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Gunner's Mate

Related Civilian Jobs:

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

The gunner's mate (GM) is one of the oldest ratings in the Coast Guard. Carrying on a rating that was first formally established in 1797, GMs work with everything from small arms to 76mm weapons systems. As a GM, you will be responsible for training personnel in proper handling of weapons, ammunition, and pyrotechnics. Additionally, GMs will receive intensive training in and develop skills in electronics, mechanical systems and hydraulics, and perform maintenance on all ordnance/gunnery equipment: mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic. GMs acquire skills in such a wide range of specialties, paving a firm path to a variety of great future careers.

Types of Duty:

GMs are stationed throughout the Coast Guard, including Guam, Alaska and Hawaii. GMs typically work out of armories afloat and ashore. GMs are stationed on large and small cutters. GMs work out of area, district, naval engineering support units (NESU) and weapons augmentation teams (WATs). GMs are sent to repair weapons as required from the NESUs and WATs. 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).

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.

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