Today’s Electronics Technician rating (ET) and its three service ratings—Submarine Nuclear Power (ETN), Submarine Navigation (ETV), and Submarine Communications (ETR)—trace their roots back to the establishment of the Radio Technician rating (RT) in 1942. Drawing primarily on Sailors from the Radioman rating (RM), the new rating had paygrades of Chief and First, Second, and Third Class, but only Sailors who had graduate from Radio Materiel schools at Treasure Island (California), Bellevue (Washington), and Corpus Christi (Texas) were eligible for promotion to Chief Petty Officer.
The Radio Technician rating was changed to Electronics Technician’s Mate (ETM) in 1945, with training schools available at Treasure Island and at Navy Pier in Chicago and Anacostia Station in Washington, D.C. Three years later, the rating was changed to its current designation of Electronics Technician. By the mid-1960s, ET Sailors were being trained in one of two locations: Treasure Island and Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, which is also the home of the Navy’s Recruit Training Command, i.e., “boot camp.”
Today, Sailors seeking a career in the Electronics Technician rating or one of its three service ratings must be eligible for entry into the Advanced Electronics Computer Field. The only other rating for which this is a requirement is Fire Controlman (FC); potential FC and ET Sailors attend the Apprentice Technical Training school held at Naval Station Great Lakes, where their performance determines to which of the two ratings they will be assigned. All told, over 14,000 men and women work across these two ratings.
Sailors who complete Apprentice Technical Training and are sent to the ET Class “A” Technical School (also held at Naval Station Great Lakes) will spend four-and-a-half months becoming familiar with radars, communications suites, sensors and other displays and equipment. Over the course of a twenty-year career in the U.S. Navy, ET Sailors will likely spend about two-thirds of their time serving at shore installations.