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Gunner’s Mate

A United States Navy Gunner’s Mate prepares .50-caliber ammunition aboard the USS Mahan destroyer.

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Gunner’s Mates (GM) are responsible for the operation and maintenance of missile launch systems, underwater explosive weapons, gun mounts and other ordnance equipment. Your job responsibilities as a GM may include:

  • Operating and maintaining guided missile launch systems, torpedo and rocket launch systems, gun mounts and other ordnance systems and equipment
  • Training and supervising crews in the use of all ordnance equipment such as large caliber guns, missile systems and small arms
  • Stowing, securing and ordering explosives
  • Operating and maintaining magazine flooding and sprinkler systems
  • Preparing systems casualty analysis using blueprints, schematics and diagrams
  • Repairing, maintaining and test calibration equipment
  • Maintaining hydraulic and pneumatic components associated with launching systems
  • Tracing internal wiring, connections, cables and transformers
  • Operating and maintaining optical scanning, optical marking and night optical devices used to label, identify and report use of explosives
  • Inspecting weapons

Work Environment

Gunner’s Mates work both on ships and on shore in the U.S. and overseas, in both indoor and outdoor environments. Assignments may include work in shops or on ship’s decks in every climate. As a GM, you can expect to perform work of a physical nature as a member of a team.

Training & Advancement

Upon completion of initial training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), you’ll report for specialized training, including:

Class "A" Technical School (15 weeks) in Great Lakes, IL, for technical training in electricity, electronics, and operation of launch systems and torpedoes.

After you complete your training, you may be assigned to a combat surface craft, weapons installation, ordnance depot, aviation activity or other shore station in the U.S. or overseas.

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.

Advanced Training

Advanced training as a Gunner’s Mate may also be available during later stages of your career. For those with further leadership aspirations and a college degree, Officer roles may be available, providing opportunities to lead and train others.

Post-Service Opportunities

Specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields in the civilian world, such as the mechanical industry, aviation industry or in explosives and ordnance handling.

Education Opportunities

Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training as a Gunner's Mate can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education.

You may also continue your education through undergraduate degree opportunities like the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Qualifications & Requirements

A high-school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor and a Gunner’s Mate. You must also be a U.S. citizen eligible for security clearance.

GM applicants should possess an aptitude for using hand tools and electrical, digital and mechanical equipment. You should have the ability to perform detailed work and keep accurate records.

Due to the sensitive nature of this position, GMs must meet special eligibility standards for reliability, integrity and trustworthiness. Normal hearing and color perception are also required.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Part-Time Opportunities

Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Gunner’s Mates in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.

For annual training, you may serve anywhere in the world, including locations in the U.S., at bases overseas, or in areas where humanitarian needs are great.

Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.

Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

Gunner's Mates in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former military Enlisted servicemembers, prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement, so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.

For those without prior military experience, you will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.