Navy Dads

Retail Services Specialist RS
Retail Services Specialists manage and operate shipboard retail and service activities using microcomputers. This includes ship's stores, vending machines and video games, barber shops, laundry and dry cleaning plants, and tailor shops. They also manage and operate Navy exchanges and DECA commissary stores ashore.

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy announced the renaming of the ship’s serviceman (SH) rating to retail services specialist (RS) in NAVADMIN 226/19, released Sept. 30. 

The rating name change is in keeping with the Navy’s tradition of defining a Sailor’s occupation in contemporary terms in order to better illustrate the skills needed to perform their work.

“This new rating name, retail services specialist, translates more easily to the civilian sector, and better represents the professional expertise held by the members of the rating,” said Vice Adm. John Nowell, Chief of Naval Personnel. 

The current rating badge, consisting of a crossed key and quill, will remain the same.  Individuals currently serving in the SH rating will convert to the RS rating on Oct. 1, 2019.

The SH rating was established in 1943 and represented a merger of four previous specialty ratings, barber (SSMB), laundryman (SSML), cobbler (SSMC) and tailor (SSMT).  

Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to improve and modernize personnel management and training systems to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward, and retain the force of tomorrow.


Retail Services Specialists (RS) are responsible for managing and operating all shipboard retail and service activities. These include the ship's store, vending machines, video games, barber shops, laundry and tailor shops. They play a large role in the morale of the ship.


The duties performed by SHs include:

• managing and operating retail and
service activities afloat;

• procuring and receiving ship's store stock;

• maintaining financial records and accounting systems;

• maintaining inventory and procurement databases;

• managing and operating ship’s barber shops;

• serving as cash collections agents;

• operating and maintaining vending and cash collection machines;

• managing and operating ship's laundry and tailor shops

Working Environment

RS work in diverse environments including offices, ship's stores, barber shops, and laundry plants. The work is physical, but the wide range of jobs allows people to learn valuable retailing, marketing and shop management skills.

Qualifications and Interests

Retail Services Specialists must be personable and enjoy working with people in a customer service environment. Good arithmetic and verbal skills, the ability to handle money and to perform detailed work are also requirements for this rating.

RS - Barber

Barbers cut and style hair. They keep work areas clean and hair cutting implements sanitized.

RS - Laundry Operator

Laundry Operators receive, process, and return laundry. Operate and tend washing and dry cleaning machines to clean or dry clean shipboard linen and uniforms articles.

RS - Retail Operator

Retail Operators are responsible for operating all shipboard retail activities. Operate and maintain vending and cash collection machines. Operate ships store afloat. Receive, check, store and inventory merchandise or materials. Track items entering or leaving the storeroom and report damaged or spoiled goods. Use hand-held scanners, which they can connect to computers to keep inventories up to date. Maintain material condition of storerooms. Process orders, receipts, inventory adjustments, etc. Use financial and inventory software to enter and manipulate data. Receive, monitor and count funds received from ATM, vending machines and store operations. Develop detailed marketing strategy for ship store. Oversee the efficient operation of all sales and service operations. Ensure cleanliness is maintained in all ships store spaces. Emphasize customer service in all aspects of the sales and service division.

110211-N-0050T-006 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 11, 2011) Ship's Serviceman Seaman Xochitl Romero, assigned to S-3 Division of the supply department aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), serves a customer in the ship's store. Ronald Reagan is underway conducting training exercises in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the western Pacific Ocean and U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patricia R. Totemeier/Released)




110107-N-2055M-074 PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 7, 2011) Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Rodney Dockery cuts hair inside the barbershop aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza/Released)

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