Does anyone know something about the evolution of qualification breast badges in the SAN?
If I look at old photo's up to about the mid-80's, neither officers nor ratings wore any breast badges.
Then, if I have it right, a submarine breast badge (the wreath, sub and trident) was introduced for the right breast of officers and ratings, followed by the sea-horse and wreath for independent ships and frigates and the mine and wreath for mcm people. Later, the strike-craft got a little strike-craft, missile and wreath. Ratings would wear these breast badges on the right breast when they had finished their task book on a particular vessel, but officers would only wear them after they had been type endorsed on that vessel - after obtaining their harbour and bridge-watchkeeping certificates and completing a longer qualification process... mostly they could only start wearing them as lieutenants (SAN).
Then, later on (early 90's?) the bridge-watchkeeping bag or "water wings" were introduced for bridge watchkeepers. These were supposed to be analogous to the SAAF wings and were worn by all officers (and a number of CPO's and warrants) qualified to drive ships. They are worn on the left breast above the medals (just like the SAAF wings or parachute wings) and are gold for captains of ships (like my old OPSO on boat 8, now OC of SAS Isandlwana, pictured below) and silver for everyone else.
And in the later 1990's engine room watchkeepers started to wear a half-a-wing (like SAAF navigators) above the medals on the left breast. Or was it a full wing? Anyway, it had a sort of ratchet or something in the middle.
This is where my direct knowledge of this ends, but now I see submariners have ditched the combination of water wings on the left breast AND submarine badge on the right breast in favour of one badge - the dolphins on the left breast, but this is worn by both officers and ratings. I have to say that it looks a lot more elegant to me and is more in keeping with what the Yanks and the RN do.
What's the state of play in the rest of the SAN now? What breast badge is worn by people on the frigates? The old strike craft badge? I wouldn't believe that anyone in the SAN has passed up the chance of making a new breast badge. As I see it, the evolution of our uniform was from plain and elegant (no badges, just medals or ribbons) to ever more gaudy and no bored admiral ever passes up the opportunity of sticking another piece of bling-bling on the uniform. Take for instance this
What are the crossed swords this AB is wearing? In the Army that used to mean PTI. In the SAAF I think it meant gate guard.