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Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions

Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Handling (ABH)


Aviation boatswain's mates (handling) direct an E-2C Hawkeye aboard USS Carl Vinson,  ARABIAN SEA (April 26, 2011) Aviation boatswain's mates (handling) direct an E-2C Hawkeye aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are conducting maritime security operations and close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang / Released

Aviation Boatswain's Mates 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 ABs can earn the advanced AB rating that requires supervision of all these individual specialties.

The duties performed by ABHs include:

  • supervising the movement, spotting and securing of aircraft and equipment ashore and afloat;
  • performing crash rescue, fire fighting, crash removal and damage control duties in connection with launching and recovery of aircraft.

Working Environment

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. ABs work closely with others in aviation ratings.

A-School (Job School) Information

Pensacola, FL -- 36 calendar days

ASVAB Score Requirement: VE+AR+MK+AS=184

Security Clearance Requirement: None

Other Requirements

  • 20/100 uncorrected vision, correctable to 20/20
  • Must have normal color perception
  • Must have normal hearing (see below)

Frequencies: 3000hz 4000hz 5000hz 6000hz. Average hearing threshold level in these four frequencies must be less than 30db, with no level greater than 45db in any one frequency. If hearing level exceeds these limits, the applicant is enlistment ineligible for the rating. No exceptions.

Sub-Specialties Available for This Rating: Navy Enlisted Classification Codes for ABH

Current Manning Levels for This Rating: CREO Listing

Note: Advancement ( promotion ) opportunity and career progression are directly linked to a rating's manning level (i.e., personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings).

Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

  • First Sea Tour: 60 months
  • First Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 60 months
  • Second Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Third Sea Tour: 48 months
  • Third Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 48 months
  • Forth Shore Tour: 36 months

Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.

ABH is a sea-intensive community. Manning conditions at sea may require the need to request sea tour extension or shore tour curtailments to ensure all sea duty billets are filled.

Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command

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