The rating of Aviation Boatswain's Mates (ABM) was established 6 September 1944 and promulgated to fleet personnel on 14 September 1944 by BUPERS Circular letter 268-44.

Approval for the Aviation Boatswain's Mates rating badge was granted 30 November 1944 by BUPERS Circular Letter 363-44. Also approved by the same letter was the badge for the rating of mailman.

The Bureau of Naval Personnel training bulletins were published monthly throughout the war years and beyond. The 15 December 1944 issue (issue number 14925) listed the following training schools:

Naval Aircraft Factory, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Catapult and Arresting Gear Training for Officer and Enlisted. Length-Four Weeks

Manchester, Washington, Naval Station, Middle and Orchard Point Carrier Gasoline Systems Training for Officer and Enlisted. Length-Two Weeks (Started 20 November 1944)

Rating qualifications for Aviation Boatswain's Mates were first printed and promulgated in change number four to the BUPERS manual in February 1945.

Naval Training Bulletin 14939 of 15 February 1946 lists the following:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Naval base, Naval Air Material Center




MK-4 Arresting Gear



MK-5 Arresting Gear



H2 1 Catapult



H-4 Catapult



P-6 Powder Catapult



Naval Training Bulletin 14942 of 15 May 1946 shows the carrier gasoline system course moving to the Fleet Training Center at Newport, Rhode Island. The same bulletin establishes a CV Fire fighting Course at the same Fleet Training Center in addition to their Damage Control courses.

From September 1944 to April 1948 ABM's were split into four groups as follows:

ABM (AG)-Arresting Gear and Barriers

ABM (CP)-Catapults

ABM (PH)-Plane Handlers

ABM (GA)-Gasoline

In Naval Training Bulletin 14945 of 15 August 1946 the following is published for the first time:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Naval Base, Naval Air Material Center, NAVSCH (Aviation Boatswain's Mates) Class "A", Length-16 weeks Open to Enlisteds. Starts first Monday of each month. The MK-4 and MK-5 arresting gear as well as the H2-1, H-4, and P-6 catapult courses were listed as Class "C".

BUPERS Circular Letter 189-17 of 30 September 1947 grouped the rating together making everyone straight "AB". Also in 1947, lo-cap gas school moved to Philadelphia, and hi-cap gas was taught aboard USS BLOCK ISLAND in the Severn River command near Annapolis, and aboard USS MISSION BAY at Bayonne, New Jesery. Fuels courses were taught at Bayonne until 1967.

Naval Training Bulletin 14962 of January 1948 changes the Aviation Boatswain's Mates Class "A" school to 14 weeks vice 16. The same issue lists "criteria for selection of candidates for class "A" and "P" service schools". The following is an excerpt from that list:

Aviation Boatswain's Mates


Normal Color Perception

20/20 Vision Uncorrected

ALLNAV-44 of 12 March 1948 established the naval reserve emergency service ratings of ABU (Utility), and ABG (Gas). Also established was the "exclusive emergency service rating" of airship rigger-ESA, which existed until 1955. (Airship rigger was not grouped officially with AB's at this time.) Naval reserve ABU's encompassed the pre-1948 ratings of ABM (AG), ABM (CP) and ABM (PH). ABM (GA) became ABG.

Training Bulletin 14979 of July 1949 provides a list of navy training publications. Among them was, "Enlisted Mens Guide to Aviation Ratings", NAVPERS 10301 and "Aircraft Fuel Systems", NAVPERS 10335.

Training Bulletin 14994 of October 1950 lists the new training courses Aviation Boatswain's Mates, Volume 1, NAVPERS 10382 and Aviation Boatswain's Mates, Volume 2, NAVPERS 10383.

The first steam catapult training was in Philadelphia and began in 1953.

On 3 August 1955, BUPERS Notice created the emergency service rating of Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Airship)-ABA. The old "exclusive emergency service rating " of airship rigger was eliminated. Personnel performing airship rigger duties were encouraged to submit request for a change in rating to ABA.

On 1 September 1956, the two emergency service ratings of Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Utility) Third Class (ABU-3) and Aviation Boatswains Mate (gasoline) Third Class (ABG-3) were activated to selective emergency service ratings. Selective emergency service ratings were applicable to USN as well as USNR personnel. Regular Navy AB-3's were not changed to selective emergency service rates. However, ABU-3 and ABFG-3's were established as the normal path of advancement for USN non-rated strikers at the E-3 level. For USN personnel,AB-2 served as the normal path of advancement from either ABU-3 or ABG-3.

On 1 June 1958, the Navy established the grades of E-8 and E-9. A selection board was convened and on 17 October 1958 BUPERS Notice 1430 listed the one AB to be advanced to Master Chief and nine to be advance to Senior Chief. All were advanced on 16 November 1958. All were E-7 at the time and the list is as follows:


Joe M. Harrison Jr.


Rural R. Boyd, Robert O. Coffelt, Lee M. Davis, Troy W. David, James C. Holley, Jesse S. Horton, James C. Huckaby, John W. Hurl, Hubert J. Reece

In 1958, the naval training bulletins changed to quarterly publications and became NAVPERS 14900. In the fall 1960 issue, the new course ABH-3&2was introduced to replace AB 3&2, volume 1, "necessitated by the division of the AB rating into service rating". It further reads "This training course will be followed by courses for the Aviation Boatswain's Mate "F" (fuels) 3 & 2, and the Aviation Boatswain's Mate "E" (equipment) 3 & 2 which are now being prepared".

BUPERS Notice 1440 of 22 September 1960 considerably revised the Aviation Boatswain's Mate family of ratings, both USN and USNR. This notice established the service ratings of ABE, ABF, and ABH which became effective on 1 January 1961. Regular Navy Personnel serving with the Aviation Boatswain's Mate rating at third through Chief Petty Officer were shifted to one of the service ratings. Those USN members holding the selective emergency service rate of ABU-3 were changed to either ABE-3 or ABH-3 whereas persons holding the ABG-3 rate were re-rated to ABF-3.

Reservist designated Senior or Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Utility), (Gasoline) and (Airships) were changed to the general rating of Aviation Boatswain's Mates (ABCS) and (ABCM).

Reserve ABG's at third class through Chief Petty Officer were changed to ABF at equal pay grades. Reserve ABU's were shifted rate for rate to either ABE or ABH. Reserves ABA's at third through Chief were changed to ABH only.

In 1966, the Aviation Boatswain's Mate School moved to Lakehurst, NJ, after more than 20 years in Philadelphia, PA.

In 1967, the Fuels School was moved in it's entirety from Bayonne, NJ, marking the first time that all phases of AB training has been centrally located. Also in 1967, the Naval Air Training Center (NATTC), Detachments were established for Norfolk, VA and San Diego, CA