ET Life in the Navy

14 JAN 2019

I was a ‘Surface Sailor’. My ‘Rating’ was ‘Electronics Technician’. Although ETs are not ‘Snipes’, there is a legacy related. In the early 1900’s, Radio Equipment began to be installed aboard ships. Initially, the maintainers were Electrician’s Mates who were designated ‘Radio Electricians’. They still wore the EM rating badge. Below it, lower on the sleeve was a new badge of ‘Sparks’ which later became the ‘Radioman Badge’. Further on, the The ‘Radio Electricians’ were redesignated ‘Radio Technicians’ and wore the same rating badge as Radiomen, ‘Sparks’. Post WW2, RTs were redesignated ETs and received the ‘Electron’ rating badge. Later in my career, I was assigned to a Spruance Class Destroyer, USS OLDENDORF. As a Division in the Combat Systems Department, ‘CE’ Division, the ship’s Interior Communications rating (still an Engineering rating) were also assigned to my division. As the division Leading Chief, I was responsible for supervising the IC’s maintenance of related Engineering Equipment i.e. Gyrocompasses, Sound Powered Phones and many others.

Although a ‘Surface Black Shoe’, I also served with Aviation Ratings and Submarine Sailors. I also served with ‘Marines’ and ‘Coastguard’ sailors.

I have never felt my Service or Rating was superior to any others. I value highly the service of other Ratings, Branches and Services. A U.S. Navy Ship would be unable to accomplish it’s Mission without the service of ALL Ratings assigned. Also essential are the Ship’s Officers.

John M. Andresen

CWO3 USN ret.

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