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.


2 thoughts on “Crackerjacks

  1. Craig Wilcox says:

    Loved my “Crackerjacks”, with the “wind flap” on the back, and the Hong Kong dragons on the inner cuffs. You look like a sailor in that uniform, not like a member of the Chair Force.

    The thirteen buttons on the pants, with no pockets, kept you looking good – and warm! And the neckerchief made a fine tourniquet one night in Olongapo – kept my buddy alive to make it back to the ship following a bar fight.

    Traditions in our different services make us proud to be what we are, and reflects our heritage.

    Craig Wilcox

    Sent from Mail for Windows


  2. For whatever reason, the DoD seems to want to mess with tradition and it never goes well. My Rate, TM, was done away with in the late 1990’s, I think. They merged TMs in with GMs and with MMs. My understanding is that the rate is being brought back, primarily for TMs on the subs. TM was one of the original Right Arm Rates. Wish they would leave tradition alone.


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