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Making a Navy Sailor

Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans
Commander, Naval Service Training Command

Navy Sailors have a long history of being tough and that is no different today. They are physically fit, strategically smart and more resilient than ever.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (March 13, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates and instructs his recruits on marching safety in inclement weather at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (March 13, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates and instructs his recruits on marching safety in inclement weather at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)

How do they do it? It starts with basic military training, where our most experienced Sailors instruct our newest Sailors. To continue our legacy of toughness, experienced Fleet Sailors need to join our training team.

We have more than 320,000 Active Duty Sailors around the world. Nearly 265,000 of those Sailors are in the enlisted ranks, all of them performing vital functions.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Feb. 6, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates recruits during warm-up exercises at Freedom Hall fitness center onboard Recruit Training Command (RTC). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Feb. 6, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates recruits during warm-up exercises at Freedom Hall fitness center onboard Recruit Training Command (RTC). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)

Whether they serve on an aircraft carrier, an amphibious assault ship, a cruiser, a Littoral Combat Ship, a destroyer, a submarine, in an aircraft squadron or in an ashore unit, our Sailors are highly capable operators who help protect the world’s sea lanes and keep America safe.

How do we train Sailors to be effective Navy professionals, no matter the type of ship, aircraft or unit in which they serve?

Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes is the Navy’s only boot camp where all of our enlisted Sailors start their professional naval service.

From the moment each recruit steps off the bus, all of them with a different background, hometown and upbringing, they are challenged to uphold the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2012) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sonseeahray Walker, Recruit Division Commander of the Year, performs a recruit uniform inspection at Recruit Training Command. (U.S. Navy Photo by Lt. Liza Swart/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2012) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sonseeahray Walker, Recruit Division Commander of the Year, performs a recruit uniform inspection at Recruit Training Command. (U.S. Navy Photo by Lt. Liza Swart/Released)

Over the course of eight weeks, recruits are trained by the Navy’s best Sailors known as recruit division commanders and navigate the crucible of high stress training evolutions designed to push them beyond their mental, physical and emotional limits, preparing them for the operational demands of our warfighting fleet.

By the time they graduate Boot Camp, Sailors will understand the basics of Navy customs and courtesies; grasp the tenants of seamanship and watchstanding; receive weapons training; and be skilled in shipboard firefighting and damage control all while maintaining a physical fitness regimen, in which every Sailor must be able to pass the Navy’s Physical Fitness Assessment before graduating and proceeding to in-rate training.

Furthermore, before graduating boot camp, every enlisted Sailor since 2007 has been battle tested aboard USS Trayer during Battle Stations (BST) 21. Trayer is a 210-foot replica of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, stocked with state-of-the-art special effects. Recruit toughness is put to the test in this overnight crucible that includes fighting real fires and flooding, simulated missile attacks, mass casualties and ship survivability scenarios.

Just as recruits receive basic military training and mentorship from their recruit division commanders, their transformation continues in the fleet under the supervision of their division leading petty officers and chief petty officers.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (May 30, 2017) Steelworker 1st Class Zachary Joyce, Recruit Division Commander and leading petty officer of the USS Pearl Harbor barracks at Recruit Training Command (RTC), instructs new recruits on the proper way to fold their blanket when making their racks. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Susan Krawczyk/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (May 30, 2017) Steelworker 1st Class Zachary Joyce, Recruit Division Commander and leading petty officer of the USS Pearl Harbor barracks at Recruit Training Command (RTC), instructs new recruits on the proper way to fold their blanket when making their racks. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Susan Krawczyk/Released)

We are all accountable to maintain our force readiness through advanced training in the Fleet. To achieve our mission and constantly prepare for the next generations of Sailors, we must continue to invest our most talented Fleet personnel as trainers for our future.

I challenge our fleet Sailors to take up the mantle of responsibility, make a difference for the future of our Navy, and serve a tour of duty as a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command.

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