U.S.S. Little Rock
CL 92 / CLG 4 / CG 4


* * * The GS / MT/ FTM Rating * * *

GS and MT Badge     FTM Badge
GS and MT               FTM   


Page last updated: 23 January, 2018

General Info:

GS Guided Missileman (1953 - 1961) (changed to MT)

MT  Missile Technician (1961 - see below )

FTM Fire Control Technician (Surface Missiles)


The Guided Missileman (GS) rating was established on 05 March 1953. Prior to that time there was no equivalent rating.

In 1961 the "GS" rating designation was changed to "MT" (Missile Technician) for no apparent clearly definable reason. The rating badge worn by MTs was identical to that previously worn by the GS. The GS designation eventually became used for the Navy's Gas Turbine System Technician (See Note 1).

In the mid-60's MTs who specialized in surface missiles (Tarter, Terrier, Talos) had their rating designation changed to FTM. The rating badge was changed to the "range-finder" symbol (see above right image).  Those MTs who specialized in submarine launched missiles kept the MT designation.

The present day FTMs (the old GS and MT ratings) assemble, test, repair and maintain the guided missiles carried by surface Navy ships. To accomplish this they also operate and maintain specialized electronic equipment and work with various types of mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Note 1. In 1978 the Navy implemented the Gas Turbine System Technician rating. Today the Navy GS is responsible for maintaining all gas turbine engines.
- - - - - -

The Navy Guided Missileman Job Description (1960 -1976):


DUTIES:  Perform scheduled testing and maintenance of missiles and their component parts as well as testing and maintenance of missile test equipment. Missile Technicians also fuel and defueled of missiles, assisted the Missile House Gunners Mates in stowing of missiles and missile warheads, maintained and calibrated telemetry equipment, kept missile test logs (one per missile) and maintained associated classified material.

EQUIPMENT USED: Specialized test equipment, oscilloscopes, digital counters, spectrum analyzers, volt-ohmeters, specialized tools and meters, and assorted hand tools.

TYPES OF BILLETS: All surface missile ships equipped with guided missiles, Weapons Stations, schools.

MINIMUM TEST SCORES: Current (2009) ASVAB Score Requirement:
AR+MK+EI+GS=222 or VE+AR+MK+MC=222

PERSONAL: Manual dexterity. Interest in studying. Age 17 - 40.

MISCELLANEOUS: High school training desirable, preferably including algebra, trigonometry, physics, elementary electricity. Hobby as "Ham Operator" helpful. Mechanical hobbies dealing with small parts, such as model construction, helpful.

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret or Top Secret

What They Did:

The Talos Missile Technicians performed maintenance on all variations of the Talos missiles. Operational testing of each missile was performed every 30 days and was done in two test bays located at the aft end of the Missile House (one on each side). Testing of the missile typically involved connection of the missile via a series of cables to the Talos Tactical Test Equipment ("TATTE") test set. The TATTE was located in a mezzanine directly above the test bay. During the test the TATTE would generate signals that made the missile "think" it was flying. The test set generated a simulated guidance beam and a simulated target which the missile used to steer to the target. When the missile sensed that it had reached the simulated target it would generate a command to detonate the warhead (which was disarmed during tests). During the test TATTE would measure all  of the missile's responses during the simulated flight and would compare the responses to preset tolerances. Any response that was not within tolerance would require corrective action by the Missile Technician.
General Rating

GS Guided Missileman (1953 - 1961)
MT  Missile Technician (1961 - mid 60's )
FTM Fire Control Technician (mid 60's to present)
Service (Specialty) Rating

No Service (Specialty) Ratings although each Missile
Technician E-4 to E-6 specialized on a specific
missile type (Talos, Terrier, Tarter. Polaris, etc.)

Click HERE to link to an Unclassified copy of "Principles of Guided Missiles and Nuclear Weapons" (1959)

Click HERE to view"Missile Launchers and Related Equipment Catalog", Ordnance Pamphlet 1855, (1953)

If you would like to see more infomation on the Talos missile, the Missile House, and the Warhead Storage Magazine check out the
excellent material on the "Okie Boat" website. The "Okie Boat" site is the result of an extraordinary amount of work by
Phillip R. Hays, PhD, LT USNR, Nuclear/Special Weapons Officer, USS Oklahoma City CLG-5, Dec 69 - Mar 72.

Here are some quick links to the "Okie Boat" website:

Okie Boat Home Page
Oklahoma City CLG-5 History
Talos Missile and Launching System


Talos Launch

Talos Launch May 1961
(Official Navy Photo 98953)
Talos Launch

Talos Launch May 1961
(Official Navy Photo 98954)



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