U.S. NAVY AVIATION SUPPORT EQUIPMENT TECHNICIAN (AS) RATING BADGE
When the Aviation Support Equipment Technician (AS) rating was established in October, 1965, it featured several service ratings: AS Hydraulics and Structure, AS Electrical, and AS Mechanical. All those service ratings were folded into the AS rating in 1990, with the result that today’s Aviation Support Equipment Technician could well be considered a King of All Trades. Because of the nature of their working environments—often in relatively remote areas of a large vessel or airfield—and the requisite tools and equipment used to deploy, store, and maintain aviation assets, the AS must be not only mechanically skilled, but also possess a thorough knowledge of electrical, refrigerant, and hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
At 20 weeks, the core instruction period for up-and-coming Aviation Support Equipment Technicians is one of the longest in the Navy. After 20 weeks of classes, group instruction, and shop at the Class “A” Technical school held at Naval Air Station Pensacola, the typical AS will attend a Class “C” school devoted to a specific type of equipment before they are assigned their first billet. Over the course of a 20-year Naval career, an AS can expect to spend three-fifths of that time at shore stations. One of the duties AS’s will be given upon reaching a paygrade of E7 (Chief Petty Officer) is the management of curriculum development at Apprentice and Journeyman schools for Sailors following in their career footsteps.