USA: VCNO Visits Recruit Training Command

VCNO  Visits Recruit Training Command

The Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mark Ferguson, toured Recruit Training Command (RTC), Sept. 21.

This was Ferguson’s third visit to RTC, his first as VCNO, and his second time serving as the reviewing officer for the Pass-In-Review (PIR) graduation ceremony at RTC where 690 recruits became Sailors.

“This is my third time visiting Great Lakes,” said Ferguson. “Every time I come here and have the chance to meet with recruits and the RDCs I leave rejuvenated and recharged.”

Prior to reviewing the graduation ceremony, Ferguson toured the Navy’s largest simulator, USS Trayer (BST 21), the 210-foot-long mock-up of an Arleigh Burke destroyer inside a warehouse behind RTC’s USS Iowa headquarters building.

Battle Stations is a 12-hour event where recruits complete 17 different shipboard scenarios onboard Trayer. The state-of-the-art training facility uses theme park special effects technology to simulate a variety of shipboard emergencies, such as shipboard fires and compartment flooding. The recruits must pass Battle Stations before graduating from boot camp.

Battle Stations uses lessons learned from actual Naval events, attacks and mishaps at sea. The 2000 terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) in Yemen, mine damage to USS Tripoli (LPH 10) during Desert Storm in 1991 and the missile attack to USS Stark (FFG 31) in the Persian Gulf in 1987 have all been incorporated into the training curriculum, along with past and historic at-sea accidents, like the fire on the flight deck aboard the carrier USS Forrestal (CV 59) during the Vietnam War in 1967.

Following the tour of Trayer and Battle Stations, Ferguson observed recruits receiving their Navy ball cap during a capping ceremony. Since arriving at RTC, each recruit had worn a cap emblazoned with the word RECRUIT across the front; during the ceremony, recruits exchange these for caps that read NAVY, now marking them as Sailors.

“Today, we have the highest quality and most diverse force in our history,” said Ferguson. “Our recruits come from all over America and the world – they come from every walk of life. These Sailors joined our Navy to make a difference. They possess a sense of service and mission beyond themselves.”

While serving as the reviewing officer for the PIR graduation ceremony, Ferguson lauded families present for their support of each Sailor’s choice to join the Navy.

“Each recruit is here today only because of the strong foundation provided to them by their family and loved ones,” said Ferguson. “Thank you for what you have done to shape our future Navy.”

Turning his attention to the nine divisions graduating, Ferguson praised and challenged the Navy’s newest Sailors.

“You join a combat ready, forward-deployed Navy, operating ashore and forward at sea, aboard surface ships and submarines, aircraft carriers and amphibious vessels. As you prepare to stand the watch around the globe, know that you join the ranks of an elite force with a proud tradition.”

Following graduation, the VCNO held an all-hands call in the command chapel, outlining Navy programs, consequences of sequestration, and holding a question and answer session from the hundreds of RTC staff. While speaking specifically to the RDCs who train and develop recruits daily at the Navy’s only boot camp, Ferguson was quick to praise the men and women who lead training at the Navy’s only boot camp every day.

“The effort and ethos each one of you demonstrate here is remarkable,” said Ferguson. “The CNO, Secretary and I all look to you with pride and gratitude.”

RTC graduates more than 35,000 basically trained Sailors annually.

Naval Today Staff, September 25, 2012; Image: US Navy