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Navy Enlisted Job Descriptions & Qualifications
Signalman SM
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General Info: NOTE: The Navy phased this rating out, effective 1 September 2004. Sailors who were in this rating were re-trained into other ratings.

SMs stand watches on signal bridges and send/receive messages by flashing light, semaphore and flights. They prepare headings and addresses for out-going messages; process messages; encode and decode message headings; operate voice radio; maintain visual signal equipment; render passing honors to ships and boats; and display ensigns and personal flags during salutes and colors. They perform duties of lookouts; send and receive visual recognition signals; repair signal flags, pennants and ensigns; take bearings, recognize visual navigational aids and serve as navigator's assistants.

What They Do: SMs stand watches on signal bridges and send/receive messages by flashing light, semaphore and flights. They prepare headings and addresses for out-going messages; process messages; encode and decode message headings; operate voice radio; maintain visual signal equipment; render passing honors to ships and boats; and display ensigns and personal flags during salutes and colors. They perform duties of lookouts; send and receive visual recognition signals; repair signal flags, pennants and ensigns; take bearings, recognize visual navigational aids and serve as navigator's assistants.

Detailed List of Required Duties

ASVAB Score Requirements: AR+2MK+GS=190 OR VE+MK+CS=147

Other Requirements: Must have normal color perception. Security Clearance (SECRET) Requirement. Must be U.S. citizen.

Notes: Visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20. When specified, uncorrected visual acuity must not be greater than that indicated (i.e. 20/100), and must be correctable to 20/20.

Technical Training Information: Enlistees are taught the fundamentals of this rating through on-the-job training or formal Navy schooling. Advanced technical and operational training is available in this rating during later stages of career development.

Course Title Location Calendar Days
SM A Great Lakes, IL 33

Training includes lectures and practical exercises covering visual communications procedures, including international Morse code, flag identification and signaling; publications, flashing light and semaphore drills and positions, as well as message construction and procedures. After "A" school, USN Signalmen are assigned to all types of ships. TAR Signalmen are assigned to NRF ships in CONUS. Upon completion of sea tours, TAR SMs will be assigned to reserve centers across the country including the heartland. While assigned to reserve centers TAR SMs will train and administer Selected Reserve Personnel. During a 20-year period in the Navy, SMs spend about 60 percent of their time assigned to fleet units and 40 percent to shore stations.

Working Environment: Signalmen usually work outdoors or in a clean, air-conditioned electronic equipment space, and frequently perform their work as part of a team, but may work on individual projects. Their work is mostly mental analysis and physical dexterity. USN SMs are stationed primarily aboard USN deploying ships, TAR SMs are stationed aboard Naval Reserve Force (NRF) ships that deploy or conduct local operations.

Opportunity Rating:

E-1 to E-4 E-5 E-6
3 3 3

1 = Currently undermanned
2 = Currently manned at desired levels
3 = Currently overmanned

Note: Levels are as of 10 December 2003. Subject to change without notice.

Advancement (Promotion) Trends

College Credits for Training/Experience

Career Progression

Above Information Courtesy of United States Navy

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