Surface Forces: November 16, 2003


Recently, the U.S. Navy quietly underwent another change prompted by advances in technology. The navy job classification "Signalman" is being phased out. For over two centuries, navy signalman handled the job of communicating with nearby ships using flags or semaphore (blinking lights sending Morse code). But now electronic equipment is available to do the same thing (short range communications that cannot be picked up nearby enemy ships.) Morse code has been fading away as well, although the military still has use for it. The Signalman's work will be taken over by sailors designated "Quartermasters" (which, in the navy, means dealing with navigation). Sailors who are currently signalmen will be allowed to study for another specialty, or finish their current enlistment as Signalmen and leave the navy.


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