USCG FIRE CONTROL TECHNICIAN (FT) RATING BADGE

The image of a range finder used for the Fire Control Technician (FT) rating insignia first appeared in the Coast Guard as a distinguishing mark for personnel who had qualified as Gun Range Finder Operators, specifically referenced in the 1930 Coast Guard Uniform Regulations. In 1942, it was used for the newly established rating of Fire Controlman (FC) and associated service ratings.
 
The rating was redesignated Fire Control Technician at some point in the 1950s, but just when this occurred is nearly impossible to nail down with any degree of certainty. We know the Navy established the FT rating in 1948, and the 1951 edition of the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations—an amended version of which was used for Coast Guard uniform regulations—has no mention of Fire Controlman. Although a monograph on ratings found on the Coast Guard Web site titled U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Ratings Rating Specialty Marks & Distinguishing Marks 1915-2011 lists an approximate date of 1955 as when the rating was introduced, another document—this one authored by the Department of Veterans Affairs—gives us an introduction date of 1958.
 
According to the 1967 Coast Guard Enlisted Ratings Qualifications Manual, “Fire Control Technicians maintain and repair weapon control systems; make detailed mechanical, electronic casualty analysis; and operate, test, lubricate, inspect, clean, adjust, align and calibrate weapon control system components, radars and sound powered telephone systems.”
 
Specialties within the Fire Control Technician rating included Advanced Fire Control Technician (required completion of the rating’s Class “B” school), Ordnance Equipment, (completion of Class “C” Ordnance Equipment School), Control System Technician (Class “C” school or approved contractor school). There was also advanced training available on a variety of specific gun fire-control systems (GFSC) used with 40mm anti-aircraft and .50-caliber machine guns, as well as systems controlling torpedoes (the Mk 264, for example) antisubmarine warfare weapons systems (Mk 114), and the Phalanx close-in weapons system (CWIS) deployed on Hamilton-class cutters.
 
The rating was disestablished in July, 2003, when the Coast Guard merged it with the Electronics Technician (ET) rating.
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