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From left to right: a Special Warfare Operator 1st class and a Boatswain's Mate 2nd class.

United States Coast Guard ratings are general occupations that consist of specific skills and abilities. Each naval rating has its own specialty badge, which is typically worn on the left sleeve of their uniforms by all enlisted personnel in that particular field. Working uniforms wear generic rate designators that exclude the rating symbol. Officers do not have ratings; their occupations are classified by designators and professional staff corps.[1] Ratings should not be confused with "rates", which describe the Navy's enlisted pay-grades.

Enlisted sailors are referred to by their rating and rate. For example, if someone's rate is Petty Officer 2nd Class and his rating is Boatswain's Mate; when combined, Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (BM2) defines both.

Rating structure[edit]

The pay grades E-4 (Petty Officer Third Class) through E-9 (Master Chief Petty Officer) fall within the rating structure. It is further broken down into four types of ratings and classifications; General ratings, which consist of broad occupational fields such as Electronics Technician, Gunner's Mate, or Machinery Technician.


Insignia General rating Abbreviation Service rating Abbreviation
Rating Badge AB.jpg Aviation Boatswain's Mate AB[I] (Launching & Recovery)
(Aircraft Handling)
Aviation Boatswain's Mates are responsible for aircraft catapults, arresting gear and barricades. They operate fuel and lube oil transfer systems, as well as direct aircraft on the flight deck and in hangar bays before launch and after recovery. They use tow tractors to position planes and operate support equipment used to start aircraft.[2]
Rating Badge AC.jpg Air-Traffic Controller AC
Air-Traffic Controllers assist with the speedy flow of air traffic by directing and controlling aircraft. They operate field lighting systems and communicate with aircraft. They furnish pilots with information regarding traffic, navigation and weather conditions, as well as operate and adjust ground-controlled approach (GCA) systems and interpret targets on radar screens and plot aircraft positions.[2]
Rating Badge AD.jpg Aviation Machinist's Mate AD[III]
Aviation Machinist's Mates are usually assigned to billets concerned with the maintenance of turbo-jet aircraft engines and associated equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance and replacement of aircraft engines and accessories, as well as performing the duties of flight engineers.[2]
Rating Badge AE.jpg Aviation Electrician's Mate AE[IV]
Aviation Electrician's Mates are responsible for aircraft electrical power generating and converting systems. They maintain lighting, control, and indicating systems and can install as well as maintain flight and engine instrument systems.[2]
Rating Badge AG.jpg Aerographer's Mate AG
Aerographer's Mates are the U.S. Navy's weather forecasters. They are trained in meteorology and the use of aerological instruments that monitor air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed, and direction. They prepare weather maps and forecasts and can analyze atmospheric conditions to determine the best flight levels for aircraft. An AG can measure wind and air density to aid the accuracy of anti-aircraft firing, shore bombardment and delivery of weapons by aircraft.[2]
Rating Badge AM.jpg Aviation Structural Mechanic AM[II][III] (Safety Equipment)
Aviation Structural Mechanics are responsible for the maintenance of many aircraft parts such as wings, fuselage, tail, control surfaces, and landing gear. They maintain and repair safety equipment and hydraulic systems.[2]
Rating Badge AO.jpg Aviation Ordnanceman AO
Aviation Ordnancemen operate and handle aviation ordnance equipment. They are responsible for the maintenance of guns, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, and missiles. Their duties include the stowing, issuing, and loading of munitions and small arms.[2]
Rating Badge AS.jpg Aviation Support Equipment Technician AS
Aviation Support Equipment Technicians perform intermediate maintenance on aviation accessory equipment at naval air stations and aboard aircraft carriers. They maintain gasoline and diesel engines, gas turbine compressor units and electrical systems.[2]
Rating Badge AT.jpg Aviation Electronics Technician AT[IV]
Aviation Electronics Technicians are responsible for the maintenance of all aircraft radio, radar, and other rapid communications devices. They maintain all navigation equipment.[2]
Rating Badge AW.jpg Aviation Warfare Systems Operator AW
Aviation Warfare Systems Operators operate airborne radar and electronic equipment used in detecting, locating, and tracking submarines. They provide information for aircraft and surface navigation and act as helicopter-rescue crewmen, and function as part of the flight crew on long-range and intermediate-range aircraft.[2]
Rating Badge AZ.jpg Aviation Maintenance Administrationman AZ
Aviation Maintenance Administrationmen perform clerical, administrative, and managerial duties necessary to keep aircraft maintenance activities running smoothly. They schedule and coordinate the maintenance workload, including inspections and modifications to aircraft and equipment.[2]
Rating Badge PR.jpg Aircrew Survival Equipmentman PR
Aircrew Survival Equipmentmen are responsible for the packing and care of parachutes. They maintain flight clothing, rubber life rafts, life jackets, oxygen-breathing apparatus, protective clothing, and air-sea rescue equipment.[2]


I^ : ABE, ABF, and ABH combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (ABCM).[3]
II^ : AME, AMH, and AMS combine at paygrades E-7 & E-8 to the ratings of Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AMC) and Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AMCS) respectively.
III^ : AM and AD combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman (AFCM).
IV^ : AE and AT combine at paygrade E-9 to the rating of Master Chief Avionics Technician (AVCM).

Administration, deck, medical, technical, and weapons specialty ratings[edit]

Insignia General rating Abbreviation Service rating Abbreviation
Rating Badge BM.jpg
Boatswain's Mate BM
Boatswain's Mates train and supervise personnel in all activities relating to marlinspike, deck, and boat seamanship, and oversee the maintenance of the ship's external structure and deck equipment. They act as petty officers in charge of small craft and may perform duties as master-at-arms, serve in or take charge of gun crews, and damage control parties.[2]
Rating Badge CS.jpg Food Service Specialist FS
Culinary Specialists prepare menus and order the quantities and types of food items. They operate kitchen and dining facilities, manage large facilities, keep records for food supplies and financial budgets, and can even serve as flight attendant aircrewmen. They can also serve as personal food service specialist, Household or Estate Manager or Chef for an admiral, the First Family, President of the United States at Camp David and the White House, to the Vice President at the Naval Observatory or for a commanding officer aboard ship or at shore bases. Ashore, Culinary Specialists often manage and maintain clubs, TAD hotels and Permananent Party naval barracks.
Rating Badge ET.jpg Electronics Technician ET (Submarine Navigation)
(Submarine Communications)
(Nuclear Power)
Electronics Technicians are responsible for electronic equipment used to send and receive messages, detect enemy planes and ships, and determine target distances. They maintain, repair, and calibrate all electronic equipment used for communications, detection tracking, identification, and navigation. Electronics Technicians are employed onboard nuclear powered ships to maintain the control subsystems in nuclear reactors.[2]
Rating Badge GM.jpg Gunner's Mate GM
Gunner's Mates operate and maintain all gunnery equipment, guided-missile launching systems, rocket launchers, guns, turrets, and associated equipment. They repair electrical, electronic, hydraulic and mechanical systems, and make detailed casualty analysis. They test ammunition, missiles and their ordnance components. GMs train and supervise personnel in the handling and stowage of ammunition, missiles, and assigned ordnance equipment.[2]
Rating Badge HM.jpg Hospital Corpsman HM
Hospital Corpsmen are medical professionals who provide health care to service people and their families. They serve as pharmacists, medical technicians, nurse's aids, physician's or dentist's assistants, battlefield medics, and more. All work falls into several categories: first aid and minor surgery, patient transportation, patient care, prescriptions and laboratory work, food service inspections, and clerical duties.[2]
Rating Badge IS.jpg Intelligence Specialist IS
Intelligence Specialists are involved in collecting and interpreting intelligence especially secret information about enemies or potential enemies. They analyze photographs and prepare charts, maps, and reports that describe in detail the strategic situation all over the world.[2]
Rating Badge IT.jpg Information Systems Technician IT[II]
Information Systems Technicians design, install, operate, and maintain state-of-the-art informations systems. This technology includes local and wide area networks, mainframe, mini and microcomputer systems and associated peripheral devices. They also write programs to handle the collection, manipulation and distribution of data for a wide variety of applications and requirements. They perform the functions of a computer system analyst, operate telecommunications systems including automated networks and the full spectrum of data links and circuits.[4]
Rating Badge LN.jpg Legalman LN
Legalmen are trained legalaides who assist professionals in the field of law. They work in Navy legal offices, performing administrative and clerical tasks necessary to process claims, conduct court and administrative hearings. They maintain records, documents and legal reference libraries. Legalmen may give advice on tax returns, voter registration procedures, immigration and customs regulations, regulations governing Social Security and veterans' benefits. They perform many duties related to courts-martial and nonjudicial hearings.[2]
Rating Badge MA.jpg Master-at-Arms MA
Masters-at-Arms uphold law and order aboard ships, shore stations and deploy overseas with expeditionary forces and squadrons performing Antiterrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) duties. The basic duty of an MA is to enforce rules and regulations, maintain good order and discipline, and protect life and property. Some other duties include conducting criminal investigations, personal protective services, take part in correctional and rehabilitative programs, Military Working Dog (MWD) handlers, small arms instruction, lethal and non-lethal weapons training, and organize and train sailors assigned to Shore Patrol police duty. Their equivalents in the civilian world are detectives and policemen.[2]
Rating Badge MC.jpg Mass Communications Specialist MC
Mass Communications Specialists are public affairs and visual information experts. They present the U.S. Navy story to audiences in the Navy and to the rest of the world through a variety of media. Mass Communications Specialists write and produce print and broadcast journalism, news, and feature stories for military and civilian newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcast stations. They record still and video photography of military operations, exercises, and other Navy events.[2]
Rating Badge MN.jpg Mineman MN
Minemen test, maintain, and repair mines and their components. They are responsible for assembling, testing, and delivering mines to the planting agent. They maintain minehandling and minelaying equipment.[2]
Rating Badge MT.jpg Missile Technician MT
Missile Technicians assemble, and maintain missiles carried by submarines. They maintain the specialized equipment used in these functions. Although missile components and related testing and handling equipment are primarily electronic, they also work with the mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic units in the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System, fire-control systems and missile flight control systems.[2]
Rating Badge MU.jpg Musician MU
Musicians play in official Navy bands and special groups such as jazz bands, dance bands and small ensembles. They give concerts and provide music for military ceremonies, religious services, parades, receptions and dances. Official unit bands usually do not include stringed instruments, but each musician must be able to play at least one brass, woodwind or percussion instrument. Sailors are selected for this rating through auditions.[2]
Rating Badge NC.jpg Navy Counselor NC
Navy Counselors offer vocational guidance on an individual and group basis to Navy personnel aboard ships and at shore facilities. They assess the interests, aptitudes, abilities and personalities of individuals.[2]
Rating Badge OS.jpg Operations Specialist OS
Operations Specialists operate radar, navigation and communications equipment in the shipboard combat information centers (CICs) or bridges. They detect and track ships, planes, and missiles. They operate and maintain identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment and radio-telephones.[2]
Rating Badge PC.jpg Postal Clerk PC
Postal Clerks operate the U.S. Navy's large postal system, and have similar duties to their civilian counterparts in the U.S. Postal Service. They send mail on its way, collect postage-due mail, prepare customs declarations, collect outgoing mail, and cancel stamps. They perform a variety of record-keeping and reporting duties, which include maintaining an up-to-date directory service and locater file.[2]
Rating Badge PN.jpg Personnel Specialist PS
Personnel Specialists provide enlisted personnel with information and counseling about Navy jobs, opportunities for general education and training, and promotion requirements. They assist enlisted members' families with legal aid or reassignments in hardship situations. Personnel Specialists keep records up to date, prepare reports, type letters and maintain files.[2]
Rating Badge QM.jpg Quartermaster QM[III]
Quartermasters assist the navigator and officer of the deck (OOD), steer the ship, take radar bearings and ranges, make depth soundings and celestial observations, plot courses and command small craft.[2]
Rating Badge RP.jpg Religious Programs Specialist RP
Religious Programs Specialists assist Navy chaplains with administrative and budgetary tasks. They serve as custodians of chapel funds, keep religious documents and stay in contact with religious and community agencies. They prepare devotional and religious educational materials, set up volunteer programs, operate shipboard libraries, supervise chaplains' offices and perform administrative, clerical and secretarial duties. They train personnel in religious programs and publicize religious activities.[2]
Rating Badge SB.jpg Special Warfare Boat Operator SB
Special Warfare Boat Operators drive fast speedboats down narrow, winding rivers, or the open ocean while performing high speed, medium range, or all weather insertion/extraction of Special Operations Forces. They participate in maritime interdiction operations, tactical swimmer operations, intelligence collection, operation deception, and Coastal patrol.[5]
Rating Badge SH.jpg Ship's Serviceman SH
Ship's Servicemen manage barber shops, tailor shops, ships' uniform stores, laundries, dry cleaning plants and cobbler shops. They serve as clerks in exchanges, gas stations, warehouses, and commissary stores. Some ship's servicemen function as Navy club managers.[2]
Rating Badge SK.jpg Storekeeper SK
Storekeepers are the Navy's supply clerks. They see that needed supplies are available including everything from clothing and machine parts to forms and food. They have duties as civilian warehousemen, purchasing agents, stock clerks and supervisors, retail sales clerks, store managers, inventory clerks, buyers, parts clerks, bookkeepers and even fork lift operators.[2]
Rating Badge SO.jpg Special Warfare Operator SO
Special Warfare Operators are Navy SEALs that are trained to jump from airplanes at high altitudes and open their parachutes at low proximity to the earth into frigid waters. They jump from helicopters travelling 30 knots at 30 feet over the water with no parachute. In addition Special Warfare Operators oversee ocean-borne mine disposal, carry out direct action raids against military targets, conduct reconnaissance, and secure beachheads for invading amphibious forces.[5]
Rating Badge ST.jpg Sonar Technician ST (Surface)
Sonar Technicians are responsible for underwater surveillance. They assist in safe navigation and aid in search, rescue and attack operations. They operate and repair sonar equipment and jam enemy sonars. Sonar Technicians track underwater objects and repair antisubmarine warfare fire control equipment and underwater radiotelephones.[2]
Rating Badge TM.jpg Torpedoman's Mate TM[IV]
Torpedoman's Mates maintain underwater explosive missiles, such as torpedoes and rockets that are launched from surface ships, submarines and aircraft. They maintain launching systems for underwater explosives, and are responsible for shipping and storage of torpedoes and rockets.[2]
Rating Badge YN.jpg
Yeoman YN
Yeomen perform secretarial and clerical work. They deal with visitors, telephone calls and incoming mail. They organize files and operate copy machines and order and distribute supplies. They write and type business and social letters, notices, directives, forms and reports.[2]


I^ : Cryptologic Technician now includes former rating of Electronic Warfare Technician (EW).[6]
II^ : Information Systems Technician now includes former rating of Cryptologic Technician - Communications (CTO).[6]
III^ : Quartermaster QM now exists as Electronics Technician (Navigation) ETN on submarines.[6]
IV^ : Torpedoman's Mate now exists as Machinist Mate MM on submarines.Torpedoman's Mate now merged with Gunners'Mates[6]

Engineering and hull ratings[edit]

Insignia General rating Abbreviation Service rating Abbreviation
Rating Badge DC.jpg Damage Controlman DC[I]
Damage Controlmen perform the work necessary for damage control, ship stability, fire-fighting. They also prepare defenses against chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare attacks. They instruct personnel in damage control and CBR defense and repair damage-control equipment and systems.[2]
Rating Badge EM.jpg
Electrician's Mate EM
Electrician's Mates are responsible for the operation and repair of a ship's or station's electrical power plant and electrical equipment. They also maintain and repair power and lighting circuits, distribution switchboards, generators, motors and other electrical equipment. Electrician's Mates are employed onboard nuclear powered ships to maintain the control subsystems in nuclear reactors.[2]
Rating Badge EN.jpg
Engineman EN
Engineman are responsible for internal diesel and gasoline engines. They also maintain refrigeration, air-conditioning, distilling-plant engines and compressors.[2]
Rating Badge EOD.jpg Explosive Ordnance Disposal EOD
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians locate, identify, render safe and dispose of all forms of ordnance (conventional, nuclear, chemical, biological, military, and improvised) both U.S. and foreign made. Parachute or Helicopter insertion and deep-sea diving capabilities are sometimes necessary to perform this mission. In addition to working closely with other military services, EOD technicians occasionally assist civilian law enforcement agencies.[7]
Rating Badge GS.jpg
Gas Turbine System Technician GS (Electrical)
Gas Turbine System Technician are responsible for all gas turbine engines. They maintain propulsion machinery, including gears, shafting and controllable pitch propellers, assigned auxiliary equipment propulsion control systems, electrical and electronic circuitry up to the printed circuit module, and alarm and warning circuitry. They handle administrative tasks related to gas turbine propulsion system operation and maintenance.[2]
Rating Badge HT.jpg
Hull Maintenance Technician HT[I]
Hull Maintenance Technicians are responsible for maintaining ships' hulls, fittings, piping systems and machinery. They install and maintain all shipboard and shore based plumbing and piping systems. They look after a vessel's safety and survival equipment and perform many tasks related to damage control.[2]
Rating Badge IC.jpg Interior Communications Electrician IC
Interior Communications Electricians operate and repair electronic devices used in the ship's interior communications systems, SITE TV systems, 1MC (public address system), electronic megaphones and other announcing equipment. They are responsible for the gyrocompass systems.[2]
Rating Badge MM.jpg Machinist's Mate MM
Machinist's Mates are responsible for the continuous operation of the many engines, compressors, gears, refrigeration, and air-conditioning equipment along with other types of machinery onboard ships and shore installations. They are responsible for the ship's steam propulsion and auxiliary equipment and the outside (deck) machinery. Machinist's Mates are deployed onboard nuclear powered ships to maintain the machinery and piping in nuclear reactors.[2]
Rating Badge MR.jpg Machinery Repairman MR[I]
Machinery Repairmen are skilled machine tool operators. They make replacement parts and repair or overhaul a ship's engine auxiliary equipment, such as evaporators, air compressors and pumps. They repair deck equipment, including winches, hoists, condensers, and heat exchange devices. Shipboard Machinery Repairmen frequently operate main propulsion machinery, besides performing machine shop and repair duties.
Rating Badge ND.jpg
Navy Diver ND
Navy Divers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks like underwater ship maintenance, construction, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and underwater rescue. They are assigned to Naval Special Warfare Units to provide diving technical expertise and supervisory support to all submersible operations.[8]


I^ : The Navy has announced a merger of the DC, HT and MR ratings into Repair Technician (RT) is pending but has not announced a timeline.[9]

Discontinued and changed ratings[edit]

Insignia General rating Abbreviation Status
Aviation Storekeeper AK Merged into Storekeeper on 1 January 2003.[10]
Rating Badge AM.jpg Aviation Structural Mechanic (Hydraulics)
Aviation Structural Mechanic (Structures)
Merged into Aviation Structural Mechanic on 1 March 2001.[10]
Rating Badge AS.jpg Aviation Support Equipment Technician (Electrical)
Aviation Support Equipment Technician (Hydraulics and Structure)
Aviation Support Equipment Technician (Mechanical)
Merged into Aviation Support Equipment Technician on 1 March 1990.[10]
Rating Badge CT.jpg
Cryptologic Technician (Communications) CTO Merged into Information Systems Technician on 1 March 2006.[10]
Rating Badge DK.jpg
Disbursing Clerk DK Merged into Personnel Specialist on 1 October 2005.[10]
Rating Badge DT.jpg
Dentalman DT Merged into Hospital Corpsman on 30 August 2005.[10]
Rating Badge EW.jpg
Electronic Warfare Technician EW Merged into Cryptologic technician on 1 October 2003.[10]
Rating Badge JO.jpg
Journalist JO Merged into Mass Communications Specialist on 1 July 2006.[10]
Rating Badge LI.jpg
Lithographer LI Merged into Mass Communications Specialist on 1 July 2006.[10]
Rating Badge CS.jpg
Mess Management Specialist MS Changed to Culinary Specialist on 15 January 2004.[10]
Rating Badge PN.jpg
Personnelman PN Merged into Personnel Specialist on 1 October 2005.[10]
Rating Badge PH.jpg
Photographers Mate PH Merged into Mass Communications Specialist on 1 July 2006.[10]
Rating Badge SM.jpg
Signalman SM Disestablished on 4 November 2003.[10]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Navy.
  1. ^ "U.S. Navy Officer Ranks and Enlisted Rates". Navy Data. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "U.S. Navy Enlisted Ratings" (PDF). University of California Berkeley, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  3. ^ "Enlisted Rank Insignia Aviation". Navy Data. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Navy Enlisted Rating Descriptions Information System Technician (IT)". U.S. Military U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman". Rod Powers. U.S. Military Retrieved 2006-12-28.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "SWCC" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b c d "Enlisted Rank Insignia Administration". Navy Data. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  7. ^ "Navy Enlisted Rating Explosive Ordnance Disposal". Rod Powers. Military Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  8. ^ "Navy Diver". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  9. ^ "Enlisted Rating Insignia Engineering & Hull". Navy Data. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Disestablished enlisted rating insignia". Bureau of Naval Personnel. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2007-01-11.