Navy Fire Controlman Job Description

These Sailors Operate Surface Ship Weapons

PACIFIC OCEAN - FEBRUARY 16: In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby, from San Leandro, CA, operates the radar system control in the combat information center during a ballistic missile defense drill February 16, 2008 aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70).
Michael Hight / U.S. Navy via Getty Images

Information from the Navy Personnel Command

Navy fire controlmen (FC) operate certain weapons systems aboard Navy surface combatant ships. This is a highly technical, highly challenging rating (as the Navy refers to its jobs) in the advanced electronics and computer field.

Fire controlman is a highly competitive rating within the Navy, so standards for recruits are very high. If you're considering this rating, you'll need to be mature and willing to take on a lot of responsibility, in addition to having technical skill and expertise.

Unlike other ratings, in addition to operating weapons systems, fire controlmen troubleshoot and repair the weapons as well. These weapons systems include the Tomahawk missile system, the Sea Sparrow missile system and the Harpoon missile system as well as the associated computer and sensor packages. 

Training for Navy Fire Controlmen

Recruits can't enlist with the guarantee of an FC rating. They're required to enlist under the Navy's advanced electronics/computer field (AECF), and will spend about nine weeks in basic electronics training. That's in addition to fire controlman "A" school for about 20 weeks, both of which are conducted at the Navy base in Great Lakes, Illinois.

During the initial phase of AECF training, recruits are assigned to either the fire controlman rating or the electronic technician (ET) rating. These two ratings comprise the basis of a ship's combat systems department, which are responsible for maintaining its readiness for combat operations.

Duties of Fire Controlmen

The expanded duties of the fire controlman include operating and maintaining combat and weapons direction systems, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile systems and gun fire control systems. They also provide system employment recommendations, performing maintenance on digital computer equipment systems, 

The fire controlman has other duties related to the upkeep and maintenance of a ship's weapons systems, which include inspecting and testing micro- and minicomputers and related electronics.

Working Environment for Fire Controlmen

The working environment for fire controlmen can include the entire Navy fleet of surface ships, including aircraft carriers and Aegis cruisers, as well as repair activities ashore.

Job Requirements for Fire Controlmen 

Recruits must score a combined 156 in the mathematics knowledge (MK), electronics information (EI) and general science (GS) portions of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, and a 222 on the arithmetic reasoning (AR) portion. 

In addition, aspiring fire controlmen need to be able to qualify for secret security clearance, have normal color perception, normal hearing, and be a U.S. citizen. This rating has a 72-month enlistment obligation. 

Advancement opportunities and career progression for fire controlmen, as with many Navy ratings, are directly linked to the rating's manning level.

Personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings. 

Sea/Shore Rotation for Fire Controlmen

  • First Sea Tour: 60 months
  • First Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 60 months
  • Second Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Third Sea Tour: 48 months
  • Third Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 48 months
  • Forth Shore Tour: 36 months

Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.

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