In Medieval days up till the early 1800's there were no engines and no Snipes. Along about 1812 the Navy obtained their first paddle wheel steamer named the USS Fulton. To run the boiler and engine, men of steam were also acquired. They were not sailors but engineers from early land based steam engines. From the beginning the sailors did not like or appreciate these landsmen and their foul smoky plants. They were treated with contempt and pretty much given the short end of the stick. In spite of all this the steam engine prevailed. There were still two crews however. The Engineers and the Deck crew. Soon an Engineer Officer was appointed to each ship. He was the Engineer master and all the Engineers reported to him. The Deck sailors reported to the ships master. Curiously, the two masters were on equal footing and neither was over the other. The Deck Master though was in the best position. He controlled the quarters and rations. The Engineers were still at the mercy of the deck gang. By the height of the civil war, as steam was taking over and sails were disappearing the old Admirals that controlled the Navy were in a quandary what to do about the situation. They accomplished a couple of things. First, they managed to make the senior Master a Captain. As Captain he was in overall command of the ship and the Engineering officer reported to him. Beings as how there were occasions that the Engineer master outranked the ships master something had to be done to keep the Engineer from becoming "Captain". To solve this problem they developed two separate Officer branches. Staff and Line. Only Line Officers could succeed to command. Staff Officers would always be subservient to Line Officers at sea. Staff Officers consisted of Surgeons, Supply and yes, Engineering officers. To this day that is still true. The second change was to make all engineers's Navy men, however they were also made junior to all deck sailors. A petty officer machinist was junior to a deck seaman third. All this went to make the life of the engineers even more miserable. They could now be flogged and harassed at will by the Deck crew. Along about this time came an Engineer Officer by the name of John Snipes. I cannot find the name of the ship he first appeared on, but he was a different cut from the others. He demanded sleeping accommodations, and food equal to the Deck gang. He also declared that there would be no more harassment for his gang. When the ships Captain laughed at him Snipes simply had his men put out the fires in the boiler. To make a long story short, Snipes brought about the changes in the system. In time these changes extended to the entire Naval fleet. The Engineers became strictly "hands off" for the Deck gang. They became known as Snipe's men and over the years as just Snipes. It is curious to investigate the history that followed. The put down Engineering officers, now designated EDO’s or 14xx in Navy parlance commenced retreating from the ships. They established what was to become a huge bureaucracy known first as the Bureau of Ships and later as NAVSEA. To fill their seagoing billets deck officers were given enough training to become dangerous and appointed as Engineer Officers on board ships to fill their vacated positions. To actually make the plants run senior men were elevated to the ranks of Warrant Officer and later “Limited Duty Officer”. Note that the term ships “Engineering Officer” is reserved for an actual EDO. A Deck officer, Warrant Officer, or Limited Duty Officer serving as ships Engineering Officer is officially a ships “Engineer Officer”. When I parted company with the active duty Navy in late 1975 the only EDO’s aboard ships were on Carriers, (A Commander’s billet), plus a handful of junior officer EDO’s that were sent to the fleet for penance because they pissed someone off in NAVSEA by suggesting something practical. The rest retreated to desks and offices in the Bureau or NAVSEA, surrounded themselves with sandcrabs, (civilian employees), and wrote volumes of conflicting catch 22 type instructions to be followed by the poor Engineer Officer’s left to operate the plant. If the Bureau Ships Journal, as it was called then and later NAVSEA Tech Manual were followed to the letter there wasn’t a ship in the Navy that could have gotten underway. On the other hand when anything went wrong at all or the plant suffered any type of casualty it was because the Engineer Officer did not operate the plant as prescribed in the manual. <Sigh> On the enlisted side, the Engineering gang came to be called “Articifiers” in about 1913. They wore their rating badges on the left arm while the deck types were right arm rates. A Motor Machinest 2/C was now senior to a boatswain mate 3/C however he was junior to all 2/C Boatswain mates. This would come into play when determining who was in charge of a working party or a small boat. In 1949 this right arm, left arm stuff gave way. All petty officers wore their rating badge on the left arm however the navy established what was known as precedence of rate list in which all ratings were equal but some were more equal then others! A BM2 was still senior to an MOMM2 regardless of the date of rate. This went on until about 1966 when the order of precedence went out in favor of the date of rate. It’s interesting to note that all this junior senior business only went on out of the holes. As you Snipes all know our own code of seniority was used in the machinery spaces which dealt a lot into who was qualified to operate what. Hoping that I didn’t put a burr under the saddle of anyone that reads this dialog. If anyone out there has some skinny on the Snipe history that can either be documented or just sounds better please send it to me! I’m proud to be a Snipe. The Birth of Snipes 1842 Fireman 1842 Coal Heaver 1866 Machinist 1869 Boilermaker 1871 Engineer's Force Seaman 1874 Engineer's Yeoman 1880 Engineer's Blacksmith 1883 Electrician ² 1884 Oiler 1884 Watertender 1893 Plumber And Fitter ² 1883 USS Trenton was the first electrical ship and had a 13.2KW generator for lighting only That's the story as I have researched it mate.