stolen from Peter Yeschenko

Trivia: When did the nickname “Crackerjack” for a US Navy Uniform originate?

The term “Crackerjack” actually refers to Navy Cracker Jacks or the Enlisted Service Dress Blue uniforms worn by enlisted Sailors E-6 and below.

Though the term “Crackerjack” is also deemed as a term referring to excellence, the association with Sailors began when the Cracker Jack company (candy popcorn) introduced their mascots “Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo” on their boxes. They were first shown on boxes in 1918.

Sailor Jack is shown, even today, on Cracker Jack boxes wearing the definitive dress blue uniform synonymous with US Sailors. Crackerjacks are the single, most identifiable uniforms to recognize a Sailor.

During the mid-’70s, there was an experiment, and the Navy temporarily removed crackerjacks for a period in favor of a uniform similar to what officers and chiefs wore.

In the end, there was a lot of opposition, and when Ronald Reagan became President, traditional crackerjacks were reinstated. In the late ’70s, they became an optional uniform. The Navy started issuing Crackerjack in boot camp again in 1982.