Recruit Training Command (RTC) and Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU), Great Lakes, were hosts to 10 interns from the South Korean Parliament on July 30.
The visit was part of an annual exchange program between college student interns from the Korean National Assembly and United States Congress.
The tour began at RTC where the interns saw firsthand how recruits live and train.
“One of my favorite locations of the tour was the ship trainer,” said Kanghee Yoo, 24, an intern and graduate student at Sungkyunkwan University. “It looked amazing and the technology that is used to assist in training the recruits was very impressive.”
Yoo was referring to the USS Trayer (BST 21), the Navy’s largest simulator, a 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer mockup where recruits go through Battle Stations, a grueling 12-hour culmination of basic training and the last evolution recruits accomplish before they graduate.
The technology simulates sights, sounds and smells by using video screens, piped-in smells, large stereo woofer-created vibrations and shipboard sound effects from helicopters to missile hits.
Following a tour of the USS Trayer, the interns were on hand to observe a capping ceremony as recruits exchanged their recruit ball caps with a Navy ball cap to signify they have completed all requirements of boot camp to become a Sailor.
“I liked the event at the end of the test,” said Yoo, who served in the Air Force in South Korea. “The speeches and the music along with knowing that the recruits completed their training were very emotional.”
The group also visited the USS Missouri Small Arms Marksmanship Trainer (SAMT) on board RTC. While there they had the opportunity to handle and fire the Navy’s standard issue M9 Beretta 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.
They also visited the Freedom Hall physical fitness trainer to see how recruits perform their Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA). The final visit at RTC was the USS Triton, a recruit barracks or ship, to see where recruits live, study and eat.
After wrapping up their visit to RTC, the group continued on to tour CSCSU to examine the step-by-step process that trains Sailors on their path to the fleet.
First up was the seamanship trainer, or USS White Hat, where Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW/EXW) Sumner Young, an instructor at the CSCSU Boatswain’s Mate (BM) “A” School covered the basics of the BM training and Surface Common Core training program.
“When the recruits graduate from RTC and come over here, this is where we give them their basic knowledge to join the fleet to actually go out to a ship and be productive where they’re going to learn the basics about their job,” said Young.
Next, Chief Quartermaster (SW/AW) David Phinney and Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) James Reilly, instructors at the Quartermaster (QM) and Operations Specialist (OS) “A” Schools at CSCSU, led the interns through a variety of labs including chart plotting, radars and the Ship Self-Defense System (SSD) lab simulator.
In the chart plotting lab, Reilly explained that while paper chart plotting is becoming a dying skill as most ships have moved on to electronic navigation, the lab is an opportunity for the OS and QM to have hands-on experience in theoretical navigation before learning it electronically.
“This computer system is so impressive because in Korea I have never seen this type of system,” said Hee Won Jang, 22, a student Sungkyunkwan University. “Here, they also learn the paper chart system so they can do a lot of things with that knowledge. For instance, if the electronic system would shut down, then they would know how to use the paper charts.”
The group also learned about the Voyage Management System (VMS) – a combination of digital charts, electronic system fixes, environmental sensors, and enhanced command and control features -which allows for the elimination of many aspects of paper chart navigation.
The tour wrapped up in the radar and SSD labs where the interns were shown the programs used for teaching students how the information from the radars is compiled electronically.
“I’m amazed with the radar systems in these labs,” said Yoo. “I was able to see how they bought up all the actual simulations into this program. I am completely impressed with everything I have seen on the tour all over the base today.”
“Our goal with the exchange program is to provide participants with first-hand experience of each other’s people and culture, and create opportunities to form long-lasting personal contacts,” said Andrew Ainsworth, Program Coordinator for Meridian International Center and escort of the interns in the U.S. “Although knowledge is important, we believe the relationships created will last for years to come.”
Meridian International Center works with the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies worldwide to create lasting international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges.
Press Release, August 5, 2013