The U.S. Navy’s rating system is always in flux. As new technology replace old, new rates are created and old ones become obsolete. In other cases, old ratings are merged into a new rating. Such is the case of the Specialist (M) rating, which existed for only two years (1942-1944). A recent donation of q uniform with the Specialist (M) Third Class rating led us to investigate this now-defunct rating.
A variety of Specialist ratings existed in the Navy from 1942-1948. These were made to accommodate special skills needed in wartime that didn’t fit into the ratings structure already in place. Specialist (M) was created for Navy mail clerks. This became the Mailman rating in 1944. But just four years later, Mailman, along with Radioman, Telegrapher, Specialist (Q) (Registered Publication Clerks), and Yeoman, became a part of the job function of the newly-established Teleman rating.