GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven S. Giordano addressed more than 560 of the Navy's newest Sailors graduating from Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, Aug. 11, in Great Lakes, Ill.
Giordano, the reviewing officer for the ceremony, began by thanking the family and friends for supporting the new Sailors as they begin their naval service.
"I would first like to speak to that group: the family and friends here with us today," said Giordano. "Our Navy cannot thank you enough for your dedication and support to your loved one, your Sailor, our shipmate.
"As each of you gaze upon your son, daughter, father, mother, sibling, grandchild or friend standing before you on the drill deck, please know that we have the utmost respect and profound appreciation for the sacrifices you have already made and will continue to make for your loved one as they move forward in self-sacrificing service to this nation," said Giordano. "Thank you for being those people in their lives."
Giordano, surrounded in the dais by master chief petty officers, the pinnacle of U.S. Navy enlisted ranks, addressed the new Sailors on the drill deck.
"In today's Navy, a Sailor's responsibility is greater in the enlisted ranks than ever before," said Giordano. "Much more is expected in your warfighting prowess, technical expertise and personal development. But be assured, our Navy will present each of you every opportunity to mature in each of these competencies.
"We demand Sailors who embrace our core values of honor, courage and commitment," said Giordano. "We require Sailors, like those who have sailed the seas before us to maintain the momentum of excellence in everything the people of our nation ask us to defend."
Giordano concluded his address with a charge.
"Shipmates, our Navy clasps your hand today and welcomes each of you as a United States Navy Sailor," said Giordano. "Never take this opportunity for granted. From this day forward, when you awake, don the uniform and face challenges, I want each of you to always remember this moment. Remember why you chose to be part of something greater than yourself. Remember how you felt on this day, the day our Navy called you a United States Navy Sailor, and the day your family was overwhelmed with pride in this accomplishment."
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 familiarization, firefighting and shipboard damage control, lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline.
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