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News | Jan. 4, 2017

Happy 45th Birthday to the Legalman Rating!

By Vice Adm. James W. Crawford, III, Rear Adm. John G. Hannink, and Command Master Chief Jondell Ritchie

It is a proud and distinguished group - a Navy rating with a rich heritage of steadfast service.
Secretary of the Navy John Chafee approved the establishment of the legalman rating on January 4, 1972.  During the past 45 years, in times of conflict and peace, legalmen have provided critical legal assistance both ashore and afloat.  Today, approximately 636 active and Reserve legalmen serve at duty stations around the world, promoting military justice and addressing the personal legal needs of thousands of service members and their families.  The entire JAG community is honored to serve alongside our accomplished and deeply committed legalmen. It is an exciting time to be a legalman. The Navy released NAVADMIN 218/16, which announced the Navy Rating Modernization initiative on September 29, 2016.  While the NAVADMIN's replacement of rating titles with alpha numeric Navy occupational specialty codes was temporary, efforts to modernize our personnel systems continue to move forward with significant input from Sailors around the Fleet.  You are witnessing history in the making as we execute this initiative, ensuring the continued pursuit of excellence that makes us the world's finest Navy. 

Currently, legalmen are the only Navy rating with a training pipeline that includes funding for on-duty college education.  The special skillsets our legalmen acquire are vital to the execution of the JAG Strategic Plan 2025, and their contributions to our mission cannot be overstated. The achievements of our legalmen this year attest to their hard work and dedication. First, our active component enlisted manning currently is at 104 percent, a significant improvement over previous years.  Second, the FY16 Judge Advocate General's Corps In-Service Procurement Program Selection Board considered 20 highly qualified applicants and selected a legalman for the first time in three years.  The Sailors selected for this program bring a wealth of knowledge and fleet experience to the JAG community.  Third, 74 percent of our legalmen have earned degrees in Paralegal Studies and many more are nearing completion of their degrees.  Fourth, nearly 200 legalmen from across the globe gathered in Norfolk, VA in May for the Legalman Training Symposium, the first event of its kind since 2009.  Attendees enjoyed presentations from Navy leadership, received both legal and management training, and networked with their peers.  Finally, our outstanding Sailors continued to set a positive example, and several earned recognition as Sailor of the Year at sea, on shore, and with major staff commands.  Our legalmen continue to surpass our expectations, and we are extremely proud of the distinguished professionals in our enlisted community. Our legalmen epitomize what it means to be a Sailor first. They are carrying on the JAG community's legacy of dedication to service and commitment to excellence. We wish our legalmen a very happy 45th birthday!
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