Captains of US Navy submarines will once again be able to yell “man the torpedoes!” After abolishing the job title in the 1990s, the service is bringing the rate of torpedoman’s mate back in the hopes it will “renew the heritage and pride” of sailors who, well, man the torpedoes.
“The Torpedoman’s Mate rating was disestablished in 1995, but based on feedback from the fleet we are bringing it back,” Capt. Angela Katson, branch head of Enlisted Force Shaping Plans and Policies, said in a September 30 press release by the Navy. “In the spirit of heritage, and Sailor 2025 initiatives, we are returning to the use of the original Torpedoman’s Mate rating badge.”
About 1,100 submariners will be affected by the move, the Navy Times noted. When the Navy abolished the torpedoman’s mate rate, the task didn’t cease to exist – those who had been TMs were renamed as machinists mates (weapons), abbreviated MMW, but continued to maintain weapons on the boats.
Sailor 2025 was rolled out in 2016 amid problems with staffing, sailor retention and morale. According to Surface Warfare Magazine, the program is “focused on three core pillars – Personnel System Modernization; Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL); and Career Readiness.” US President Donald Trump’s push to expand the size of the Navy from 287 ships to 355 by 2034 places increasing pressure on the service to retain its trained crewmembers.
However, the Navy has shown historically low levels…