Seaman apprentices who qualify to serve in three of the Electronics Technician ratings—ET, ETV (Navigation), or ETR (Communications)—begin their careers by undergoing Basic Training at the United States Navy’s Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes, followed by the Apprentice Technical Training program. What comes next, however, depends upon the rating for which they are destined—and volunteering for submarine service eliminates one of those options right off the bat.

Sailors who have completed the Apprentice Technical Training class and have not opted for submarine duty will attend the ET Class “A” School in Great Lakes before being deployed to their first service assignment. For those who have volunteered to serve on submarines—and the Navy only resorts to using nonvolunteers when there simply aren’t enough volunteers to meet the minimum manpower requirements—the next stop will be Groton, Connecticut, home of Naval Submarine Base New London.

Here, Sailors being trained for careers in the ET Submarine Navigation or ET Submarine Communications service ratings will attend Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) and complete the Tactical Computers and Network Operator (TCNO) class. While the Rating Information Cards for these two service ratings list a four-week duration for BESS, the more definitive (and exhaustive) Learning and Development Roadmaps (LaDRs) for ETR and ETV ratings state that the school lasts 47 days, or nearly seven weeks; TCNO is a four-week program.

The next milestone for ETR Sailors is training in the Submarine Communications Ratings Field, or SCERF—but where they’ll take the course and how long it lasts depends upon the Navy’s manpower needs at the time. Those headed for their first sea deployment will take a 15-day course taught at Kings Bay, Georgia or Bangor, Washington, while those slated for more extensive training will nearly 150 more days in Groton undergoing SCERF training.

Sailors slotted for careers in the ETV rating, on the other hand, will receive 18 additional weeks of training in the Submarine Electronic Field, also hosted at Submarine Base New London. Before their deployment, they will take classes to be trained as Voyage Management System Operators, which are held at different locations across the country.


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