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.
|BM||Boatswain (Bosun's Mate)||Responsible for ship's hull and deck maintenance, including the motor whale boats.|
|Cox||Coxswain||3rd class petty officer. Next step was BM2c. There was no BM3c rating.|
|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).|
|MM||Machinist's Mate||Helped operate the ship's engines.|
|MoMM||Motor Machinist's Mate||Diesel mechanics|
|PhM||Pharmacist's Mate||Assisted ship's doctor in providing health care to officers and crew.|
|QM||Quartermaster||Assists with the ship's navigation.|
|S||Seaman||Two classes, 2nd and 1st. Initial ratings following boot camp.|
|SKD||Storekeeper (Disbursing)||Handled payroll disbursements|
|SoM||Sonarman||Operates the ship's SOund NAvigation Range finding equipment used to detect submarines.|
|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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