Dolphins On Non-Qual Submarine Caps: Yea Or Nay?
The official Navy website has a couple of photos from a tour USS Scranton (SSN 756) gave to a Brazilian dignitary today, here and here. The 2nd one is most interesting to me; it shows the topside Force Protection Watch:
Check out the ballcap on the Scranton watchstander. I'm assuming this watchstander is qualified Submarines; the text with the picture identifies him as an STSSA(SS), and the hi-res view appears to show something over his left dungaree shirt pocket. Here's a closer view:
Back in my day (and I'm assuming for a while before that) we'd occasionally have fairly heated discussions on whether it was appropriate for a non-qual to wear the "traditional" submarine ballcap with the ship's name and hull number surrounding the appropriately-colored dolphins. Some said "No" -- a Sailor shouldn't wear any representation of dolphins (even on a belt buckle) until they'd earned them. Others (myself included) figured that if the official ship ballcap had dolphins representing the sub's Submarine Warfare mission, it was OK for any crew member to wear it. When I retired, it seems like a lot of boats were moving away from the controversy by putting the ship's crest on the ballcap and issuing the same hat to all crewmembers.
Based on this picture from last year, it appears that Scranton, at least back then, had "traditional" ballcaps with dolphins. So is this new picture evidence that the "controversy" is back and boats are taking dolphins off their hats completely? Or is it more likely that this Sailor only recently earned his dolphins and didn't get a new hat yet? Or was it something "special" for the VIP tour? And where do you stand on the "non-quals wearing hat dolphins" question?