Bluejacket's Manual Celebrates 100th Year

Story Number: NNS020721-01Release Date: 7/22/2002 7:45:00 AM
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By Chief Journalist Rhonda Burke & Helen Concepcion, NTC Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Students in training at the Service School Command's Seamanship Training Division became part of Naval history Friday, as they observed the 100th anniversary of the Navy's Bluejacket's Manual.

The Bluejacket's Manual is celebrating a century of teaching sailors the basics of Navy seamanship and life in the Navy-- including terminology, rank structure, jobs, military drill, and proper wearing and stowing of uniforms.

"This book has staying power," said Tom Cutler, current author of the manual and a retired Navy lieutenant commander. "You'll find some things have not changed in 100 years. There is a lot in this book that will teach you about honor, courage and commitment, and Naval heritage."

Cutler and retired Rear Admiral Thomas Marfiak, chief executive officer of the U.S. Naval Institute, gave a brief presentation on the book and its history to students in the Seamanship school. Prior to their presentation, the students demonstrated their enthusiasm for Naval training during their Friday liberty briefing.

"The Navy will change (during your time in service) but what won't change is the heart and spirit of the American sailor and the courage he shows around the world," Marifak told the sailors in training. "I hear and see your commitment to the Navy."

Coincidentally, there are 23 chapters in the Centennial edition of the Bluejacket's Manual, which is the 23rd edition. Cutler said significant changes have been made in this edition, including the inclusion of many additional Internet links and the focus of chapter two on Naval missions and history.

The Bluejacket's Manual gets a major overhaul every four years and is printed every six months. Each edition includes minor updates that ensure the manual is as accurate as possible.

Recruit Division Commanders at the Recruit Training Command were instrumental in reviewing the 100th anniversary edition to ensure the material presented is relevant to what is being taught in boot camp. Recruits are issued a Bluejacket's Manual during their inprocessing days.

The first Bluejacket's Manual was printed in 1902 and authored by Lieutenant Ridley McLean. By World War I, the Bluejacket's Manual was issued to every recruit in boot camp, a tradition that has continued to this day.

Following the presentation, Marifak served as reviewing officer for the Recruit Graduation. Both Culter and Marifak then hosted a book signing for the Bluejackets Manual at the Burkey Mall Navy Exchange.

For more news from Naval Training Center Great Lakes, go to

Editor's note: The June 2002 issue of All Hands magazine also features a story about the 100th anniversary of the Bluejacket's Manual. To view it online in both Adobe Acrobat and Macromedia Flash versions, go to

Recruit studies the Bluejacket's Manual
020329-N-3995K-108 Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, IL. (Mar. 29, 2002) -- A new recruit studies a copy of the Bluejacket's Manual (BJM), twenty-second edition, during a break in company training. The manual first appeared in 1902 and provided the first handbook of practical information for new recruit. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres.
July 19, 2002
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