Adm. Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, commander of the Brazilian Navy, toured U.S. Navy training facilities at Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp, Aug. 21.
Ferreira was joined on the tour by Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command, who hosted Ferreira and his Brazilian contingent during the two-day tour of training facilities on RTC and Training Support Center. Rear Adm. Todd Squire, director for International Engagement for the office of the Chief of Naval Operations also was on hand for the tour that included Battle Stations and a “ship” visit of USS Trayer (BST 21), the U.S. Navy’s largest simulator.
The visit began with top graduating honor recruits in the USS Arizona ship barracks. The group was able to see how each three-story barracks is set up like a ship, with galleys, messing, classrooms, berthing compartments and offices. They observed how the daily routine for a recruit is similar to the routine on board a ship or submarine in the fleet, that includes quarterdeck and compartment watches.
The tour culminated at USS Trayer, RTC’s premiere training facility. Trayer, the 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator, is where recruits go through Battle Stations, a grueling 12-hour culmination of basic training and the last evolution they must accomplish before they graduate.
Ferreira and his staff experienced firsthand the sights, sounds and smells Trayer presents by using the latest in simulation technology with video screens, piped-in smells, large stereo woofer-created vibrations and shipboard sound effects, from helicopters to missile hits.
The group was told how training simulations utilize lessons learned from actual events in recent Navy history and incorporate them into scenarios aboard Trayer, which include firefighting, flooding, and personnel casualties.
Following the tour of Trayer and Battle Stations, the Brazilian officers observed a capping ceremony, in which recruits are congratulated for completing Battle Stations. It’s also where recruits replace the recruit ball caps they have worn since arriving at RTC, with a Navy ball cap. This signifies a recruit is now considered a U.S. Navy Sailor.
RTC is primarily responsible for conducting the initial orientation and training of new recruits. The command is commonly is referred to as “boot camp” or “recruit training” and has been in operation at Great Lakes since 1911. Boot camp is approximately eight weeks, and all enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting, shipboard damage control, and lessons in Navy heritage, core values, teamwork and discipline. Since the closure of RTCs in Orlando and San Diego in 1994, RTC at Naval Station Great Lakes is now the Navy’s only basic training location, and is known as “The Quarterdeck of the Navy.”
In July 2010 RTC successfully completed a 12-year $770 million recapitalization plan that included the building of the 13 “ship” barracks and other facilities, to meet the mission of training 21st century Sailors. Today, approximately 38,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
Evans and his NSTC staff oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes RTC; the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command on Naval Station Newport, R. I.; and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
Image: Recruit Training Command