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Gunner's Mate

Related Civilian Jobs:

  • Firearms Instructor
  • Electronics Mechanic
  • Armorer (Gunsmith)
  • Ammunition Foreman
  • Hydraulic Equipment Operator
  • Mechanic

Carrying on a tradition established in 1797, the gunner's mate (GM) is one of the oldest ratings in the Coast Guard.  GMs work with all types of ordnance, from 9mm small arms to ship board 76mm cannons. As a GM, you will be responsible for training personnel in proper handling of weapons, ammunition, and pyrotechnics. Additionally, GMs receive training in electronics, mechanical systems and hydraulics. They are responsible for performing maintenance on all ordnance/gunnery equipment: mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic. 

Types of Duty:

GMs are stationed throughout the Coast Guard, including Guam, Alaska and Hawaii. GMs typically work out of armories at areas, districts, naval engineering support units (NESU), weapons augmentation teams (WATs) and aboard cutters. With the Coast Guard's broadening mission in homeland security, GMs are involved with law enforcement and security at marine safety offices (MSOs) and maritime safety security teams (MSSTs).

Law Enforcement:

Service members can expect to be assigned challenging duties including traditional maritime law enforcement, anti-terrorism, force protection, port security and safety, as well as providing unit-level training in these fields.

Below are links for you to learn more about these specific duties and qualifications:

Training Available:

Training for the GM rating is through formal instruction located in Yorktown, Va., and at other U.S. Navy facilities. A GM requires skills in electronics, mechanical systems, along with hydraulics. GM 'A' school is currently 10 weeks of formal training. After 'A' school, most graduates immediately attend specific equipment/system specific 'C' schools lasting from five days to 14 weeks. During a career of 20 years, a GM can expect to receive over two years of training in electronics, management, and leadership training.


To be a GM, you should have an interest in all aspects of firearms (marksmanship training, function and usage), and the mechanical operation and electronic function of weapons systems. An aptitude in mechanics, basic electrical theory, mathematics, and attention to detail will help.

Further Reading: