By Capt. John Dye
Commanding Officer, Recruit Training Command
At Recruit Training Command, we transform civilians into basically trained, physically fit, well disciplined Sailors – 39,000 of them each year. They are trained by a cadre of fleet experienced enlisted Sailors who must meet stringent screening standards and embody our Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. We are continually looking for talented 2nd and 1st class petty officers, chiefs and senior chiefs to become recruit division commanders and basic naval orientation instructors, tasked with forging the next generation of Sailors.
Just as our recruits will go into every field in the Navy, our recruit division commanders and instructors come from every enlisted community throughout the fleet. While we prepare our recruit division commanders to train recruits during a rigorous 12 week course of instruction, recruit division commander candidates are expected to be physically fit, highly motivated and demonstrate outstanding leadership skills upon arrival. Every eight weeks, the recruit division commanders and basic naval orientation instructors mold multiple divisions of 88 individuals into professional, cohesive teams, ready for service in the U.S. Navy.
During their eight weeks of training, recruits learn the basic skills of a Sailor such as firefighting, marksmanship and basic seamanship; but more importantly, they learn our Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. They rise at 6 a.m. every day to learn Navy customs, courtesies and history, drill, and the basic tenants of a culture of physical fitness. Working together with their shipmates, they learn new responsibilities, accountability and take on a new found sense of duty. During these eight weeks, our new Sailors will often become unrecognizable to their parents and civilian peers. They look different, sound different and carry themselves with a newfound sense of pride and purpose.
The men and women who serve in our Navy are the best our nation has to offer. The training we provide facilitates the transition from civilian to Sailor, which ultimately ensures that our Navy remains manned and ready to respond to an ever changing world. As our missions and roles continue to change and expand, our future mission success will be rooted in the character of our Sailors, and that foundation begins here!
Most of our newest Sailors will be assigned to follow-on schools for specialized training, while others will report directly to their fleet units for on-the-job training. They will be deployed on ships, submarines and aircraft. They will be SEALs, divers, quartermasters, technicians, cryptologists and many other ratings. They will travel all over the world and go in harm’s way to ensure global, as well as regional, security and be charged with protecting our Nation and its people. I cannot think of a more honorable profession.
Often people worry about the future of American youth. I tell them that if they could see what I see every day at Recruit Training Command, they would rest assured that America is in good hands. So please join us as we broadcast each Recruit Training Command graduation to witness the transformation and commitment of the next generation of Navy’s newest Sailors.
Did you or someone you know attend Navy bootcamp? What do you remember? What advice would you give to someone who will be there? Share it below.