In the sign in thread I made a few days ago, someone mentioned that no one outside the Navy understands our rating system, so I'm here to give you non-squids some insight into how it works. I'll use myself as an example for the most part. I'm an E-3, AEAN. For the enlisted side, rank goes like this (I'll use seaman as my example, but there is more to it): E-1: Seaman Recruit E-2: Seaman Apprentice E-3: Seaman E-4: Petty Officer Third Class E-5: Petty Officer Second Class E-6: Petty Officer First Class E-7: Chief Petty Officer E-8: Senior Chief Petty Officer E-9: Master Chief Petty Officer I won't go into the officers much other than this: O-1: Ensign O-2: Lieutenant (junior grade) O-3: Lieutenant O-4: Lieutenant Commander O-5: Commander O-6: Captain O-7: Rear Admiral (Lower Half) O-8: Rear Admiral (Upper Half) O-9: Vice Admiral O-10: Admiral Now, back to enlisted ratings. The Navy has 6 'general apprenticeship' fields. They are Seaman (SN), Airman (AN), Fireman (FN), Constructionman (CN), Hospitalman (HN), and Dentalman (DN). So yes, you can be an airman in the Navy (I am one). These apply to E-1 through E-3, and are identified by the last two letters in your rate/rank and the color of the stripes on your uniform. The first two letters of rate/rank indicate (obviously) your rate. Rate in the Navy is your job. As an example, I am an Aviation Electrician's Mate, or AE. So, as an E-3 in the Navy, I am an AEAN. I came in as an AEAA (E-2). Another example would be DCSR (Damage Controlman Seaman Recruit). New paragraph. As you move up and pick up E-4, you're now a Petty Officer Third Class. I'll go from AEAN to AE3, then AE2 (E-5), and AE1 (E-6). Same deal as before, your rank just becomes a number instead of the AN/SN/FN. When you get picked up for Chief, mine would be AEC. Senior Chief is AECS (don't ask why it's not SC), and Master Chief is AECM. So in the next sign in thread, when someone says AE2, you'll know what the hell they're talking about. Usually, when someone is a Petty Officer, they have a warfare qualification also. There's a bunch of them, but for Aviation we get wings and an (AW) added to the end of our rate/rank. So AO2(AW) is Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class (Air Warfare). Well, I think I pretty much covered it here. It's easy to understand once it's explained, so I hope everyone reading this (even the Marines ) now have a better understanding of the Navy. Questions? Ask away.