There is arguably no more succinct rating title than that of Gunner’s Mate (GM). While landlubbers might have trouble figuring out precisely what an Aerographer’s Mate or a Fire Controlman do, the very name of the GM rating leaves no doubt what the focal point of their work involves: Guns, guns, and more guns, ranging in size from semi-automatic pistols to crew-mounted machine guns and 76mm cannons.

First established in the United States Navy in 1797 (or 1794, depending upon your interpretation of historic Congressional documents), Gunner’s Mate is also one of the oldest ratings in the Coast Guard: a Gunner’s Mate, in fact, served aboard the U.S Revenue Cutter Levi Woodbury in the Spanish-American War, more than 15 years before the modern-day Coast Guard was created.

Coast Guard personnel seeking a career as Gunner’s Mates will attend a 10-week course at the rating’s “A” School held at Training Center Yorktown in Virginia. This is a highly intensive class, covering small arms (including pistols and combat rifles), machine guns, ordnance, ammunition, and pyrotechnics. Safety and administrative matters are also taught, with course sections on magazine sprinkler systems, ordnance and small-arms administration, and electricity (static sparks and electrical arcs do not play nice with pyrotechnics and ordnance).

Today’s Coast Guard Cutters, particularly the new National Security Cutters introduced in 2008, are equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry that requires far more training than can be compressed into the “A” school curriculum, which is designed to prepare junior petty officers for on-the-job training in entry-level positions. System-specific training is available at a variety of “C” schools, with courses running from as little as five days to as long as three-and-a-half months.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.