An inside joke about the AZ rating is that they “put the AZ in lazy.”
However, those in the know understand that what AZ stands for is a bit closer to
“They do everything in the Navy from A-to-Z.”
To become an AZ, a sailor must score well above average on their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, better known as the ASVAB. A candidate must also be competent in mathematics, be computer savvy, and qualify for a secret security clearance. An AZ will typically go to “A” school in Millington, Tenn., and then into the fleet where additional “C” schools are available.
The following details include duties AZs are required to perform:
Unlike other rates, AZs are required to have a diverse skillset to perform multiple roles within an organization in different work centers. They are typically known for being the ones who work in maintenance control or production control. Walk into either of these departments and look behind the computer screen, the multitude of logbooks, the mountain of paper, calculators, highlighters, pencils, and forms–here you will find them crunching numbers, filing paperwork, updating status boards, or re-building a detachment server.
AZs are on hand to ensure everything is documented properly, filed in the correct location, and logged without discrepancy. AZs also act as the right-hand men and women to the desk chief, maintenance master chief petty officer, and other various maintenance officers, while ensuring their department workloads are current and in order.
Logs and Records Clerk
When someone mentions AZ, they usually think of logs and records. Within this division, they track aircraft, component hours, and even hours on individual bolts or screws. Each time the aircraft flies or the components run, AZs are required to track their life expenditure. It is this meticulous attention to detail where the rating truly shines, as they perform these calculations several times over while utilizing different AZs to ensure accuracy. The pilots and aircrew rely on them to ensure the parts and their aircraft will bring them home safely. This says it all about the AZs, as their ability to crunch numbers and follow conversion tables from one type/model/series to another is of the highest possible caliber.
Visual Information Display System (VIDS)/Maintenance Action Form Clerk
This title is often held by a junior AZ who is beginning their Navy career. While in maintenance/production control, they learn how work orders are filed, aircraft discrepancy books are maintained, and how to keep the status board up to date. A VIDS clerk typically assists the other AZs within maintenance or production control.
Naval Aviation Logistics Command Management Information System/Optimized-Organizational Maintenance Activity (OOMA) System Administrator (SA)/Data Base Administrator (DBA)
If OOMA goes down, a work order can’t be signed off, a person doesn’t have the proper special maintenance qualification, the detachment server won’t boot up, load properly, replicate, or perform database sweeps, the SA/DBA can go unnoticed… and the command’s SA/DBA never goes unnoticed since it is the lifeblood of any maintenance department. This position requires an AZ to be a rating-hybrid; 55 percent AZ and 45 percent information systems technician (IT). They have to know how to set up stand-alone networks, break down and build up computer towers, install hardware, software, and download large files. The AZ responsible for this position must go to a special “C” school at NAS Pensacola for qualification. Upon their graduation, they are given a Navy enlisted classification.
Support Equipment (SE) Planned Maintenance System
Within the Logs and Records division, an AZ will typically be responsible for each piece of SE within the squadron or the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD). A record is held for each piece of gear that supports the maintenance of other components or aircraft. AZs issue, track, file, and log maintenance actions in each of the SE records, which requires them to work hand-in-hand with both the aviation support equipment personnel and the work centers that maintain this gear. This job requires an AZ to be incredibly mobile, performing tasking such as verifying serial numbers, while proofing load-tags and inspection stickers.
Quality Assurance (QA)
AZs will often serve as the central technical publications librarian for QA. This position ensures the entire maintenance department is utilizing the most current publications while performing maintenance on any and all of the department’s items. AZs will also perform audits on each of the work center’s libraries to verify the publication’s updates are current and accurate.
In performing maintenance administration clerk duties, AZs will track the SE Licensing Program, incoming and outgoing department correspondence, and file all instructions per maintenance department’s standard subject identification code.
Aboard small detachments such as frigates, destroyers, and locations where space and manpower requirements are limited, an AZ may function as the detachment’s yeoman, logistics specialist, and IT.
AZs are constantly multi-tasking and although they work inside where the weather is controlled, they go home mentally exhausted from a hard day’s work. While attention to detail holds true for everyone in the military, it may be none truer than for an AZ, as they don’t just adhere to that phrase, but take it to another level. To be safe, they then ask another AZ to verify accuracy.
Any successful aviation maintainer must learn to be part AZ, since maintainers rely on the AZs for everything they do. From work-order initiating, to work-order sign-off issues, they contact an AZ. Ask almost any chief who has run “the desk” and they will admit the hardest thing about the desk is the AZ part of logs and records.
It takes a great Sailor to be a successful aviation maintenance administrationman, because they do everything from A to Z!
AZC (AW) Rappuhn is the aviation readiness analysis leading chief petty officer and AZ1 (AW/SW) Fletcher is the aviation readiness analysis leading petty officer at Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic.