Gunners Mate (GM) Navy Enlisted Rating Descriptions

Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions and Qualification Factors

Gunner's Mates

The Gunner's Mate (GM) rate has been part of the United States Navy since the late 1700's as the United States Navy was born. From cannons and muskets to sophisticated weapons systems such as missiles and torpedoes, the Gunner's Mate has played an intricate part of the success of the Navy.

As weapon technology has changed in over 200 years, the new systems created often required newly trained people and ratings created as well.  From GM Guns, GM Missiles, GM Mounts, GM Turrets, to Torpedoman and Nuclear Weaponsman, new rates were created.  Now, they have all merged back to the original Gunner's Mate (GM) rating.  Regardless of the changes to the rating system, the nick name for the Gunner's Mate has held for centuries, "Guns". 

Gunner's mates (GM) are responsible for the operation and maintenance of guided missile launching systems, gun mounts and other ordnance equipment, as well as small arms and magazines. They work with electrical and electronic circuitry; mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Some examples of the weapons systems Gunner's Mates specialize in are the following:

Besides operating the armories and ranges, the GM also handles the security, maintenance, and inventory of command owned small arms weapons such as the M500 shotgun, M60 machine gun, M14 rifle, M2 Browning machine gun, M4 and M16 rifles, M240 machine gun, M203 grenade launcher, M79 grenade launcher, M1911 pistol, Mk 19 grenade launcher, 5"/54 caliber Mark 45 gun, M242 Bushmaster chain gun, hand grenades, and other pyrotechnics.GMs are responsible for mounted weapons systems as well such as vertical launching system, Missiles, and torpedoes.

 GMs are also trained and responsible for maintaining hand guns such as the standard 9mm Beretta that has been recently replaced by the Sig Sauer's P320 called the M17. The Gunner's Mates in the Navy Special Ops side will be handling the Sig Sauer, Glocks, and other weapon systems used by SEALs, SWCC, EOD sailors. 

The duties performed by GMs include:

  • operating and maintaining guided missile launching systems, rocket launchers, gun mounts and other ordnance systems and equipment;
  • training and supervising crews in the use of all types of ordnance equipment, from large caliber guns and missile systems to small arms;
  • stowing, securing, requisitioning and reclassifying explosives;
  • operating and maintaining magazine flooding and sprinkling systems;
  • making mechanical, electrical and electronic casualty analysis using technical publications, circuit diagrams, and blueprints;
  • repairing, maintaining, testing and calibrating ordnance equipment;
  • servicing hydraulic and pneumatic systems; repairing, maintaining, testing and calibrating microprocessing equipment;
  • repairing damaged hydraulic sealing surfaces, mating areas, and threads; performing mechanical wire connections including soldering; operating and maintaining night optical devices;
  • operating optical scanning and marking devices to label, identify and report explosives' utilization/expenditure.
  • operating and maintaining special ops weapons systems within special operations units throughout the Navy. (SEALs, SWCC, EOD)

    Working Environment

    Gunner's mates work in almost every kind of Navy environment: ship, shore, air squadrons, and special operations units in the United States or overseas. Their work and specialties may involve indoor or outdoor situations, clean or dirty work, deck or shop, and any kind of climate or temperature. They work alone or with others, independently or closely supervised. Their work can be both mental and physical. Regardless, safe storage and usage of weapons systems is a responsibility not given to just anyone.


    A-School (Job School) Information

    The Gunner's Mate (GM) A School is located in Great Lakes, IL and last 115 calendar days.  The training is both hands on and computer based training and focuses on the operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of a large variety of guns and weapons systems. These systems include torpedoes, missile systems, naval ship board guns, as well as small arms training.  Depending upon their first command, general interests, and the needs of the Navy, newly trained GMs will go at an additional "C" school where they will get specific training for the job and platform they will be a part of for their first tour.

    ASVAB Score Requirement: AR + MK + EI + GS = 204

    Security Clearance Requirement: Secret

    Other Requirements

    Normal hearing required. Frequencies: 3000hz 4000hz 5000hz 6000hz Average hearing threshold level in these four frequencies must be less than 30db, with no level greater than 45db in any one frequency. If hearing level exceeds these limits, the applicant is enlistment ineligible for the rating.

    Sub-Specialties Available for This Rating: Navy Enlisted Classification Codes for GM

    Note: Advancement ( promotion ) opportunity and career progression are directly linked to a rating's manning level (i.e., personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings).

    Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

    • First Sea Tour: 42 months
    • First Shore Tour: 36 months
    • Second Sea Tour: 36 months
    • Second Shore Tour: 36 months
    • Third Sea Tour: 36 months
    • Third Shore Tour: 36 months
    • Fourth Sea Tour: 36 months
    • Forth Shore Tour: 36 months

    Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.

    Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command