Upon completion of the Platform “C” School to which they’ve been sent, Aviation Electronics Technicians (AT) who are following the “O” strand (Organizational Level, or ATO) will very likely be assigned to a particular squadron of either fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft. Most commonly seen rotary-wind assets in the Navy are the multi-role SH-60 Seahawk and the MH-53E Sea Dragon (mine countermeasures and onboard delivery); though in service for over thirty years, new variations and modular technology means they are likely to be in service for the foreseeable future. Fixed-wing aircraft on which OL Technicians will perform maintenance, testing, and troubleshooting include (but obviously are not limited to) the F/A-18, E-2C, EP-33, and E-6B.
The first billet for ATOs will likely see them stationed at one of more than a dozen Naval Air Stations (NAS) in the U.S., or abroad at the NAS Sigonella, Sicily or the Naval Air Facility in Atsugi, Japan. Another possible duty station for a new ATO is Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, home to the Navy’s nuclear command-and-control element Strategic Communications Wing One. Comprising three squadrons, the wing has 1,300 active-duty sailors (and an additional 100 contractors) on hand to secure, maintain, operate, and administer the Navy’s E-6B Mercury fleet. As an airborne command post, the Mercury allows high-ranking U.S. government officials to communicate with nuclear-equipped military assets—bombers, submarines, and missile silos—in the event of communications disruptions or the incapacitation of the Global Operations Center at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.