INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL COMMUNICATION
Your choice to become a Signalman is a very good
one. The Signalman rating is one of the oldest in the
Navy, and visual communicationthe first form of
nautical communicationscontinues undiminished
in importance today. You will find your job
interesting, rewarding, and full of the satisfaction that
comes of service to the Navy and the United States. At
the level of operating forces, communications, as you
will learn, is truly the voice of command in a visible
way. The communication organization aboard ship is
under the control of the commanding officer. In the
transmission and reception of signals and messages,
communicators actively participate in the exercise of
The fleet needs capable personnel in all ratings,
because an effective naval force is only as good as the
people who man the ships. Even with the most modern
equipment, the force is seriously handicapped without
competent personnel to operate and maintain that
equipment. Good people are plentiful, but their
capability depends on their training.
This manual contains the basic knowledge you need
for advancement in the Signalman rating. Skills in
personnel advancement requirements (PARs), including
a performance test, also are required, but these can only
be developed through practice and experience.
Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS) is a
qualification for officers and enlisted personnel to
perform certain duties. The Signalman PQS booklet,
Visual Communication, NAVEDTRA 43354B,
contains the fundamentals, systems, and watch
stations recognized by CNET as the minimum
qualification for Signalman supervisor aboard U.S.
Navy ships. Included are expert lookout, flagbag
operator, semaphore operator, searchlight operator,
boat Signalman, amphibious Signalman, Signalman
of the watch, in-port duty Signalman, recorder/
messenger, signal bridge spotter, and AN/KAS-1
operator. This PQS will assist you in becoming a more
productive member of the Signalman community.
As a part of the Navy's training program, Signalman,
is designed to help you meet the occupational standards
for advancement in the Signalman rating.
To become an expert is quite a challenge, and you
will derive considerable satisfaction from mastering
the art of signaling. Through your initiative, study,
practice, and hard work, the time will come when your
shipmates will look upon you as an expert.
THE SIGNALMAN RATING
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: State the purpose
of a Signalman aboard ship. Identify five areas
in which Signalmen must be proficient.
All the planning, organizing, and training that go
into the makeup of a signal gang are designed for one
purposeto perfect the Signalmans ability to
transmit and receive messages vital to the operation
of the ship. The Signalman mans the visual
communication link with semaphore flags, flaghoist,
In addition to visual communications, a
Signalman also must be proficient in navigation.
Navigation duties include the reading, stowing, and
correcting of charts; being able to help pilot a ship in
restricted waters; and being familiar with the Rules of
the Road, navigational aids, and using navigational
equipment. (Navigational duties are discussed in
chapter 9.) In addition, the Signalman must be skilled
in voice radio operations and procedures; be able to
properly render honors and ceremonies; be
experienced in the principles of recognition and be
quick to recognize personal flags and pennants of U.S.
and foreign officers; be able to act as expert lookouts;
and be able to demonstrate know how in many other
As a Signalman, you can expect to serve on a
variety of shipsfrom the largest carrier to the
smallest patrol craftand at various shore commands.
Aboard some ships, you may have to help with the
navigation in addition to your visual signaling duties.
On other ships you might practice only your visual
Now you know, in a general way, what is
required of a Signalman. But you may ask, "What
must I do to become a Signalman?" The demands
are A WILLINGNESS TO LEARN and A