Navy Removes All Historic Job Titles After Study On Gender Neutrality

Jonah Bennett | National Security/Politics Reporter

The Navy announced Thursday that it’s removing all historic job titles and replacing them with occupational specialty codes, as opposed to direct titles, effectively removing the word “man” from job titles in a roundabout way.

According to Navy Times, what this decision means in practice is that “Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor…would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.”

“We’re going to immediately do away with rating titles and address each other by just our rank as the other services do,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told Navy Times. “We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.”

The shift gets rid of pesky job title names like “yeoman,” which the Navy bureaucracy had no idea how to make gender-neutral, thereby fulfilling a request from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to make positions more female-friendly to facilitate integration.

In June, the Marine Corps removed the word “man” from 19 job titles, although the service did keep certain iconic job titles like “rifleman” and “mortar man.”

The reason the Navy has taken so long to implement changes is because its review of titles was far more in-depth. The Navy also does not have nearly the same kind of cultural opposition to name changes as does the Marine Corps.

There is an exception. Sailors at the rank of E-3 and below will continue to be called seamen.

A Navy spokesman said there was no “direct line” between the all-out effort for gender-neutrality and the new job title overhaul.

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