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    Out With The Old; In With The New

    Around America’s flagship, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN) 76, some of the unsung heroes amongst the deck plates are responsible for managing and operating all shipboard retail and service activities including ship’s stores, vending machines, barbershops, coffee kiosks, laundry and tailor shops and hotel services.
    Since 1942, these Sailors were named and categorized in the ship‘s serviceman (SH) rating, representing a merger of four previous specialist ratings, laundryman (SSML), barber (SSMB), cobbler (SSMC) and tailor (SSMT).
    Big Navy announced the renaming of the ship’s serviceman (SH) rating to retail specialist (RS) in NAVADMIN 226/19 Sept. 30.
    “This change has actually been in the works since 2014, and it is very special to be a part of it and see it come to life,” said Master Chief Retail Services Specialist Kelvin Birdine, from Adel, Georgia. “It just builds us up and prepares us for post-military life, because at the end of the day we’re all going to have to hang up the uniform and have a life after the Navy. If we tell potential employers that we were retail services specialists, we can be more competitive in the civilian sector and that’s what it’s all about”
    The rating 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.
    “I don’t think our name change is so bad,” said Retail Services Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stiff, the Clarksville, Tennessee native. “It definitely translates better into the civilian sector and better communicates the level of professionalism held by members of the rate.”
    Though the ship’s serviceman name is dead, the rate is alive and strong. RS’s aboard the Reagan remember who they were and look forward to who they are.
    “Never forget the past, but absolutely embrace the future,” said Birdine. “We’re not going to forget who and what we were as SH’s, but we have to embrace the change and how we’re going to take the name as RS’s.”



    Date Taken: 10.01.2019
    Date Posted: 12.24.2019 10:47
    Story ID: 357180
    Location: PHILIPPINE SEA

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