USCG INFORMATION SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN (IT) RATING BADGE

The insignia for the Coast Guard’s Information Systems Technician (IT) rating—an Electrician’s Mate’s (EM) insignia with a telephone handset above it—was originally used for the Telephone Technician (TT) rating. Established in 1960 A a general rating, the TT rating was split into two specialty ratings)—Telephone Technician Inside (TTI) and Telephone Technician Outside (TTO)—for Second- and Third-Class Telephone Technicians.

When the rating was originally established, Telephone Technicians were responsible for the  installation, operation, maintenance, and repairs of all types of wire-connected communications and related equipment, which included not only phones but also telegraphs, teletype (also called telex), PBXs (private branch exchanges) and switchboards, public-address, and shipboard communication systems (except for sound-powered telephones). Repairing the types of analog communication devices used up until the early 1980s required knowledge of and training in rheostats, potentiometers, solenoids, capacitors, and transformers.

Stringing and splicing cable was a necessary component of the job, and included the laying of submarine cables to prove telegraphy between land-based terminals. This work fell to the TTOs, who were also tasked with erecting antennas and telephone poles and lines. TTIs, on the other hand, had to stand Electronics watch on High Endurance Vessels and at Loran (long-range navigation) stations.

With the move to digital transmission of both voice and data communications, the days of the Telephone Technician and other ratings based upon “stovepipe” technologies that were limited in the scope of data they could process were limited. In 1994, the Coast Guard announced it was renaming the Radioman (RM) rating Telecommunications Specialist (TC), but less than a decade later (2003) split the TC rating into Information System Technician (IT) and Operations Specialist (OS). At the same time, the TT rating was disestablished and its personnel merged into the new IT rating, with the TT insignia chosen as the emblem for the new rating.
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