U.S. NAVY FIRE CONTROLMAN (FC) RATING BADGE
The Fire Controlman (FC) rating was established in 1941 and manned by Sailors who had previously served in the Gunner’s Mate (GM) rating. Before the advent of guided missiles (both surface-to-air and surface-to-surface) and radar-controlled gunnery systems, Fire Controlman directed the fire of ship’s guns using range-finding equipment and performing ballistic calculations. While these techniques were most effectively employed when controlling fire support at land-based targets or during combat against surface vessels, they were eventually used to improve the efficacy of anti-aircraft fire.
With the arrival of weaponry in which targeting was controlled by a combination of radar and computer guidance, the FC rating was merged into the rating of Fire Control Technician (FT) in 1948, with the familiar image of a gun range finder first illustrated along with the new rating in the 1951 edition of the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulation. This rating was used for nearly forty years for Sailors serving on both surface vessels and on submarines, but in 1985 the Navy re-established the Fire Controlman rating for Sailors on surface ships and designated the Fire Control Technician for Sailors in charge of submarine-based weapons systems. In 1998, the Navy merged some Sailors in the Data Systems Technician (DS) rating into the Fire Controlman rating.
Entry requirements into the Fire Controlman rating, though not as strict as those for some of the ratings in which Sailors must deal with highly sensitive classified information, are still quite stringent. Enlistees seeking careers as Fire Controlmen must not only be U.S. citizens, but also be able to meet security-clearance requirements. Educations requirements include three semester hours each in solid-state electronics, digital circuitry, and electromechanical systems; two hours in the fundamentals of microwaves; and at least one hour spent in electronics laboratory, digital laboratory, and radar maintenance.