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Enlisted Men Ratings

Listed below are definitions for the ratings of enlisted personnel serving aboard the USS BUSH. Other ratings existed during World War II, but the list here is limited to ratings noted in official USS BUSH records. The ratings shown would be typical of other WWII destroyers.

As you read the materials on the website, if the letter C appears in front of one of the rating acronymns below, then the individual was a Chief Petty Officer, the most senior rating for an enlisted man. If the rating is followed by 1c, 2c, or 3c, it denotes whether they are 1st class, 2nd class, or 3rd class. Thus, CTM means Chief Torpedoman's Mate, TM1c is Torpedoman's Mate 1st Class, etc...

Prior to becoming a petty officer, many sailors were either a Seaman 1st Class (S1c) or Seaman 2nd Class (S2c). A new sailor, fresh from boot camp, first reported aboard ship as a Seaman 2nd Class. These new recruits would be assigned to the Deck Division as they became familiar with life aboard ship. As they advanced toward Seaman 1st Class, they could strive to find a spot with one of the various divsions, if an opening existed. These men were called "strikers" as they worked and trained with a specific unit prior to earning their "rating". When the USS BUSH was lost, records indicate 112 men (about one third of those aboard) were Seaman 1st or 2nd class.

Not all new sailors were Seaman 2nd or 1st class. On par with the S2c and S1c were men with ratings such as Fireman (F) 2nd or 1st class and Hospital Apprentice (HA) 2nd or 1st class. In these cases, sailors would earn their petty officer ratings with the Engineering Division or by becoming Pharmacist's Mates.

The Navy was segregated along racial lines during WWII, with black sailors typically performing jobs such as Stewards, Steward's Mates, and Officer's Cooks. These men assisted the officers aboard ship with some of their day to day needs, such as managing the officer's mess (meals).

All sailors would have specific general quarter assignments. These 'GQ' assignments were often not related to their primary duties. For instance, when under attack a baker might be assigned to work in a 5-inch turret, a steward's mate could be in the 5-inch handling room, and extra radiomen or torpedomen might be assigned to a 20MM or 40MM gun.

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B Boilermaker
Bkr Baker
BM Boatswain (Bosun's Mate) Responsible for ship's hull and deck maintenance, including the motor whale boats.
CM Carpenter's Mate
Cox Coxswain 3rd class petty officer. Next step was BM2c. There was no BM3c rating.
EM Electrician's Mate
F Fireman Part of engineering. Worked with the boilers that powered the engines.
FC Fire Controlman Gunnery, helps deliver ship's gunfire at designated targets.
FCO Fire Controlman (Operator)
GM Gunner's Mate Responsible for ship's ordnance.
HA Hospital Apprentice Thought to be entry level ratings prior to becoming a Pharmacist's Mate (PhM).
M Metalsmith
MM Machinist's Mate Helped operate the ship's engines.
MoMM Motor Machinist's Mate Diesel mechanics
OC Officer's Cook
PhM Pharmacist's Mate Assisted ship's doctor in providing health care to officers and crew.
QM Quartermaster Assists with the ship's navigation.
RdM Radarman
RM Radioman
RT Radio Technician
S Seaman Two classes, 2nd and 1st. Initial ratings following boot camp.
SC Ship's Cook
SF Shipfitter
SK Storekeeper
SKD Storekeeper (Disbursing) Handled payroll disbursements
SM Signalman
SoM Sonarman Operates the ship's SOund NAvigation Range finding equipment used to detect submarines.
St Steward
StM Steward's Mate
TM Torpedoman's Mate Worked with torpedos and depth charges
WT Water Tender Worked with the boilers that powered the ship's engines
Y Yeoman Ship's clerk. Helps prepare and maintain the ship's paperwork, such as the deck logs.

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