What Does a Navy Sailor Do?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Images By: Official U.s. Navy Page, Pavlo Vakhrushev
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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A navy sailor performs a variety of tasks on a daily basis. From cooking and cleaning to aircraft control, the navy sailor must function in a variety of roles, with each sailor being educated in a specific job title. A ship is very similar to a floating city, with jobs such as dentists, doctors and electricians all being held by navy sailors. Other jobs commonly found on a land base may include auto mechanic, carpenter or truck driver. Navy officers also fill aircraft pilot, ship captain and lawyer positions within the navy's workforce.

Every job required on a ship can be filled by a navy sailor. Sailors are educated in all aspects of daily life, from cooks who provide nutritious meals to sustain the ship's crew to laundry workers who provide clean linens and uniforms for the sailors. Radar operators fill vital roles in the safety and security of a naval force and all radar operation is provided by the navy sailor. On aircraft carriers, the job of safely landing and launching the aircraft is left to a navy sailor. A navy pilot is also at the controls of the rescue helicopter during all launches and recoveries of naval aircraft on a carrier.


Nuclear reactors aboard navy vessels are also operated and maintained by a crew of navy sailors. Providing entertainment to an off-duty ship's crew is left to the members of a television and theater crew. Naval land bases are also home to several jobs filled by navy personnel. Land-based vehicles, such as trucks, automobiles and other wheeled and tracked vehicles, are maintained by a navy sailor. Machine shops and welding shops are operated by members of the navy, and while working in a land-based repair shop, these sailors are also subject to sea duty aboard a ship.

Civilian workers are able to fill many jobs on the naval land base, however, once at sea, all jobs typically must be filled by naval members. The navy has long been the recipient of some of the most highly technical equipment in the military, so it is the job of the navy sailor to be educated in the most recent technological methods and operational procedures. Operating computer-assisted, missile launching controls with tracking, targeting and guidance systems analysis is left to the sailor. Navy pilots are often responsible for some of the earliest combat missions of any military personnel and, therefore, must be trained to be reliable and accurate with all mission-related data interpretation.


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