Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Equipment (ABE)

Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions

Aviation boatswain's mates refuel an AV-8B Harrier jet aircraft.
Philippine Sea, September 20, 2012 - Aviation boatswain's mates refuel an AV-8B Harrier jet aircraft on the flight deck aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during flight operations. Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Aviation Boatswain's Mates play a major part in launching and recovering naval aircraft quickly and safely from land or ships. This includes preparing and fueling planes prior to take-off and after landing. Later in their careers, ABs can earn the advanced AB rating that requires supervision of all these individual specialties.

The duties performed by ABEs include:

  • maintaining and performing organizational maintenance on hydraulic and steam catapults, barricades, arresting gear and arresting gear engines;
  • operating catapult launch and arresting consoles, firing panels, water brakes, blast deflectors and cooling panels;
  • performing aircraft-handling duties related to the operation of launching and recovery of naval aircraft.

Working Environment

Most of the work in this rating is performed outdoors on the deck of aircraft carriers, in all climatic conditions, in fast-paced and often potentially hazardous environments. ABs work closely with others in aviation ratings.

A-School (Job School) Information

Pensacola, FL --39 calendar days

ASVAB Score Requirement: VE+AR+MK+AS=184

Security Clearance Requirement: None

Other Requirements

  • 20/100 uncorrected vision, correctable to 20/20. (Vision waivers are not authorized)
  • Must have normal color perception.
  • Must have normal hearing (see below).

Normal hearing required. Frequencies: 3000hz 4000hz 5000hz 6000hz. Average hearing threshold level in these four frequencies must be less than 30db, with no level greater than 45db in any one frequency.

If hearing level exceeds these limits, the applicant is enlistment ineligible for the rating.

Sub-Specialties Available for This Rating: Navy Enlisted Classification Codes for ABE

Current Manning Levels for This Rating: CREO Listing

Note: Advancement ( promotion ) opportunity and career progression are directly linked to a rating's manning level (i.e., personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings).

Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

  • 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

Note: 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.

ABE is a sea-intensive community. Manning conditions at sea may require the need to request sea tour extension or shore tour curtailments to ensure all sea duty billets are filled.

Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command