Blue, purple, green, yellow, red, brown and white not only serve as staple colors in the crayon box, but also play a vital role on flight decks of Navy aircraft carriers. These colors follow a code that lets sailors and other personnel know one another's responsibilities.
Crew members assigned to the USS Langley, the Navy's first aircraft carrier, started wearing colored jerseys in the early 1920s. The tradition continues today to ensure safety and order are maintained on the flight deck.
With several duties aboard a ship, the colors enable crew members to distinguish, say, a pilot from a medic from a mechanic, allowing team members to focus on their specialty while working cohesively to achieve each mission.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The blue jerseys operate motorized gear.
JOBS: aviation fuels, known as "grapes" or "fuelies"
RESPONSIBILITIES: The purple jerseys refuel all aircraft and monitor all fuel onboard.
JOBS: catapult and arresting gear personnel, air wing maintenance, ground support equipment, mass communication specialists, helicopter landing signals enlisted sailors
RESPONSIBILITIES: Green jerseys operate and maintain all aircraft launch and recovery equipment and perform all support equipment and aircraft-related maintenance.
JOBS: aircraft directors, catapult and arresting gear officers, air boss, mini-boss
RESPONSIBILITIES: The yellow jerseys are responsible for the movement of aircraft on the flight deck and in the hangar bay.
JOBS: ordnancemen, crash and salvage crews, explosive ordnance disposal
RESPONSIBILITIES: The red jerseys load aircraft with bombs, missiles, mines and ammunition. They also create crash and salvage crews responsible for aircraft firefighting, rescue and salvage operations.
JOBS: air wing plane captains
RESPONSIBILITIES: The brown jerseys maintain the safety and integrity of aircraft. They also man the cockpit during repositioning on the flight and hangar decks.
JOBS: quality control, landing signal officers, air transfer officers, liquid oxygen crew, safety, medical administrative personnel
RESPONSIBILITIES: The white jerseys consist of safety and medical personnel, catapult final checkers, catapult and arresting gear quality assurance inspectors and administrative personnel.