Mark D. Faram, Navy Times
12 November 2015
It's no secret that sailors identify with their ratings - and thousands of sailors are about to get new ones.
For 18,395 nuclear power and submarine sailors, the Navy has created seven new service ratings and will issue the new titles and rating abbreviations - just in time for Christmas.
"The creation of these seven new service ratings assists in the identification and classification of submarine and nuclear-trained sailors that have acquired specific skills and training," said Sharon Anderson, spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel. "This measure improves the Navy's ability to track these sailors in the training pipeline and in the fleet."
Anderson said the changes are administrative in nature and will be largely transparent to sailors. No new career fields are being created, nor will these sailors have to sew on any new rating badges when the new service ratings take effect, which is expected by Dec. 18.
Sailors in the three nuclear power ratings and in four submarine non-nuclear fields - navigation, communications, auxiliary and weapons - now officially have what the Navy calls a "service rating" to call home. That begs the question, what's a service rating?
Enlisted sailors serve in one of 57 general ratings, which have a single rating badge and two- or three-letter abbreviation, like BM for boatswain's mate or AG for aerographer's mate.
For example, aviation boatswain's mate is a general rating, but under that are three service ratings specific to fuels, aircraft handling, and launching and recovery equipment.
Service ratings are used for advancement, so that ABEs only compete with other ABEs for their next stripe, rather than also vying with ABFs and ABHs.
All seven new service ratings, until now, had been what the Navy classifies as "exam ratings," which had titles and abbreviations that were used to identify sailors during testing and advancement.
Three of the four new submarine service ratings once had life under current or former general ratings. Submarine quartermasters and radiomen were merged into the electronics technician rating in 1994. Also in the 1990s, submarine qualified torpedoman's mates were merged into the machinist's mate rating. Both TM and RM names and abbreviations were later eliminated from the surface force through two other rating mergers; there are still QMs in the surface fleet.
And though a generation of sailors have come and gone since the Navy executed these mergers, calls for recreating these three ratings under their old names and abbreviation have yet to die down. Sources say the idea to recreate the radioman, submarine quartermaster and torpedoman's mates general ratings are still being discussed in the submarine community.
But personnel officials say the creation of the seven new service ratings is not an official step toward recreating these much-loved extinct ratings.
"The purpose of this ... change was to enable these sailors as well as the nuclear trained sailors to be tracked better by the personnel system," Anderson said. "It was not meant to create, split out, or consolidate any of the ratings."
Here's the new submarine career service rating titles and abbreviations and which NECs will be folded in under each:
EMN: Electrician's Mate, Nuclear Power
Includes Navy Enlisted Classifications: 3301, 3302, 3354, 3359, 3364, 3371, 3372, 3376, 3377, 3384, 3389, 3394, and 9901.
ETN: Electronics Technician, Nuclear Power
Includes NECs: 3301, 3302, 3353, 3359, 3363, 3371, 3372, 3373, 3376, 3377, 3383, 3389, 3393, and 9901.
MMN: Machinist's Mate, Nuclear Power
Includes NECs: 3301, 3302, 3351, 3355, 3356, 3359, 3365, 3366, 3371, 3372, 3376, 3377, 3385, 3386, 3389, 3395, 3396, and 9901.
ETV: Electronics Technician, Submarine, Navigation (ETV)
Formerly Quartermaster, submarines. ETV includes NECs: 14GM, 14NM, 14NO, 14NP, 14NV, 14TK, 14XM, 14XO, and 3329.
ETR: Electronics Technician, Submarine, Communications
Formerly Radioman, submarines. ETR includes: 14AA, 14AB, 14BH, 14CM, 14EM, 14HH, 14TM, 14RO, 14TO, 14ZA, 14ZQ, and 14ZR.
MMW: Machinist's Mate, Non-Nuclear, Submarine Weapons
Formerly Torpedoman's Mate, submarines. MMW includes: 4233, 4235, and 4247.
MMA: Machinist's Mate, Non-Nuclear, Submarine Auxiliary
MMA includes: 4231, 4234, 4246, 4252, and 4253.