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A Brief List of Old, Obscure and Obsolete U.S. Navy Jobs

U.S. Navy enlisted personnel—unlike those in the other services—wear their jobs on their sleeves. A Marine machine-gunner wears similar collar rank as the rest of his fire team; unless you ask him, or see his military occupation in his file, one could never know his job specifics just by looking at his uniform.

Not so in the Navy.

rating badge, worn by a newly minted Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class in 2006. Enlisted sailors are classified by their unique rates with their jobs worn on their sleeves. US Navy photo

A rating badge, worn by a newly minted Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class in 2006. Enlisted sailors are classified by their unique jobs unlike the rank structure in other U.S. military services. US Navy photo

The Navy’s complicated enlisted system is based on a sailor’s occupation, or rating. Those range from the enduring—quartermaster, yeoman, boatswain’s mate or hospital corpsman—to the more obscure—religious programs specialist, interior communications electrician or legalman.

Each job has its own unique title—such as Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Jones—and an insignia denoting the rating included on his or her uniform.

What makes the system so confusing is the constant creation of new jobs, the merging of jobs or eliminating them entirely as the service requires.

For example, in the last several years the Navy has created ratings for unmanned vehicle operators and cyber-warfare technicians while losing or merging jobs such as patternmaker and boiler technician.

The following is a collection of former Navy ratings (and one defunct officer rank) made mostly obsolete by advances in technology and occasionally by more modern stances on race, gender, and—at least in one case—child-labor norms.

Powder Monkey

Powder Monkey on board USS New Hampshire off Charleston, S.C., circa 1864.

Powder Monkey on board USS New Hampshire off Charleston, S.C., circa 1864.

The primary duty of a ship’s powder monkeys was to carry gunpowder from the storage magazine to the crews manning cannons. Regulations in the 19th century did not allow boys younger than 13 to join the Navy (though that was rarely enforced) and children as young as 6 were documented as having served as powder monkeys during the Civil War.

The name most likely comes from the boys’ ability to quickly scamper over and under obstacles on the cramped decks of a ship—like monkeys swinging through trees. They were usually given the rating of Boy, which actually referred to a sailor’s lack of experience at sea rather than his age (many newly recruited adults of slight stature also served as powder monkeys).

The Boy rate was disestablished in 1893 and the Navy became more strict about keeping underage sailors from joining crews. By World War I, shipboard elevators were commonly used to deliver shells to guns.

Chemical Warfareman

Chemical Warfareman in protective gear, 1942

Chemical Warfareman in protective gear, 1942

Chemical warfaremen were responsible for damage control in the event of a chemical, biological or radiological attack—not charging into battle with toxic chemicals.

They were trained to repair equipment, initiate decontamination procedures, and administer first aid to gas casualties. The first version of this rating was established in 1942 because of fears that the Japanese and Germans held large stockpiles of weaponized chemical agents. The rating was further refined after the war and existed until 1954, when the duties were consolidated and assigned to the rating of damage controlman.

Loblolly Boy

A loblolly making the rounds to feed the sick and wounded. From the Seaport Museum of Philadelphia

A loblolly making the rounds to feed the sick and wounded. From the Seaport Museum of Philadelphia

In the late 18th century, U.S. Navy ship crews usually included loblolly boys, young men who had the grim task of assisting surgeons by collecting amputated limbs, hauling the buckets of tar used to cauterize stumps, and spreading sand to absorb blood.

In a practice adopted from Britain’s Royal Navy, they were also responsible for feeding sick and wounded sailors a thick meat and vegetable porridge known as “loblolly,” which is how they earned their name. (Loblolly was also called by the utterly unappetizing name of “spoon meat.”) Loblolly boys remained until 1861, when the rating went through several name changes before evolving into hospital corpsman.

Schoolmaster

USS Hartford Schoolmaster James Connell at middle right with violin in 1877

USS Hartford Schoolmaster James Connell at middle right with violin in 1877

Sailors in the 1800s rarely had a formal education, so many ships carried a schoolmaster who was responsible for instructing the crew in reading, writing and arithmetic. The schoolmaster also taught navigation and the other advanced skills needed to make the men better sailors. A schoolmaster might even try to culturally enrich the crew by exposing it to music and art. However, many captains came to view schoolmasters as ineffective and a waste of ship resources. It was frequently reported that many schoolmasters were lazy and ubiquitously drunk. The Navy decided chaplains had the educational background needed to help enlighten a ship’s crew and the schoolmaster rate was eliminated in 1900.

Admiral of the Navy

Admiral of the Navy George Dewey in 1899.

Admiral of the Navy George Dewey in 1899.

The only exception to enlisted rates in the list is the defunct supreme officer rank of admiral of the Navy. Only one person has been promoted to the six-star equivalent rank: Adm. George Dewey. Dewey returned from his 1898 victory at the Battle of Manila Bay to a hero’s welcome and was so popular that products ranging from dishware to clocks bearing his image could be found in homes throughout the country. In addition to being promoted to the unprecedented rank of Admiral of the Navy, he was also encouraged to make a run for the White House (but lost support when he began to warn that the United States would one day be at war with Germany). When the five-star rank of fleet admiral was established in 1944, it was determined that Dewey’s rank of admiral of the Navy was equivalent to six stars.

Incidentally, two men have been made general of the armies—General John “Black Jack” Pershing (following WWI) and General George Washington (though he had been dead for 177 years when he received the promotion).

Pigeon Trainer

Carrier pigeon trainer WAVES Specialist 2nd Class Marcelle Whiteman holding a carrier pigeon, Naval Air Station, Santa Ana, California, United States, June 1945. National Archives Photo

Carrier pigeon trainer WAVES Specialist 2nd Class Marcelle Whiteman holding a carrier pigeon, Naval Air Station, Santa Ana, California, United States, June 1945. National Archives Photo

The Navy began to use “pigeoneers” at the dawn of the 20th century, tasking them with the feeding and caring of the flocks of birds used to deliver messages. In addition to their natural homing abilities, pigeons were valued because they could quickly carry messages over long distances at high altitude. The development of radio soon brought more efficient forms of communication, but the Navy continued to include pigeon trainers in the ranks until 1961 to ensure there was an emergency line of communication in periods of radio silence or in the event of some type of technical failure.

Airship Rigger

Airship riggers aboard USS Macon in 1933.

Airship riggers aboard USS Macon in 1933.

In the 1920s the Navy began to view airships as platforms that could be used for long-range reconnaissance and antisubmarine warfare. Initial enthusiasm was so high that some analysts believed that airships were the true future of the Navy and that the aircraft carriers being concurrently developed were nothing but an expensive fad.

The airship crews included riggers who were responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of the dirigible and repaired any tears in the gas cells or skin. Used to escort convoys in the Atlantic during World War II, the airships proved to be an effective deterrent to submarine attacks but were superseded by advances in heavier-than-air planes as well as radar and sonar.

The airship rigger rating was disestablished in 1948 and the entire airship program was abandoned in 1961. However, airships were resurrected in 2011 when the Navy again began to experiment with them as surveillance platforms.

International Business Machine (IBM) Operator

CALCULATING MACHINEWith a need to better calculate gun trajectories, ensure accurate accounting, and handle mass logistics, the Navy turned to IBM tabulating equipment during WWII. The move gave birth to the rating of International Business Machine operator. The rating only existed for about a year before it was it changed to the generic but even more unwieldy name of punched-card accounting machine operator, but IBM continued to develop new products for the Navy. In 1944, IBM introduced the nation’s first large-scale electromechanical calculator (the automated sequence controlled calculator or the “Harvard Mark I”) that was used by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships. The operator rating went through several transformations until becoming the current information systems technician.

Jack of the Dust

The “Jack-o’-the Dust” of USS Scranton in 1919

The “Jack-o’-the Dust” of USS Scranton in 1919

In another holdover from the Royal Navy, the sailor who assisted the cook by breaking out provisions was known as Dusty, or Jack of the Dust, because he was often covered in flour from working in a bread room. The rating was established in the U.S. Navy in 1876 and referred to the storeroom keeper. Jack of the dust ceased being an official rating in 1893, but the name lives on in the modern Navy as an informal title given to the culinary specialist in charge of canned goods or the sailors assigned to food-service duty.

Aviation Carpenter’s Mate

USS Langley launching a mostly wooden DT-2 in San Diego, Calif., circa 1925

USS Langley launching a mostly wooden DT-2 in San Diego, Calif., circa 1925

Early U.S. Navy planes were fairly delicate machines built of wood and canvas. With shipboard aviation operations still in their infancy, the planes were often placed in less than optimum flying and storage conditionsl, which resulted in damage to the wooden frames, struts and props. Recognizing that they needed sailors skilled with a lathe to repair the damaged planes, the Navy established the aviation carpenter’s mate rating in 1921. Advances in aviation and the development of all-metal planes in the mid-1930s began to diminish the call for aviation carpenters. The rating was disestablished in 1941 and the duties were absorbed by the aviation metalsmith—the forerunner of the current aviation structural mechanic.

Coal Heaver

Sailors on board USS Isla de Luzon shovel coal in the early 1900s. Naval History and Heritage Command Photo

Sailors on board USS Isla de Luzon shovel coal in the early 1900s. Naval History and Heritage Command Photo

As the age of sail gave way to the age of steam, ships began to require coal.

Tons upon tons of coal.

Coal heavers came into service in 1842 and hauled coal from a ship’s bunker to the boiler furnaces. A coal heaver could make up to 50 trips a day with a full bucket weighing about 140 pounds. Since it was hot, dirty and dangerous work, the members of the “black gang” received substantially higher pay than other sailors. In 1893, the rating was changed to the less strenuous sounding (but probably equally backbreaking and dirty) coal passer. The duties were incorporated into the rating of fire 3c in 1917.

Steward (Filipino)

Filipino Stewards and their mascot on USS Seattle during WWII. Dogs were popular mascots in all the U.S. sea services.

Filipino Stewards and their mascot on USS Seattle during WWII. Dogs were popular mascots in all the U.S. sea services.

With the defeat of Spanish forces 1898, the U.S. took possession of the Philippines and soon began to recruit Filipinos to serve in the Navy. For the next 70 years, Filipinos were permitted to join the Navy without U.S. citizenship but were largely restricted to the steward rating and assigned to work in galleys and wardrooms.

At the peak of the program, there were more Philippine nationals in the U.S. Navy than the Philippine navy. It was not until 1971 that the policy was changed to allow Filipinos to enlist in the Navy and enter any rating for which they were considered qualified through education or experience. When the U.S.-Philippine Military Bases Agreement expired in 1992, the program allowing Philippine nationals to serve in the U.S. Navy was also terminated.

Ship Cooper

A sailor displays the old “Grog Tub” on USS Constitution in the 1930s

A sailor displays the old “Grog Tub” on USS Constitution in the 1930s

The ship cooper made and repaired barrels, casks, and buckets, which were essential at sea. Well-constructed wooden containers were used not only to transport and protect food, water, and gunpowder, they held the crew’s morale-boosting rum rations (at least until the Navy banned alcohol on ships). Coopers remained until 1884 when more durable material such as steel began to replace wood, but their legacy survives in the term “scuttlebutt.” Coopers would take a wooden butt (a type of cask) and scuttle it by punching a hole to provide the crew with drinking water. The crew would swap gossip while gathered at the cask on breaks (just like modern water-cooler conversations)—which is why many old salts still refer to news and rumors as “scuttlebutt.”

  • Robert Owen

    You can add my old rating of DS (Data Systems Technician) to that.

    • Otter

      Mine as well CT(T). Thank you for your service Robert.

      • Notta Domer

        RM teletype repairman

      • usnedub

        CTTs still exist. I was one (got out a few months ago). The role of the rating may have changed but the term remains.

    • ARTHUR H. NICANDER

      You can add Radioman (RM) my rating extinct 1999…..

    • Patrick J Walsh

      I kept using the “G” in FTG after big navy dropped it. And often enough the WEPS (with a smile on his face) would toss some paper work back telling me to sign it properly – without the “G”. formerly, FTG1/SS (now retired)

    • Gray Stoke

      What came first, DS or DP?

    • YoungHope

      My rate (PC) is a thing of the past as well…..

  • Karl

    The author is confusing “rate” with “rating” throughout the article which is a little annoying, but it’s an interesting history nonetheless.

    • Karl, you’re totally right. It was my mistake and not the author’s. We’ve corrected.

  • Robert859

    I was a Lithographer in the navy. That rating is among those that no longer exist. I think that it was merged with Journalist and something else.

    • Old Draftsman

      Draftsman was one of them Robert and I was one.

    • Realist

      LI, DM, JO and PH were merged into the MC rating (like the one in the first picture above). Mass Communication Specialists.

  • imdan

    Add Radioman

  • CSKAP

    TD, DT just two more recent ones.

    • Jim Quinn

      I havn’t heard TD in a long time

  • michael1757

    The world couldn’t go on without MM’s.

    • AZsnipe

      Here here. It seems that MMs are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Soon it will only be the A-gangers and the Nukes, if not already (we still have a couple of steamers afloat, don’t we?)

      • TwinTurboTurtle

        True, the BT rating was merged into the MM rating. But I don’t think the MM rating will disappear, yet.

  • Joseph A. Clark

    it’s based on rating, not rate. Rate is the paygrade at which you’re serving…..rating is the specialty……

    • Bert Roseberry

      I always heard while underway, “Choose your rate, choose your fate”

    • Sorry to correct you, but, rate is a specialty and “rank” is your pay grade. Thanks for your service. Carry on & fair winds and following seas.

      • Floridastorm

        Jeff………….Rank denotes an officer grade. Rate denotes an enlisted grade.

  • i was an AC3. Air Control Tower Operator. That rate is still going strong.

    • Ted Sutton

      I was a CYN3 (Communication Yeoman) in the late ’60s. Rating stopped at 3rd class…then you had to choose Yeoman or Radioman if you advanced in rate. Is it gone too?

    • NofDen

      Too bad the Lone Ranger isn’t. Although the fifties TV guy with that great Tonto is still on and great.

  • Bill Laux

    Let me add coxswain, or cox’n, who was really a BM3. I don’t know when the rate was dropped; early 1950’s, I think.

  • Sean Walsh

    During World War II there were a number of Specialist ratings (followed by a letter to designate the specific specialty, see http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq78-3.htm and scroll down to Specialist to see a complete list. After having been a Yeoman during the war, my Mom transferred to VR-1 and became a Chief Specialist (V) (Transport Airman) where she was a Flight Orderly and also had ground duties in flight scheduling. About the time she got out in late 1947, the rating was changed and she became an Aviation Machinist’s Mate.

  • WEPNY

    You can imagine my surprise during the blood drawing phase of my annual medical exam at the Naval Hospital in Newport, RI, twenty years ago to see that the “corpsman” was wearing a Boiler Tech rating badge. Of course, he was a Reservist whose “day job” was a phlebotomist.

  • Jack Lawrence

    I do believe one Hiram Ulysses Grant was appointed by Lincoln, and confirmed by Congress, as commander of the U.S. Army(s). Also, significant portions of the U.S. Navy were at his disposal, due to the nature of the war and Grant’s personal relationships with Naval officers.

  • TransformerSWO

    Admiral of the Navy isn’t the only officer rank we no longer have – there’s also the rank of Commodore, replaced with rear admiral (lower half).

    • Watash

      Commodore was war time only rate.

      • TransformerSWO

        Not really, it was the one-star rank when I first came in,in the early 80s.

        • watashmaru

          “In 1982, the rank of commodore was finally and officially reintroduced in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard as the O-7 rank.”

          After my time, got out in ’77.

  • Secundius

    Isn’t it better not to “stand out like a sour thumb” in this case, it makes you less of a target.

  • Stephen D. Regan, Ph.D.

    I had two college degrees when I served as a CT(I). I am not sure I could do much in today’s modern and highly technological Navy; but I would have made a decent coal heaver or water tender.

    • Feed Pumps

      Have you really thought it out?? lol being an engineer on a ship is very extreme compared to CT… HOT!!, LOUD!!, and dangerous on so many levels… Boilers and bilges, miles steam pipes, screaming turbines, and no AC; just huge fans blows in fresh air, keeps it a nice 110F, give or take 20 degrees….. Spent years down in the pit on an old aircraft carrier as an MM. We absorbed the Boiler Tech (BT) rating… Now there are few ships left with the old conventional fuel burning boilers.

      • Robert Piazza

        Today, the engine rooms are still hot, smell of diesel or JP, but the snipes stand their watches in a air conditioned room watching digital and analog instruments.
        Different world that the days of steam!

  • Joe

    You can also add SK to the list as well………

  • bee bop

    What does it matter. Interchangeability reduces confusion for the enlisted since there is no daily test as to right or wrong in deck level conversations. I have rarely used “rating” throughout my 24 years of USN service. I think the use of the “Right Arm Rate” rating system should be reinstated for clarity of “who’s in charge” under conditions of extreme duress, i.e., battle conditions with casualties.

    • watashmaru

      The Right Arm rates were the original ratings, Bos’nmate, Gunner’s Mate,
      Quartermaster, and Signalman.

  • Don

    Omar Bradley was also a General of the Army.

    • NofDen

      Not a six star though, Omar worked for Eisenhower a five start,interesting.

  • James Bowen

    Interesting.

  • Olrik

    Soon there will be no need for any of this or people at all, as everything will be done by AI systems, drones and robots that will use a 01010111110000 rating system…

  • Paul Larkin

    all marines are O300s , and it was always the navys turn in the barrel

    • Retiree

      All Marines’ primary MOS is 0311 (combat rifleman). All other MOSs held are secondary MOSs.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Dad was a pharmacist mate in WW-II, now known as a hospital corpsman.

  • Old SM2

    Signalman rating went away back in the late 1990s. It was actually folded back into the QM rating to which came from in WWII. I had a lot of fun as a skivvy waver.

    • Another old SM2

      When they got rid of skivvy waver they got rid of the best enlisted job in the Navy. I don’t see how a QM would have the time to practice to develop the skills we did.

      • watashmaru

        The Navy had done away with the SM rating after Korea
        and found that there’s really no such thing as a “part time” signalman.
        They brought it back so they could operate under electronic silence.
        Another Old SM2 II

  • Geraldo Soto

    My rate was eliminated along with the tenders, Molder (ML)

  • Rick

    I knew a Medical Corps LCDR when I was on active duty; the guy was a mustang. In a prior life, he was a Boiler Tech before he got out and went to college, then medical school.

    All I can say about him was he had the highest infection rate of all the surgeons at my Naval Hospital. Everybody who worked with him figured he just couldn’t get the grease and dirt out of his hands even after all those years….

  • Shaka_X

    As an EW it stings to be included with the old, obscure, and obsolete. But I guess that beats being numbered among the sick, lame, and lazy.

  • formwiz

    The Army had the same system for its chevrons (horseshoe for blacksmith, saddler’s knife for saddler, etc.) until Elihu Root reorganized it

  • JohnnyLa – BM2

    Long live the Boatswains Mate…….Backbone of the Navy

  • REserve

    It was not until 1971 that the policy was changed to allow Filipinos to enlist in the Navy and enter any rating for which they were considered qualified through education or experience.

    Interesting, since one of my best freinds while stationed at Moffett Field was a Philipino named Flores who was serving as a radioman in VP 48. This would have been in 1969. He certainly wasn’t serving as a steward!

    • Floridastorm

      I believe that Filipinos were allowed to enlist in the Navy as Stewards only because they were not American citizens. After that policy was done away with I think the Filipinos had to then be American citizens to enlist. Just like an other citizen they were able to pick their field.

      • adler56

        I retired in 1975 and a number of Filipinos were working as Disbursing Clerks or personnelmen- obviously citizens.

  • disqus_89uuCprLIv

    Add PT (photo Interpreter) combined with 2505 yeoman into IS Intelligence Specialist.

    PT rate and 2505 subspecialties then terminated. PTs couldn’t type and YNs couldn’t interpret photos but the marriage was made in heaven(Bupers.)

    Could also put in Naval Intelligence Officer (1630) now an Information Dominance Officer since the Navy doesn’t need Intelligence or intelligence to conduct its missions now that it can get all the Information it wants.

  • “Doc”

    I wished they could had the rating badges for those old obsolete jobs, it would have nice just to see what they look like. Navy Corpsman/Greenside

  • Doc RIO

    I was one of these: Loblolly boys remained until 1861, when the rating went through several name changes before evolving into hospital corpsman.
    Only for 22.2 yrs, I love my monthly retirement check. I am only 83 yrs. old.

  • Jim

    I was a CTR during Vietnam. Do they even use that anymore?

  • TME Bill

    I was a TME (electric torpedoman) during WW2. Speaking of which, there aren’t any more TMs (torpedomen).

  • Dave L

    Even though ratings have changed a lot since I retired 20 years ago, I enjoy with pride the ability to greet sailors in uniform with respect for their professions. It’s an excellent tradition, rating badges. May the badges never go away, regardless of how else the Navy enlisted uniform evolves.

  • bigchief

    AK is gone into history, maybe the rating is no longer needed.

  • Jim Quinn

    They also have no more DT, merged with HM I believe.

  • Semilogical

    I was an EW from my first day in the Navy to the last, 28 1/2 years in all. Now the job has been merged into the CTT’s. Sad day for all Real EW’s!

  • Ron Compton

    Photographer’s Mate is also gone.

  • tubesaft

    I got a shock when I saw a Chief with a Mine rate and still in the reserve. I was a TM(SS) and we had mines as part of our duties, but not the pin cushions, but questions on them our advancement test.
    He was not a bubblehead but worked on tenders and land bases.

  • SteveParadis

    What, no sailmaker?
    And I’ve yet to see a concise definition for “Landsman for Quartermaster”.

  • james w drummond

    jack o the dust handled dry provisions flour,sugar,coffee which he ground from beans,and as your photo shows baking powder and such.I worked with a jod in 1950 so learned something about it.

    • Bill Tremewan

      The jack of the dust in the eighties U.S. Navy was the Mess Specialist (MS) in charge of a food storeroom. It was (and still is, I think) the title of a job within the rating.

  • Greg Stitz

    NOT looking forward to the day when my rate, Gunner’s Mate (Guns) shows up on this list. Who knows, with the advent of the rail gun, GMG might come back!

  • Brian Herzog

    My old rating I’d long gone, NTDS, Naval Tactical Data Systems Technichian. I served 1968 thru 1972. My job was to program and repair computer systems.

    • Ned Harrison

      Actually, there were still NTDS techs in the Navy in the mid 80s, When I served on the USS America.

      • Cory

        I think they were still rolling out ACDS into at least the late 80s if not early 90s.

        • Rosario Gambardella

          Was a DS with NTDS NEC from 86 – 95

    • JeffWeimer

      They started calling us FCs after October 1998. But many of us never worked outside of the 1600-series NECs.

      • Actually during WW II our rating was FC Fire Controlman until the work got more Technical and they changed it ti FT Fire Control Tecnician then with the advent of the newer advanced Weapons Control Systems and the Aegis Weapons System they saw fit to change it back to FC Fire Controlman but added the Lightning Bolts on both sides of the Range Finder which we Lovingly called the Three Legged Bar Stool With a Seat Belt.

        • JeffWeimer

          We were talking about DSs. Split up and folded into ET and FC ratings.

  • Bob Hunter

    I’m tossed between the replacement of ratings with MOS’s that starts today. I have a thing for tradition, and though far from my primary reason for joining the Navy, tradition was important to me. I guess nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

    • Guest

      “The Navy has both a tradition and a future — and we look with pride and confidence in both directions.” — Admiral George Anderson, CNO, 1 August 1961

      • Bob Hunter

        THAT’S funny.

      • jeff draper

        Admiral Holloway was cno in 1978 when I enlisted and A school at glakesboilertechschool, hand salute and hats off to the officers of the navy, our cheng was one tough s.o.b.!

  • bigjohn767

    Instrumentman from 65 to 86. Rating eliminated in 99.

    • John Serdinak

      I was a instrumentman from 66 till 68 finished second class and loved it,was aboard the USS Grand Canyon out of Newport. Had a Chief IM named Willie Wilson. I worked in the typewriter shop and got into a apprenticeship at Firestone tire and rubber for instrument repair and was able to make good money my whole life thanks to the Navy.

  • Steven Taylor

    I was a BT from ’75~’79. We started out as MM’s then Water Tenders, then Boilerman then Boiler Technician than back to Machinist Mate in the span of 100 years or so.
    I hate to see the rating system go myself, I think it’s a bad idea..

    • jeff draper

      I was a boiler technician from 1978 to 1988, broke service for 18 mos in 82, BT1 on the 214, I heard not long ago the BT was a forgotten tradition-job,, sad. I read the snipes lament from time to time and reminds of the brotherhood it is down in the hole, sailed with desron 2 and servgru 2 Norfolk va.

    • Bitslice Byte

      Ahh the smell of JP fuel while sitting between two 1275 psi 974 Degree Babcock and Wilcox superheated boilers with a huge air vent spewing out air at 123 degrees all while the trash can you use as a seat tries to slide across the deck plates while the ship rolls around (I heart frigates). Pass the Pepsi and sardines in mustard sauce 🙂

    • rsheat

      I was a BT from 75-79. Miller FF-1091

    • Jerry Suttles

      I was a BT3 on the USS Gridley CG-21 76-80. 1200 psi Foster Wheeler modified D boilers.

  • Bkhuna

    Navy Enlisted rating system is not difficult to understand. We need less Perfumed Princes at the Pentagon and more sailors.

  • Joe Curto

    I was an Aviation Machinist Mate R for reciprocating or piston engine
    which was phased out in 1973 when I got out, when asked what your rate
    was the answer was J for jet or R for piston . I liked the fact that we
    had green strips when an Airman , it showed you were different than the
    other Seaman/ Fireman and that you were an Airdale

    • Donald J. Smith Jr.

      I was an ADR when I came out of Naval Air Technical Training Center Memphis in 1969. Went directly to HT-8 in Pensacola and worked on TH-57A which had a Jet (Turbine) engine for my whole 3+ years. President Nixon let us out a few months early.

  • George Pankey

    I joined the Navy in 1979 and was in the last of the ADR’s (Aviation Machinists Mate Reciprocating) to come out of Millington Tennessee. Shortly later the ADR’s & ADJ’s (jets) were folded together into the AD rate.

  • Mike Goldman

    After serving as a PHC and regaining my sanity in 1965, I took an “admin bust” to PH1 so I could change my rating to TD [TraDevMan], the greatest rating the navy had. I had to agree to make the change and subsequent advancement to TDC without benefit of TD A’ or TD ‘B’ school. I made the change in 15 months. After
    I retired as a TDC in 1980, they started to eliminate the rating because there were only about 20 TD’s out of about 1,900 assigned to ships, to operate and maintain the PLAT TV system and the Ship’s Entertainment TV system. So the rating was dis-established in 1986-1987. Most of the active duty TD’s at that time elected to retire. Many of them became Civil Service or Contractor Civ-Sub TD’s. Others canged their rating, reluctantly, to other “hi-tech” ratings they were qualified for. The TD Association just held a bi-annual reunion of TD’s [from a couple who were in the predecessor rating of SAD to the last TD on Active duty, a TDCM].
    We had a blast -swapping “Sea Stories” aka “Scuttlebutt” from the “Goat Locker!

    • Junior Hughes

      I was a TD from 1971 to 1975 and was stationed at Dam Neck. We took care
      of the equipment that put the blips on a radar scope for training.

    • Jan

      Many folks don’t even know what a TD was. I enjoyed my time as a TD working on the P-3 flight simulators. But the elimination of the rate forced me to cross rate to ET. I had no problems with the conversion except for having to go through BEEP school again! Retired as an ETC in 2004.

    • Ralph Blair

      I was a TD from 78 to 83, changed rates to ET and went to nuclear power school. Served in submarine force till retirement in 99 as ETCM (SS). Looking back being a TD was great but wished I had started out as nuke, loved the submarine life. Also being a nuke played into some well paying civilian jobs as well. My wife was also a TD, we worked together on 2F95 at NAS Oceana.

    • Dan Leonard

      I was a TD2 attached to FASOTRAGRULANT NORVA from ’70-’74. Really enjoyed my duty. Never set foot on a ship! LOL!

  • patriot2947

    Back in 1966 during the Vietnam War, I was a Boatswains Mate. It was considered a job for the newly enlisted, unless you had a good education. However, the Boatswains Mate had to learn navigation and everything else pertaining to the bridge environment. We controlled underway refueling operations which was considered dangerous. I also studied and passed my exams for Gunners Mate and Signalman. I also studied for and passed the test for Machine Accountant (computer programming). We had many choices. One big no-no was women aboard ships. It was considered “bad luck”. I was also part of our SAR team, helo landing team, nuclear fallout team and boarding team (going over the side to board enemy boats). I was also assigned special assignments for taking our ship in and out of ports. I even had the opportunity to steer by the “eye” of the ship heading into Guam. I’m a traditionalist and don’t care for the new uniforms or allowing females aboard ship. I don’t care what anyone says, they just don’t have the same rapport, strength, or mindset of a man. If they want women in the military, let them do office work, medical work, or even fly aircraft. Personally, I think they have a better touch for aircraft than men do.
    Well, that’s some of my opinions from an old sailor. I was aboard the U.S.S.Jouett DLG29 before it was re-designated to CG29. I was one of the original crew from 1966-1970. Two times, with four campaigns to Vietnam. May you all have fair winds at your back…

  • Dan Richards

    My rating is long gone too. I was Ocean Systems Technician OT3, 1972-76. We were just glorified sonar techs that manned the land-based SOSUS Sound Surveillance Net. However, many of my OT mates got sea duty on destroyers.

  • Roger in Republic

    Early airplanes were NOT covered in canvas! They were covered in cotton fabric and later linen fabric and painted in nitrate dope. Canvas is too heavy and would never shrink taught. The stiffness of the fabric came from the use of dope as a sealer and tightening agent. Modern fabric covered planes use heat shrinkable polyester and can be painted with automotive paints.

  • Hemi Toma

    I was a SM not sure what year they dropped Signalman — shame the old rates took the hit

  • Y2K

    The USN no longer promotes to W-1.

    Warrant Officer promotions now start at CWO-2.

    • Donald Hague

      Yeah I know. I was a W1 in 1970 and had to wear an insignia that no one knew! That made it take10 years from W1 to CWO4. But that’s ok I never figured I would get past 2nd class

      • Y2K

        Roger that and well done.

        If I remember correctly, back then, a FCPO could go to W1?

        I seem to recall a TM1 on my boat going that route.

  • Dorothy Buick

    Does anyone know what this marking would stand for found engraved Navy ring that says…..
    FJB 1st C.P.O.E.D.

  • Donald Hague

    Well they are missing a few. Where is the Aviation Radioman?

  • Steven Taylor

    I was on Independence, CV62 out of Norfolk. Worked in 4MMR the whole time, I was standing Consoleboard watch when I got out. I’ve been operating steam plants ever since the, basically the only job I’ve ever had. Nothing like flank speed and cat drags though.

  • Joe Strickland

    Unicorn here I was an” IM “what a shame that it’s gone.

  • MKC

    I was a CYN (Communications Yeoman) back in 68-69. It only went to PO3 and then the switch had to be made to Radioman or Yeoman. Even radioman has been eliminated.

  • John Peteson

    The intro to this article said “The following is a collection of former Navy ratings (and one defunct officer rank),” but I saw no entry for a defunct officer rating. I’m assuming it was Warrant Officer 1, and what I’m trying to find out is the reason why W-1 was eliminated. The Wikipedia entry says something to the effect that the CPOs likely to be appointed W-1 would experience a pay cut, but is that really the reason? I mean, couldn’t the pay rate for Warrant Officers, including W-1, have been tweaked to get rid of this problem?

  • Michael Leblanc

    As noted by Mike Goldman below the Tradeveman association holds a bi-annual meeting
    2018 SouthPoint resort and casino Las Vegas join us on Facebook or reply to this posting for details
    Sept 09-11 2018

  • Lloyd Dawson

    Sad to see the BT rate go. I served from 72 until 82 on destroyers, carriers, and repair ships. That rate was just heavy manual labor but I learned enough to become a power plant foreman in civilian life. It was a great start on getting a good job. You have to admire those who were working those jobs both for your ship and the workload they took on.

  • Ken Price

    RM ’56 to ’59………no more Morse Code. All SATCOM now. RM is now IT.

    • Marathonrunner

      Still a die hard CW op. RM 64-67. Even took Morse qualification from the Amateur Radio licenses.

  • Stephen Hill

    GMT2 1981-85. Turned to WTs in 1986. Rate ended in 1993 when tactical Nucs were taken from USN.
    Which was odd to me. I thought that was the reason we deployed.
    Of course that was when the dumbies in charge thought the Cold War was over.
    Jokes on them.