Navy Fireman (Engine/Mechanical Apprentice)

Fireman (Engine/Mechanical Apprentice) (FN)

Navy Recruits using a firehose to practice putting out fires.
US Navy recruits practice using a fire hose during firefighter training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

The Navy fireman (engine/mechanical) apprentice) enlistment program option enables sailors to qualify for one of several Navy engineering or mechanical skill specialties (ratings). The training is on-the-job apprentice training. Skills learned as a fireman or in the related engineering skill specialties is equivalent to that received as an electrician, electrical or power plant/co-generation plant operator or supervisor, diesel mechanic, or electronics repair technician. Equipment associated with fireman training includes propulsion and diesel engines; electronic machinery plant control systems and networks; and intricate electrical wiring and distribution systems.

The Importance of the Navy Firemen

The name fireman enjoys a proud and storied history. The name originated in the days when the fireman was responsible for keeping the fires burning in the ship’s boilers which were used to make steam. The steam-powered large turbines then produced the ship’s electricity and turned the ship’s propellers.

After completion of recruit training, enlistees in the Fireman Apprenticeship Training program attend a three-week course on naval engineering fundamental skills in shipboard operations and evolutions.

After successful completion of this training, firemen are usually assigned to shipboard duties where the Navy needs them the most.

Firemen can request and may receive on-the-job training in a rating that they are interested in, qualify for, and that is available at their first command by completing correspondence courses and personal advancement requirements. They must also be recommended by their Commanding Officer for the Navy rating they desire.

Firemen may also attend special Navy schools to learn about general damage control, shipboard firefighting, preventive maintenance of special equipment, and the use of special tools used in the rating they are working in or seeking.

Firemen Duties

The duties performed by a fireman include:

  • Standing underway engineering watches and operating analog, digital, and plasmatic display units
  • Using hand and power tools while working with complex machinery
  • Repairing, maintaining, and preserving engineering and associated equipment in preparation for underway operations
  • Keeping accurate electronic and written records
  • Observing safety standards associated with engineering machinery
  • Standing power plant and ship security watches while in port and underway
  • Operating electrical and sound-powered communication systems
  • Serving as a member of damage control, emergency, and rescue and assistance teams
  • Taking part in the underway replenishment (transferring fuel and supplies from ship to ship at sea)
  • Working with qualified personnel to gain on the job training and experience, which will qualify for college credits.

Other Requirements

Must have normal color perception. Must have normal hearing. Security Clearance, (SECRET) required. Must be a U.S. Citizen.

Technical Training Information

Firemen are taught fundamental skills needed in a shipboard environment. Most training takes place at the first duty station in the form of on-the-job training in the rating for which they are "striking."

By "striking" for a specific Navy rating, a qualified person may be assigned to a Navy class "A" technical school for further training in that rating. Firemen may also be able to participate in advancement exams without additional schooling once qualifications for selection into the rating of their choice have been met.