The Navy is dropping all 89 of its historic job titles for enlisted sailors following a review sparked by the decision to open all job specialties to women.
The Navy announced on Thursday that it would establish a new classification system that would give sailors occupational specialty codes, not rating titles. That means an E-5 sailor will no longer be called "corpsman second class." Instead, he or she will simply be called "second class petty officer."
The major overhaul was first reported by Navy Times. The change aligns the service with the other three branches, which already address their members by their rank, such as "sergeant."
Some of the ratings, such as boatswain's mate, gunner's mate, yeoman and master-at-arms, have been used by the U.S. Navy since the late 1700s.
When the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asked both the Navy and Marine Corps in January to look at ways to make their job titles gender neutral. As a result, the Marine Corps announced in June that it would get rid of the word "man" in 19 of its job titles.
In the Navy, however, that review to create gender-neutral job titles led to a "much more in-depth, follow-on review" that looked at how the Navy rating system could be changed to provide sailors more flexibility and opportunities when transitioning out of the Navy, according to a spokesman for Mabus, who denied "a direct line" between the effort for gender-neutrality and the change announced Thursday.
The second review is what led to the new system, which Navy leaders say will give potential employers in the civilian world a better idea of a sailor's skills.
"In aligning the descriptions of the work our sailors do with their counterparts in the civilian world, we more closely reflect the nation we protect while also making it easier for our sailors to obtain the credentials they'll need to be successful in the private sector," Mabus said.
While the change gets rid of "man" in many job titles, like corpsman, aviation ordnanceman, and legalman, sailors who are at the E-3 rank and below will still be called seamen.
In announcing the decision, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano pointed out that this move makes career advancement within the Navy more fair.
"No longer will you be limited to the opportunities within your rating," he said. "Jobs available to you will better match your skills and talents."