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    Sailors Making Sailors: Indoc/Sponsorship Office opens door to Recruit Training Command



    Story by Alan Nunn 

    U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command

    GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Long before their arrival at Recruit Training Command (RTC), “C” School candidates, instructors and new staff members receive valuable information and a warm welcome.

    The RTC Indoctrination/Sponsorship office is the initial contact for all ranks that comprise the more than 300 prospective gains annually. Chief Quartermaster Amy Birkholz and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Christina Jackson serve as introductory problem solvers and counselors and often are the first face newcomers see when they arrive at RTC.

    They also ensure that all incoming Sailors meet RTC requirements, including those applicants entering “C” School — a 13-week class that prepares prospective recruit division commanders with the skills, perspective and physical readiness needed to become RDCs.

    Birkholz and Jackson facilitate the adaptation of incoming Sailors and their families into a new working and living environment. They work to minimize the anxiety associated with the move to RTC and afford Sailors and their families their greatest opportunity for a successful and productive tour of duty.

    “RTC indoc and sponsorship can make or break a Sailor's attitude and perception of the command and ultimately his/her work performance and retention in the Navy,” Birkholz said. “We carry bad experiences with us that can alter and project our attitudes attributed to those experiences to co-workers or recruits. That is why, as sponsors, we must be positive, a mentor … and a friend. As the Indoc team, we must be welcoming with a name tag and a handshake on the first day.”

    Jackson, who was a command fitness leader in her first year at RTC, sought a change of pace and to work more closely with fellow Sailors. She found her niche as the RTC command indoc leading petty officer and assistant sponsorship coordinator.

    Her daily assignment involves a great deal of problem solving, a challenge Jackson says she’s always enjoyed.

    “There’s a satisfaction of getting a Sailor on the right path,” Jackson said. “To know you were able to make everything better, especially in a Sailor’s life. It’s so important for you to take care of yourself in order to take care of your job. If I can eliminate that stress, by what I know, by my profession and make everything easier for you, it’s just a great feeling knowing that you believe you’re going to be OK.”

    Jackson initiates contact with Sailors receiving orders to RTC, in some cases more than a year before their arrival, and assigns a sponsor to start the process. Sponsors answer initial questions, make temporary lodging arrangements for the newcomer and ensure information about schools, medical, child care and other resources is provided.

    Greeting newcomers upon their arrival, arranging transportation to lodging and the Fleet and Family Support Center, introducing the newcomer to key command personnel — including their new supervisor and co-workers — and providing a tour of facilities and the community are just part of an RTC sponsor’s duties.

    “This is not a regular duty,” Jackson said. “It’s probably the most intense duty station, I’d say of the fleet, because you are training civilians to become Sailors. And that’s no matter what billet you are. Whether you’re a “C” School candidate, an instructor, and/or staff, you’re dealing with civilians and changing their mindset in just eight weeks.”

    While not all RTC Sailors become sponsors, the training is mandatory for each of them.

    “The training is important because it gets everyone on the same page,” Jackson said. “No matter who you are, you will be gaining a new, incoming Sailor to your division one way or another. Even if you’re not their sponsor, you’ll know how to answer questions on a new Sailor’s mind.”

    To further ease the adjustment to RTC, newcomers attend indoctrination training, commonly referred to as “indoc.” A new indoc class starts every three weeks and classes average more than 20 personnel.

    Held over a five-day period, the class receives briefs from department representatives on a wide variety of topics including professionalism, social media etiquette, ombudsman, personnel inspection and dozens of other subjects covering the standards and expectations of RTC. The final two days of indoc focus on leadership.

    “You’re coming to something totally new,” Jackson said. “You have no idea what to expect and this duty here, although it’s listed as shore duty, it’s not your typical shore duty. So the difficulties are bringing the reality of this job duty. No matter whether they’re an RDC, instructor or staff — this is an unusual command. It has very high standards and expectations of the top 10 percent of the fleet. So even if you’re a seasoned Sailor, and gotten used to the way other commands operate, everyone is officially coming back to boot camp and expected to operate that way.”

    Throughout the process, Jackson is answering questions, providing information and following up to ease the transition to RTC. Her enthusiasm for helping incoming Sailors hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    “Petty Officer Jackson is the backbone of the programs,” Birkholz said. “We easily identify issues that may arise during transferring and maintaining suitability for this duty well in advance to help Sailors and their families not only transfer here, but stay here as well. Her positive, upbeat attitude makes all people feel at ease and express any and all issues they might not otherwise feel comfortable with sharing.”

    Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 30,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

    For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit

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    Date Taken: 08.23.2018
    Date Posted: 09.20.2018 13:13
    Story ID: 293734
    Location: NORTH CHICAGO, IL, US 

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