A gunner’s mate is a small-arms weapons specialist in the Coast Guard; it is often abbreviated as GM. The GM is part of the engineering and weapons branch. The Navy has a gunner’s mate rating as well. The GM in the Navy operates the guided missile launching systems, along with small arms and magazines. This position--or “rating,” as the Navy calls its positions--handles gunnery equipment of all kinds. The ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, test leads to entry into the military and determines your aptitude for certain jobs.

Enlistment Qualifying Scores

Four critical areas of ASVAB testing determine whether you get to enlist in the military. Arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, paragraph comprehension and word knowledge count toward the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score (the other name for the ASVAB score). These four scores are important for enlistment, and specific jobs or ratings have additional testing requirements and scores. It is easier to be a gunner’s mate in the Navy than in the Coast Guard, as the overall AFQT score for entry into the Navy is 35; the Coast Guard requires 45.

Coast Guard

The GM in the Coast Guard needs a total ASVAB score of 209. This individual works with all kinds of gunnery equipment, from pistols to machine guns and 76mm weapons systems. The GM does training in handling firearms and weapons, along with mechanical, electrical and hydraulic maintenance of weapons equipment. This position requires manual dexterity and handling tools. You need good hearing and depth perception.

Navy Requirements

The GM in the Navy needs an ASVAB score of 204 or 205 in the four areas of emphasis. Two are mathematics and two are science-related. Arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge scores help you get into the Navy as well as assist you in selection as a GM. Electronics information and general science are the two important areas to study for testing for the GM rating. The Navy hearing requirements do not allow you to exceed 45 decibels in any tested range to be a GM. You must be a United States citizen and be able to qualify for a secret military clearance.

ASVAB Total Scores

The Instant ASVAB website shows that the four scores of arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, electronics information and general science must total 204. The Navy website shows 205 for the total of the four scores.

Enlistment Bonus

The Navy considers the GM position a Tier 3 specialization and offers an NPSB, or non-prior service basic, enlistment bonus of $10,000 for six-year enlistment, according to Military.com. Check with a Navy recruiter for the current enlistment bonus.