The Machinery Repairman rating (MR) was established in 1948 by merging the Specialty rates of Machinist’s Mate (S) (Shop Machinists) and Machinist’s Mate (SR) (Outside Machinists). As the name of the rating implies, Sailors serving as MRs are responsible for repairing, maintaining, and if necessary overhauling engines, auxiliary systems, and deck equipment (hoists, winches, heat exchangers, condensers). Most of their duties revolve around equipment repair and the fabrication of replacement parts, but they sometimes run the ship’s main propulsion system and other auxiliary systems.
Machinery Repairmen are drawn from the Fireman apprenticeship, which is the source for several other ratings that are divided into two categories: Precision Welding/Fabrication/Plumbing and Propulsion. Many Firemen apprentices are unsure of which category or rating they would like to purse for their careers in the Navy, and this is where the Professional Apprenticeship Career Track Program (PACT) comes into play. The PACT program, initiated in 2007, is aimed to help Sailors who had not been assigned ratings or who had not selected one by showing them, step by step, what they will need to do to fulfill their potential in the rating in which they are interested. As part of the Navy LaDR (Learning and Development Roadmap), the Engineering PACT, or E-PACT was introduced in 2007 and significantly overhauled in 2013, reducing the number of pages by more than half so that Sailors would find it easier to follow. Other PACTs include the Surface PACT and the Aviation PACT.
Following the E-PACT training, Fireman apprentices next take the Basic Engineering Common Core curriculum, which consists of more than four months of education and training on basic mechanical theories and an intro on how to read and compose technical documentation. Other ratings that receive BECC training include Engineman, Machinist’s Mate, Electrician’s Mate, Gas Turbine Specialist, Damage Controlman, Hull Maintenance Technician, and Gas Turbine System Electrician. BECC uses a blend of Computer-Based Training, traditional instructor-led courses in a classroom setting, hands-on work with actual equipment, and highly realistic simulators.
Those Firemen apprentices headed into the Machinery Repairman rating next attend what is known as the MR Strand Technical School for a month of training using the tools, equipment, and machines that they’ll be working with when they are deployed to their first billet, which typically is a 48-month sea tour.