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    Sailors Making Sailors: Staff Guides Recruits through First Morning of Boot Camp


    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Amanda Kitchner | GREAT LAKES, Ill. (May 22, 2018) — Chief Hospital Corpsman Jaime Kalaw, center,...... read more read more



    Story by Susan Martin 

    U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command

    GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Upon arrival to boot camp, the first 24 chaotic hours can be a harrowing experience for most recruits, which is why Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Juan Diazangulo chose to be among the first Sailors they encounter at Recruit Training Command.

    As an in-processing instructor at the Golden Thirteen building, where recruits spend their first day being shuffled endlessly from one line to the next, Diazangulo helps guide the recruits through the many legs of their initial screening process.

    As a recruit division commander, Diazangulo has trained five divisions during his first year at RTC and has spent his second year in his current position at Golden Thirteen. He draws from his own experience in boot camp and uses this knowledge to maintain patience with the overwhelmed recruits.

    "I remember the day I came in and I was terrified; everything being explained to me would go in one ear and out the other," said Diazangulo. "Now, it's easier to maintain my cool because that's how they actually pay attention to you -- if you're standing in front of them just being a regular, normal human being instead of screaming and shouting, they're more likely to do what you ask them to do."

    On any given night Monday through Thursday, anywhere from 250-400 recruits may arrive to begin their eight weeks of training.

    "Night of arrival blends an official introduction to the Navy/military paradigm with an intense, overnight in-processing schedule," said Lt. Cmdr. Amanda Dzananovic, student control director. "My NOA staff, quite literally, lead recruits through their first steps of a life journey turning point. It's an immense culmination of events that led each recruit to commit to serve their nation in the Navy, and it is the outstanding Sailors on my staff like SH1 Diazangulo that orchestrate the official start of this pivotal life moment."

    By morning, the recruits still have not slept and are continually receiving instructions. After breakfast in the galley, they head back to the Golden Thirteen where Diazangulo is waiting to guide them through their first day. He already knows from a daily report how many recruits to expect and into which division they have been placed.

    "As soon as they walk through the doors, I line them up to receive their initial haircut," said Diazangulo, who does an initial screening of the females' hair to ensure everyone is within Navy regulations. "I also then ask anyone with tattoos to step forward as they need to be screened for inappropriate tattoos and piercings or type of brandings that might have been missed by the recruiters."

    Recruits are then directed to a classroom as they wait for all the day's recruits to complete this leg of the screening. Diazangulo repeats this process for each new group of recruits which arrives that morning.

    Once he has them back together he explains their next step, which is the "Moment of Truth," a series of verbal questions relating to medical, police, drugs, sexual harassment, and sexual assault to ensure everything in the recruits' records are true.

    During the briefing by Navy Recruiting Command staff, recruits are given the opportunity to stand up if they believe there is something they need to address. For many, they want to be sure something they have stated previously has been annotated in their records -- which can be anything from minor traffic violations to medical issues.

    Diazangulo and other staff take advantage of this down time without recruits and utilize it to sift through their belongings of clothing, which many recruits opt to donate.

    "We're not dealing with just the recruits; we're also dealing with anything that happened the prior night when they arrived," said Diazangulo. "Everything that was donated -- everything they decided not to send home -- now we have to deal with that. We're sifting through backpacks, going through clothing, checking for weapons in pockets or forgotten Social Security cards, etc. They do it all the time; they throw everything in their backpack and then throw it away."

    Following the Moment of Truth, while some recruits will be speaking more in-depth with medical or legal staff regarding their issues, the rest of them return to a classroom with many feeling anxious from the experience thus far.

    "I'm the one who calms them down, discusses what boot camp is going to be about, tells them to not freak out just yet as I'm aware they just saw a lot of people they think more than likely are not going to come back because they may have screwed up their process, and I reassure them that many will still be able to stay in and perhaps pick a different rate," said Diazangulo.

    He also helps to initialize their military bearing, distinguishing uniforms and the importance of their chain of command.

    "Up to now it was just their recruiters working with them, and here they actually see it and experience it, and we're screaming all night so I like to assist and be the initial part of their career," said Diazangulo. "I don't mind dealing with them because I'm all about teaching and a good change. I came here for a good change, as well. That's what they're here for -- something better."

    At this point, Diazangulo is only dealing with about half the amount of recruits he had at the beginning of the morning as they are assigned to divisions or are handed off to other areas of the screening process.

    "Every evolution of night of arrival requires precise execution of each event while maintaining the standard of a professional work environment, and SH1 [Diazangulo] sets that standard," said Chief Gas Turbine System Technician Heath Perkey, RDC, student control department. "His straightforward delivery ensures new recruits know boot camp is not a game, ensuring his team is prepared for our daily mission. New recruits see the dedication and passion he gives to RTC and our Navy. I firmly believe the impact SH1 gives to the recruits refuels their inspirations as to why they joined our Navy."

    In a few months, Diazangulo will return to his regular RDC duties of training divisions of recruits for eight weeks at a time. Then, he'll only be responsible for about 75 recruits at a time. Meanwhile, he's still guiding hundreds of recruits each morning upon their arrival.

    "Recruits come from a multitude of different backgrounds from across the nation and around the world, and despite how easy my staff makes it look, it takes seasoned finesse to move hundreds of recruits per night through a densely-packed in-processing schedule to ensure they're ready for in-processing evolutions that continue right on through that next morning," said Dzananovic.

    Diazangulo knows once he returns back out to the fleet, he's sure to bump into many Sailors who will remember him from their first day of boot camp just as they do when he sees them after graduation on different sides of the base.

    "A lot of these guys, I'll find them out there and they'll be like, 'Petty officer, remember me?'" said Diazangulo. "I see so many of them on a daily basis that I can't possibly remember all their faces, but I'm glad that I make an impact in the morning even if it's just raising my voice at them. Here, it's rewarding because I see how much they want to change, and we're here for them to try to guide them through the right path.

    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. Approximately 30,000-40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

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    Date Taken: 02.06.2017
    Date Posted: 09.21.2018 09:06
    Story ID: 293859
    Location: NORTH CHICAGO, IL, US 

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