Monday, June 20, 2016

Efficiency Star

In 1912 the Bureau of Lighthouses reported to Congress: "To promote efficiency and friendly rivalry among lighthouse keepers, a system of efficiency stars and pennants has been established. Keepers who have been commended for efficiency at each quarterly inspection during the year are entitled to wear the inspector's star for the next year, and those who receive the inspector's star for three successive years will be entitled to wear the Commissioner's star..."

On August 18, 1914, Capt. Leon Wesley Austin, Keeper of the Ocracoke Lighthouse, received this notice: "You are informed that you have been awarded an efficiency star. You are therefore entitled to wear the efficiency star for the succeeding fiscal year beginning July 1st, 1914. [It] shall be worn in a manor described in the uniform manual."

For $6.50 you can order your very own Efficiency Star from the United States Lighthouse Society.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the dramatic story of life-saver Rasmus Midgett and his rescue of the crew of the barkentine Priscilla in August, 1899. You can read it here:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:37 AM

    Is this "Stolen valor?" That group of light house keeps must have been an honest bunch as who was to keep them from wearing the star after 365 days? Did they have to Return the star? If they lost the star was a replacement sent to them. Now how was this friendly rivalry maintained ? did other keeps see another keep wearing the awarded star? How could they maintain efficiency if they were attending light house keep conventions?? Why did they not just get a pay raise or a promotion? These folk were the salt of the Earth. Or this begs the question Who were the men chosen to live in the most scenic and picturesque locales in, free public housing, consuming a diet of fresh seafood, breathing the fresh salt air, collecting and selling the salvaged goods washed up on the shore,-- you would think the shipping companies would end some token of appreciation their way for their efforts a hurricane is out of the lightkeeper's hands......