7TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Oct. 19, 2019) Retail services specialists (RS) assigned to the amphibious transport ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) embrace their newly appointed rate name following its change, Sept. 30.
One of the Navy’s oldest rates, ship’s serviceman (SH) was established in 1943 and represented a merge of four specialty rates, barber (SSMB), laundryman (SSML), cobbler (SSMC) and tailor (SSMT).
“This new rating name better identifies who we are and what we do around the ship,” said Retail Services Specialist 1st Class Casey Hogg. “We operate the ship’s store, vending machines, barbershop and laundry, all of which are retail services outside of the fleet. Since the name change, we’ve already had other Sailors tell us the name fits better.”
The rate name change is in keeping with the Navy’s tradition of defining a Sailor’s occupation in contemporary terms in order to better illustrate the skills needed to perform their work.
“When I would tell people I was an SH, they thought I worked on the ship’s engines or systems,” said Retail Services Specialist 2nd Class Niel Page. “Trying to explain to someone that I did retail didn’t make much sense to them because of my rating name. Now, when they hear RS, they know the line of work I’m in.”
Both Sailors, including Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Tawian Buford, think it will be easier to plan, write resumes and do job interviews after the Navy.
“By putting retail services specialist on a resume or job application, a person is going to know the line of work I was in,” said Buford. “This would save about five minutes of trying to explain to a future employer why an SH would be good working in a retail field. They’re going to see that not only was I in the Navy, but what did specifically for it and the expertise I would be bringing to their business.”
John P. Murtha is currently on its first deployment and part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group(ARG) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team and is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations.