MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- The new Retail Services Specialist (RS) rating, which replaced the Ship’s Serviceman (SH) rating Oct. 1, is “a great example of Sailor 2025 and rating modernization” said Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Command Master Chief (CMDCM) (SW/AW) Thaddeus T. Wright.
Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to improve and modernize personnel management and training systems to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the force of tomorrow. This change aligns with rating modernization, which aims to provide greater choices for Sailors with respect to detailing and training.
“Our Navy is an evolving organization, and with the Sailor 2025 initiative, this was the perfect time to transition the SH rating to RS, which also better aligns the work they perform to the civilian retail and services industry,” said CMDCM (SW/IW) Don Myrick, Office of the Naval Inspector General. “Of my 33 years of active service, I served 21 as a Ship’s Serviceman. There was nothing more important than knowing our motto as Ship’s Serviceman, ‘service to others before self,’ was critical in supporting morale and mission effectiveness.”
Established in 1885 as the Tailor rating, the name was changed to Ship’s Serviceman in 1943 to include additional duties. The SH rating initially identified four specialty areas: barber, laundryman, tailor and cobbler. Subsequently, store clerk was included as one of the specialty areas. Today, RSs develop marketing strategies for Ship’s stores, oversee sales and service operations, and provide funding to morale, welfare and recreation programs.
“With the new RS rating, we’ll be highlighting retail and services and expanding their roles from traditional functions such as ships stores, barbering and laundry. Newer additions to the RS portfolio include specialty kiosks, audit and inventory management. On aircraft carriers, RSs are now managing hotel services in addition to their primary duties. The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) has added postal services to the RS portfolio,” Wright said.
Commander, NAVSUP and Chief of Supply Corps Rear Adm. Michelle C. Skubic said, “The change provides a title that more closely reflects the important work these Sailors perform on a daily basis. I am certain that our new Retail Services Specialists will continue to provide superior quality-of-life services and support.”
“The rating change from SH to RS represents the biggest change we’ve had in our rating in a very long time,” said NAVSUP’s Fleet RS Rating Advisor RSC Shornette Allison. “I am beyond proud to be an RS. Our rate is about 2,000 strong and this change means a lot to us because our responsibilities have expanded significantly. Additionally, leadership is considering additional opportunities to further increase our portfolio afloat and ashore.”
“The rating progression from four specialty ratings of Barber, Laundryman, Cobbler, and Tailor to SH and now RS is a natural one. This name change is in keeping with the tradition in the Navy of defining the occupation of a Sailor in contemporary terms that better define the tasks to be performed and the skills needed to perform them,” said Commander, Navy Personnel Command Vice Adm. John B. Nowell Jr. in a Sept. 29 NAVADMIN message.
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