An engineman fixes a valve in an emergency diesel generator space on the carrier Carl Vinson. The realigned engineman rating will focus on diesel engines; most ENs with other skills will become machinist's mates. (MC3 Timothy Hazel / Navy)
Sailors with these Navy enlisted classification codes will remain in the engineman rating, according to a fleetwide message announcing the EN community's realignment with the machinist's mate rating: 4302, 4303, 4304, 4305, 4306, 4308, 4310, 4314, 4324, 4333, 4334, 4340, 4342, 4343, 4346, 4366 and 4370.
Enginemen in other NECs with "limited diesel propulsion experience" also could remain in the rating, according to NAVADMIN 382/12, and sailors can request to transfer to the MM ranks.
Nearly 2,000 sailors in the engineman rating will become machinist's mates by the end of fiscal 2013 — and the days of the full-time support EN community are numbered.
All ENs whose primary skills are in maintaining auxiliary engineering equipment will become MMs, according to the fleetwide message announcing the move.
ENs aboard ship will now concentrate strictly on diesel propulsion — which powers many amphibious ships — while all surface shipboard auxiliary machinery work will be under the machinist's mate rating.
Aux gear, as it is called, includes diesel generators, air conditioning and refrigeration, and freshwater evaporators, for example.
"By realigning enginemen and machinist's mates, the Navy will improve fleet readiness and allow those sailors [in each rating] to continue to have a viable career in the Navy," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SW/AW) Jerome Tellis, MM technical adviser on the staff of the head community manager at Navy Personnel Command.
In effect, the conversion will open up billets for MMs on destroyers, cruisers, frigates and amphibious dock landing ships — vessels they've not previously been able to serve on, officials say, because those surface combatants switched from steam to gas turbine and diesel propulsion starting in the 1970s.
Many in the rating say the switch makes sense, as the MM rating has traditionally been heavily involved in the operation and maintenance of aux gear, though in recent years MMs have only had billets aboard aircraft carriers and large-deck amphibs.
The move won't change the machinist mates' job of handling steam propulsion on large-deck amphibious ships.
Steam propulsion billets have been dwindling since the decommissioning of conventionally powered aircraft carriers, the last of which left service in 2008. The move ensures MMs a viable career path even when engineering billets go away, officials say.
Exactly who converts will be decided by the community managers at NPC, who will review the records of all EN sailors with an eye on their Navy enlisted classifications and the last billet in which they served. Those with auxiliary backgrounds will be converted to MM.
The message, NAVADMIN 382/12, outlines the details and procedures of the move. Conversion is effective May 1 for all active-duty sailors, and for reservists E-6 through E-9. Other reservists will be converted Oct. 1.
Once the rating conversions move through the FTS engineman community, the 280-sailor rating will be too small to support viable career paths for its members, according to Navy officials.
It will be disestablished Oct. 1; sailors still in the rating can convert to FTS ratings with vacancies in their paygrade and year group, or they can become machinist's mates and rejoin the active component.
They can also request early separation or, if eligible, transfer to the Fleet Reserve or retire by Sept. 30.