News: Assistant Secretary of the Navy visits RTC
By Brian Walsh
Recruit Training Command Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES, Ill. – Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Juan Garcia III, visited Recruit Training Command (RTC) to tour and attend the weekly Pass-In-Review (PIR) recruit graduation, Aug. 15.
Garcia served as the reviewing officer at the ceremony and witnessed nine divisions, 713 Seaman Recruits in total, enter the fleet as basically trained Sailors.
As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Garcia acts on matters pertaining to manpower and personnel policy within the Department of the Navy including issues affecting active duty and reserve Sailors, Marines and civilians.
Prior to the graduation, Garcia ate breakfast in the USS Arizona ship barracks galley and then toured USS Trayer (BST-21), a 210-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator, the largest in the Navy. Trayer is home to Battle Stations 21, and is the capstone event that culminates the recruits' eight weeks of training during boot camp. Each recruit must complete 17 scenarios during a 12-hour overnight period. The scenarios encompass all training learned during boot camp from firefighting to preventing and stopping flooding in a compartment. There are also casualty evacuations, watch standing, loading and unloading supplies and line handling.
"I wish I could share with the entire country the capping ceremony after Battle Stations, where over 700 exhausted Sailors drilled, fought fires, prevented flooding and practiced attending to injured shipmates all night," said Garcia. "The look on their face, when they took off their cap that says 'recruit' and then don their Navy ball cap to officially become Navy Sailors -- it is priceless."
Rear Adm. Annie Andrews, commander, Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) and former commanding officer of RTC, also attended the PIR in the Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall. Rear Adm. Richard Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) and Capt. Doug Pfeifle, the commanding officer of RTC also attended the PIR. The special guest for the ceremony was New Zealand Naval Attaché Cmdr. Sean Stewart.
Forty-eight graduations are held each year to celebrate the accomplishments of recruits who have completed all training requirements.
"It is certainly great being back at Recruit Training Command and to not only see the faces of the recruits that are now Sailors, but to also witness their transformation," said Andrews, "It's also inspiring to see parents in attendance that get to observe this transformation that recruit division commanders do in a very short period of time."
Garcia and Andrews also spoke at the Navy Recruiting Command's Leadership Symposium that assembled all senior leaders from the 26 Navy Recruiting Districts (NRD), the Recruiting School (NORU) and headquarters. The theme for the symposium was "Supporting Recruiters -- Working Smarter -- Making Mission." The symposium provided a forum to clearly communicate long term strategic challenges and promises to have both an immediate and lasting positive impact on the recruiting mission and quality of life for the recruiting nation.
"I really enjoyed having all the commanding officers, command master chiefs and chief recruiters throughout the nation come together and see the fruits of their labor," said Andrews. "Observing this graduation is the capstone of all the hard work they put into this process. I remain motivated with all of the great work that is done here and the partnership among Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM), Navy Recruiting Command and Recruit Training Command."
According to Garcia, serving as the reviewing officer reinforced his belief that the newest generation of Sailors are ready for any tasks that will come their way in the fleet.
"I hope these Sailors walk away with the belief that any doubts they had of their ability to meet the Navy's threshold were eliminated by their demonstration today," said Garcia. "I think the beauty of the Navy is that we throw Sailors into many different situations, and by the end they find out exactly what they are capable of accomplishing."
RTC is primarily responsible for conducting the initial Navy orientation and training of new recruits. The command is commonly referred to as boot camp or recruit training command.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks, and all enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms familiarization, firefighting and shipboard damage control, lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. Since the closure of RTCs in Orlando and San Diego in 1994, RTC Great Lakes is, today, the Navy's only basic training location, and is known as "The Quarterdeck of the Navy." Today, approximately 37,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes RTC, the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command Newport, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more news and information about RTC, visit http://www.bootcamp.navy.mil/ or find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NavyRecruitTrainingCommand/.
For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.