Navy Job: Equipment Operator (EO)

These Sailors Handle and Operate Heavy Equipment

CAMP JOHNSON, N.C. (Jan. 31, 2012) Equipment Operator 2nd Class Jeffery Green of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 uses a front end loader to raise a road bed on Camp Johnson in support of Bold Alligator 2012. Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, the largest amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, represents the Navy and Marine Corps' revitalization of the full range of amphibious operations. #BA12
U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian A. Goyaky / Released

Equipment Operators in the Navy operate heavy transportation and construction equipment including trucks, bulldozers, backhoes, graders, forklifts, cranes, and asphalt equipment. They're like the construction foremen of the Navy, with duties similar to workers at quarries or construction sites.

Duties for Navy Equipment Operators

These sailors operate a wide variety of heavy-duty, self-propelled construction equipment for projects that include everything from building, roadway and pier construction to grading and excavation. That includes conducting maintenance and safety checks, and of course, preparing reports. 

Navy equipment operators (EOs) may also serve as members of a crane crew to rig cable assemblies and change attachments for various lifting and pile-driving operations, using and operating rock crushing and well-drilling equipment, reading and interpreting blueprints, and performing as blasters for construction projects.

EOs are almost guaranteed to work in a variety of conditions, independently and as members of a large team. Their many different duties may be performed in climates ranging from tropical to arctic. Expect to spend a significant amount of time outdoors if you decide to enlist in this job. 

Training for Navy Equipment Operators

After completing the requisite basic training (boot camp) at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, these sailors attend 92 days of technical school (known in the Navy as A-school) at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

During A-school they'll learn the necessary procedures and protocols for handling and operating the Navy's heavy equipment, and get the permits they need to operate the equipment safely when in the field. 

Qualifying as a Navy Equipment Operator

To be eligible for this rating (as the Navy calls its jobs), you'll need a combined score of at least 140 on the arithmetic reasoning (AR), mechanical comprehension (MC), and auto and shop information (AS) segments of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. 

There's no Department of Defense security clearance needed for this rating since there isn't a lot of sensitive information being handled. But it does carry a 60-month (five-year) enlistment obligation, so you should be prepared for this significant commitment. 

In addition, sailors need normal color perception to qualify for this rating, meaning you can't be color blind. You'll need a valid driver's license, and a driving record free of DUI offenses and major accidents. 

Advancement opportunities and career progression, like all Navy and U.S. military jobs, are directly linked to a rating's manning level. Navy personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings.

Sea/Shore Rotation for Equipment Operators

  • First Sea Tour: 54 months
  • First Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 54 months
  • Second Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Third Sea Tour: 48 months
  • Third Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 36 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.

Civilian Occupations Similar to Navy Equipment Operator

You'll be qualified for a variety of civilian jobs on construction sites, and any company or agency that uses heavy equipment in its day-to-day operations.