Established in 1948, the Aviation Machinist’s Mate (AD) rating at one point had six Service Ratings—sub-categories for specialization within a field—that essentially specified a type of Mechanic: Carburetor, Engine, Flight, Jet Engine, Propeller, or Reciprocating Engine. Today, the rating offers two career paths, Intermediate or Organizational Level. Along with Aircraft Structural Mechanics (AM) and Aircraft Structural Mechanics, Equipment (AME), Aviation Machinist’s Mates who reach a paygrade of E9 are given the rating of Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman (AFCM).

Like all Navy recruits, potential Aviation Machinist’s Mates first undergo eight weeks of Recruit Training before attending the AD Core “A” School. The core classes last four weeks and are conducted at seven locations across the country. Upon completing the Core classes, ADs will then undergo two more weeks of training in one of three “strands,” which are essentially the three types of aviation engines they will be working with during their career: Helo, Turbojet, or Turboprop.

Once ADs embark on one of the three strands, their training becomes even more specialized when they attend a “C” school before billeting at their first duty station. At the “C” schools, the training focuses on a particular aircraft platform within their strand. An AD trained in Turboprops, for example, will be working planes such as the E-2C Hawkeye or the C-2A Greyhound, and his duty station might be aboard a carrier or at a Naval Air Station.

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