18 December 2015

So, What Did YOU do in the Navy?

Being a lifetime Navy man, having grown up around it and selected for E-6 in the most recent promotion cycle, I felt the need to assign ratings to the various careers in the Imperial Navy to add some depth to the careers.

The enlisted grades of the Navy in Traveller have been influenced by the post World War II U.S. Navy since the publication of the classic High Guard in 1980. In my Traveller Universe, I see there's a need for assigning ratings (jobs) to each grade. He's not just a Chief Petty Officer, he's a Chief Gunner's Mate, or a Chief Boatswain's Mate. Having the same title for everyone is what the Army does.

A full list from the Navy, along with the construction guides for badges is found here at the Navy Personnel Command Website. A more user friendly, along with descriptions of each rate can be found at Wikipedia. To avoid going into lots of depth, I am limiting this to just the careers found in the Mongoose Traveller High Guard. Also, characters who are only in the Crewman career won't be covered. If a character gets out after one term, he can be an undesignated Spacehand, but multiple terms can be rated as the player desires, giving the opportunity for shipboard administrators. Also, the Support career I find to be rather useless, because these should not have an enlisted grade cap  for any of these, and medical is impossible to qualify for on the enlisted side. The Admin career makes no sense. I might end up writing a skill table for Supply sailors at somepoint in the future.

Steve McQueen in 'The Sand Pebbles'
Steve McQueen as Machinist Mate 1st Class
Jake Holman in The Sand Pebbles
The Black Gang. Domain of Mr. Scott. F'ing Nukes. All terms of endearment or derision. If a more nautical flavor is desired, the most junior characters can use the rate of Firehand instead of Spacehand. Just don't piss them off, as they tend to have tools around like big wrenches or electrical testing gear.

Damage Control has a few quick ideas for assigning rates. Most obviously, is the rating of Damage Controlman. Also a choice is the similar Hull Technician, which is more broadly defined. If you want a limited amount of rates, Machinist Mate is the go-to for 'Generic Engineer'. And if the character works on fighters and small craft, Aviation Structural Mechanic is a choice as well.

The Electronics path gives us a few ideas. It depends on what the image for the character is. Are they running the electrical generation and distribution system on the ship? Electrician's Mate is the way to go. Performing delicate repairs on any piece of electronics from Night Vision Equipment and Inertial Compasses to the Sensor Relays and whatever else comes their way? Electronics Technician is what the character is. Running the ship's internal communications circuits and hooking up clandestinely to the planet's information network for fresh information when moored? Interior Communications Electrician is the rate of choice. Characters who find themselves working with small craft can take the rates of Aviation Electronics Technician or Aviation Electrician's Mate

Mechanic gives us a range of options. For starters, we can go with Machinist Mate for almost any slot. Also a choice, is Machinery Repairman, for characters that find themselves working more fabricating equipment.  Fighter and Small Craft support characters could be rated as Aviation Machinist Mates, or as Aviation Support Equipment Technicians.

Rating Badge MT.jpg
Missile Technician
"If I wasn't a gunner, I wouldn't be here! Fire #1!" A military ship, sailing blue or black oceans, is a platform for weapons, and the crews that man them are vitally important. In theory, I have been a weaponeer since I enlisted, wearing first the Missile Technician rating badge, and now the Gunner's Mate.

Rating Badge GM.jpg
Gunner's Mate
The Fire Control specialization could represent a character who is a designated Fire Controlman, or it could be the actual on the mount crew of a bay weapon. If it's the later, I would refer to him as a Gunner's Mate - Bays. The dashed off designation is a service rating, and shows the spacer as a specialist. A character with a more significant level of Computers and Sensors would be a Fire Controlman, while a Gunner's Mate - Bays would be more Gunner and Mechanic.

Turret specialists are easy. They are all Gunner's Mates - Turrets. Even a missile turret or bay won't have a Missile Technician in my Traveller universe, as having been one, the specialization isn't present. The rate works primarily on the Trident II Strategic Weapon System at this point, and nuclear weapons, although taboo, are too common to require a special rating.

Screens are an interesting spot. While modern submarines do carry a limited supply of countermeasures, and chaff rockets have been aboard warships for around 50 years, there is nothing like Nuclear Dampers, Meson Screens, or Black Globe Generators in the modern world. The now disestablished rating of Electronic Warfare Technician would go well with the sandcaster operator, the best idea might be to make up your own title, like Screen Technician.

Image result for the hunt for red october jonesy
STS2(SS) Jones from "The Hunt for Red October"
Your sensor operator wants to be him.
This is the most straight forward career to transfer to ratings, I found, mostly because  of how it's structured. Astrogation career path is pretty much a Quartermaster with a few adjustments. I take the Helm specialization as being a Boatswain's Mate. Yes, the deck apes that everyone makes jokes about. First, this rate in the US Coast Guard can command patrol boats, and in the Navy may be the craftmasters of yard craft. Second, real BM's can be up with the bridge as much as working the lines on the deck. Sensors specialization takes you to the Operations Specialist rating, although more weapons oriented might be more Fire Controlmen.

This refers to more small craft operators. In my opinion, I would have them as straight up Naval Aircrewmen, although if the referee is sufficently Old School, the World War II rating of Naval Aviation Pilot is available. The various rates that were used by World War II bomber gunners are also acceptable.

Also, I would love to hear from someone who can explain to me how the Royal Navy's enlisted system works, or where I can find out. That would be a very nice way to expand it all.