshipman Commander, is the highest rank at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
A Naval Academy midshipman receives about $850 a month for expenses, but it is usually greatly reduced by books, barber, and uniform bills. NROTC midshipmen receive a $250 to $400 monthly stipend if they are on scholarship or enter into contract after their sophomore year. All NROTC midshipmen are issued uniforms, typically service dress blues, service khakis, summer whites and dress whites. Some NROTC units may issue camouflage utility uniforms to the majority of students, but all NROTC Marine-option midshipmen and Naval Academy midshipmen receive them.
The Midshipmen is also the name for sports teams fielded by the U.S. Naval Academy.

U.S. Navy midshipman class and rank insignia

midshipman in German: Seekadett
midshipman in Esperanto: Midŝipmano
midshipman in Spanish: Guardiamarina
midshipman in French: Aspirant
midshipman in Italian: Aspirante guardiamarina
midshipman in Dutch: Adelborst
midshipman in Polish: Miczman
midshipman in Russian: Мичман
midshipman in Ukrainian: Мічман

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Naval Reservist, Royal Marine, Seabee, bluejacket, boot, cadet, freshman, frogman, gob, horse marine, jolly, junior, marine, midshipmite, naval cadet, navy man, plebe, senior, soph, sophomore, swabbie, undergrad, undergraduate, upperclassman
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