What Does a Machinist's Mate Do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2018
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The job responsibilities of a machinist's mate can vary depending on what United States Navy application he or she operates within, as well as what types of machines are used in that realm of the military. He or she will be responsible for building, maintaining, or repairing various machinery, sometimes in combat situations or with limited materials and tools. In order to become a machinist's mate, the candidate must first complete a high school education, paying special attention to math and science courses, and then enroll in the United States Navy.

Once he or she has enlisted, the candidate can make a request to attend specific training programs that will help him or her become a machinist's mate. The training will include the proper use of various machining tools, such as computer numeric control (CNC) machines as well as various hand tools used in the maintenance or repair processes. Reading blueprints and plans is another important skill the machinist's mate will learn, thereby allowing him or her to assemble complex machines or create various parts to specific tolerances for use in the building of a machine. Basic communication skills will therefore be necessary in order to be successful in this field.


This position is a military job, which means the machinist's mate should be trained for specific military applications. The mate may, for example, work on a ship or other water vessel; this means the machinist's mate may need to be trained in specific sailing techniques and skills. He or she may also need to be combat-trained, as many military personnel can find themselves in combat situations at any time. The mate should be ready to travel frequently and be away from home for extended periods of time, and he or she should be prepared to commit to the military for several years.

Other job responsibilities can vary as they apply to the position of machinist's mate. The specific responsibilities can vary according to the setting in which the mate works, as well as the types of machines he or she is working on. The mate may need to be trained to work on specific types of machines, such as engines in a ship's engine room or even the engines on aircraft such as helicopters or airplanes. The machinist may tend to other machines used for regular military applications as well, meaning he or she will need to be adaptable and able to work on all types of machines.



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