Royal Saudi Navy Observes Training at Recruit Training Command

Royal Saudi Navy Observes Training at Recruit Training Command

Royal Saudi Naval Force members, in conjunction with, the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) toured the Navy’s only boot camp, Recruit Training Command (RTC), Nov. 7.

The visiting group consisted of seven naval officers from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who toured RTC to observe Navy training and see how civilians are transformed into Sailors.

NETSAFA, located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is the U.S. Navy’s agent for international training. They coordinate and supply training support to international governments and organizations. As a field activity of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), NETSAFA serves as a focal point for all security assistance training program issues, coordination and advice within the U.S. Navy. NETSAFA is an integral part of the Navy International Programs Office (Navy IPO).

The tour included Battle Stations 21, which is the culmination of eight weeks of training by recruits. Battle Stations 21 is a grueling 12-hour test of a recruit’s skills in several shipboard scenarios, including firefighting, combating flooding and transporting casualties. It is held on board the 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer replica, USS Trayer (BST-21), the Navy’s largest simulator.

Rear Adm. Dawi Mohammed Saad Al-Otaibi was the ranking officer of the visiting delegation. He and his officers are involved and responsible for their navy’s training in Saudi Arabia. Being able to compare training at RTC, along with follow-on instruction at “A” and “C” schools around the United States, with the training in Saudi Arabia is a major reason for the visit and for the NETSAFA course.

“What we have seen is a wonderful thing,” said Al-Otaibi. “I was most impressed with Battle Stations 21 and the USS Trayer. We are very excited about our visit and I’m sure we will be able to benefit from what we have learned and seen here.”

The visiting officers are part of the Saudi Arabia navy’s Technical Institute of Naval Tactics and the admiral is responsible for their recruit and follow-on training.

“They’ve come over here to get some ideas about our training and take back those ideas and adjust their training based on what they have seen here,” said Jack Malley, NETSAFA country program manager assistant who was escorting the Saudi delegation.

NETSAFA classes also are given the opportunity to see officer training at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., visit Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, R.I., tour other secondary enlisted training at learning centers on Navy bases around the country, observe reserve training and see how recruiting is accomplished in the Navy.

NETSAFA is a five-week course held at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Courses are held three times each year and class size can range from 10 to 20 foreign officers and senior enlisted. Each course includes trips to Navy and Marine Corps bases around the country to observe training up close.

“The course and visits to RTC are very important,” said Malley. “It’s part of an overall process in policy and strategy that we have with our international partners.”

The Saudi officers also visited the USS Missouri Small Arms Marksmanship Trainer (SAMT) on RTC. While there they had the opportunity to see how recruits learn to handle and fire the Navy’s standard issue M9 Berretta pistol and the Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun. SAMT uses red laser lights and pneumatic air to simulate the firing and hits on a computer target. After visiting SAMT they observed how recruits take their weapons familiarization and apply it firing actual weapons in the USS Wisconsin Live Fire Indoor Range.

Before visiting SAMT and USS Wisconsin the delegation toured the largest building on RTC, the Freedom Hall Physical Fitness Trainer. The massive 173,000-square-foot three story structure is where every year more than 35,000 recruits run their Physical Fitness Assessments (PFA), work out and hold Captain’s Cup competition.

“This is a great opportunity to reach out to different regions in the world and show them what we do and how we train,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class David Stevens, the leading petty officer of SAMT. “It’s also great to show off RTC and especially SAMT because we have such a great facility and a great training environment.”

The delegation also visited a recruit barracks, or ship, to see where recruits live, study and eat. They ended their visit at RTC’s in-processing building where recruits begin their Navy careers, then a stop at the USS Indianapolis Combat Training Pool where recruits pass their third class swim qualifications and finally a visit to the USS Chief Fire Fighting Trainer where recruits learn about damage control and how to fight and extinguish shipboard fires.

“I am looking to take back everything we have seen here at RTC and to see ways we can implement some of this training in our navy,” said Al-Otaibi.

Naval Today Staff, November 12, 2012; Image: US Navy