Aviation boatswain's mate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Aviation Boatswain's Mate)
Jump to: navigation, search
Aviation boatswain's mate
Rating Badge AB.jpg
insignia
Issued by: United States Navy
Type Enlisted rating
Abbreviation AB
Specialty Aviation

Aviation boatswain's mate (abbreviated as AB) is a United States Navy occupational rating.

Employment and sub specialties[edit]

Aviation boatswain's mates operate, maintain, and perform organizational maintenance on catapults, arresting gear, barricades, and associated flightdeck launching and recovery equipment; operate and service aircraft ground-handling equipment and machinery; operate and service aircraft crash, firefighting, and rescue equipment; handle aircraft afloat and ashore; operate, maintain, and repair aviation fueling, defueling, lubricating oil, and inert gas systems; perform crash rescue, crash removal, and damage control duties.

Aviation boatswain's mates, equipment (ABE)[edit]

"Hookup man" ensures that aircraft launchbar (left) and holdback fitting (right) are properly seated in the catapult.

ABEs operate and perform maintenance on steam catapults, barricades, arresting gear, and associated equipment ashore and afloat; operate catapult hydraulic systems, retraction engines, water brakes, jet blast deflectors, deckedge and Integrated Catapult Control Stations (ICCS), and jet blast deflector control panels; arresting gear engines, sheave dampers, deckedge control station, and associated equipment; perform aircraft handling duties related to the operation of aircraft launching and recovery equipment.

Most of the work in this rating is performed outdoors on the deck of aircraft carriers, in all climatic conditions, in fast-paced and often potentially hazardous environments. ABEs work closely with others in aviation ratings.[1]

Aviation boatswain's mates, fuels (ABF)[edit]

Aviation fuel handlers wear purple and are affectionately known as "grapes".

Aviation boatswain's mates play a major part in launching and recovering naval aircraft quickly and safely from land or ships. This includes aircraft fuelling and fuel systems. Later in their careers ABFs can earn the advanced AB rating that requires supervision of all these individual specialties.

The duties performed by ABFs include:

  • Operating, maintaining and performing organizational maintenance on aviation fuelling and lubricating oil systems on CVs, CVNs, LPHS and LPDS
  • Observing and enforcing handling safety precautions and maintaining fuel quality surveillance and control in aviation fuel systems;
  • Supervising the operation and servicing of fuel farms and equipment associated with the fuelling and de-fuelling of aircraft ashore and afloat
  • Training, directing and supervising fire fighting crews, fire rescue teams, and damage control parties in assigned fuel and lubricating oil spaces.[2]

Most of the work in this rating remains performed outdoors, atop aircraft carrier decks, in climatic conditions, and chiefly fast-paced hazardous environments. ABFs or "Grapes" work closely in concert with: Aircraft Handlers (Yellow Shirts), Chocks and Chains (Blue Shirts), Plane Captains (Brown Shirts), Aviation Maintenance Technicians (Green Shirts), and various other aviation and shipboard ratings.

ABFs additionally work on bottom levels of a ship, in pumprooms and filters, purifying fuel and subsequently pumping refined fuels to flight deck counterparts. Interestingly, working lower levels of a ship earns one the title, "Snipe"; concisely, lower levels of a ship remain excessively hot, dark, grimy, noisy, poorly ventilated, and unforgiving. resultantly, "Snipe" refers to members of a ship which rarely see the light of day or sun light. Analogous to moles exposed to sunlight, snipes react by squinting their eyes; hence the affectionate term "Snipe", for the unfortunate sailors working far below decks, which remain easily identifiable in well lite areas aboard ship due to squinting. Finally and more importantly, work too long as a grape-snipe, and you'll end up an "Albino Raisin" (Spurlock, R.P. 2013).

Aviation boatswain's mates, handling (ABH)[edit]

ABHs ("yellowshirts") direct the movement of all aircraft

Aviation boatswain's mates, handlers play a major part in launching and recovering naval aircraft quickly and safely from land or ships. This includes aircraft handling, fire fighting and salvage and rescue operations. Later in their careers ABHs can earn the advanced AB rating that requires supervision of all these individual specialties.[3]

The duties performed by ABHs include:

  • Supervising the movement, spotting and securing of aircraft and equipment ashore and afloat. Often called "the salt of the deck", because they are the leaders of everyone, including officers, on deck.
  • Performing crash rescue, fire fighting, crash removal and damage control duties in connection with launching and recovery of aircraft.

Most of the work in this rating is performed outdoors on the deck of aircraft carriers, in all climatic conditions, in fast-paced and often potentially hazardous environments. ABHs work closely with others in aviation ratings..

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Equipment (ABE)
  2. ^ Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Fuels (ABF)
  3. ^ Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Handling (ABH)
  • Atkins, Edward (2011). On which we serve : where life-lessons are learned. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press. ISBN 9781449732844.  Extensive photos and description, by a former WWII Aviation Boatswain's Mate, illustrating typical scenes on the decks of WWII aircraft carriers