If preponderance of numbers was the deciding factor, the Coast Guard would now have a Ship’s Writer rating instead of Yeoman (YN). At the time the Coast Guard was created by merging the U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, the latter organization had eight times as many Ship’s Writers (25) as Yeomen (3). The two ratings were retained following the passage of the Act to Create the Coast Guard on January 28, 1915, but they were given the same specialty mark: two crossed quill pens with their nibs down. In 1920, the ratings were merged into the single rating of Yeoman.

For many decades following the merger, Yeomen were primarily tasked with the types of duties associated with secretaries, clerks, and office managers. They took dictation and transcribed reports and speeches, filed and maintained records of publications and directives, and served as court reporters in courts-martial and recorders during the proceedings of fact-finding bodies.

The importance of secretarial skills to the Yeomen’s job can be found in the 1967 edition of the Enlisted Ratings Qualifications Manual. One of the qualifications for a Yeoman First Class is the ability to achieve a dictation rate of sixty words per minutes with a 95 percent accuracy rate, coupled with a typewritten transcription rate of six words per minute; CPOs had to reach an eighty WPM dictation rate and eight words per minute of typewritten transcription.

The Communications Yeoman (CYN) served in communications stations and in communications offices aboard larger ships; in addition to logging and routing messages, they were also tasked with maintaining the security of communications in accordance with Coast Guard and Federal regulations. (There is almost no information publicly and readily available on this rating, but it is mentioned in multiple historical records.)

Today, Coast Guard personnel serving in the YN rating not only perform the duties of office assistants and administrators, but also perform the types of jobs associated with the Human Resource or Customer Service departments in the corporate civilian sector. The curriculum at the Class “A” Yeoman schools is based up the principle of student centered-performance, with course materials crafted to provide students with a firm concept of the types of jobs they’ll actually be performing, and the skill sets to perform all the requisite tasks.

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