Sailors Making Sailors: RTC Supply Staff Plays Vital Role for RTC's Mission

Story Number: NNS171114-16Release Date: 11/14/2017 1:56:00 PM
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By Alan Nunn, RTC Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- At Pacific Fleet Drill Hall, it's all about supply and command.

Procuring and managing resources for Recruit Training Command, where about 30,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually and begin their Navy careers, requires a great deal of detail, documentation and coordination by a group of committed professionals.

At RTC, those professionals are known as the supply department and the volume of materials they manage is staggering. Forty thousand National Defense Medals, 7,500 reams of copy paper and 3,000 hand sanitizer refills are just a small part of the approximately 1,500 orders processed annually.

Behind the numbers is a staff of five dedicated professionals led by retired Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Justin Durant, who has served as RTC's supply officer for more than seven years following a nearly 21-year Navy career.

"The supply department plays an important role at Recruit Training Command by providing administrative and monetary support to 31 divisions, taking care of everyday needs such as copy paper, and toner, as well as recruit issues such as dog tags/chains and National Defense Medals," said Durant.

Helping to ensure that everything runs smoothly within the department is supply technician John Bass, a former Marine who has been with the RTC Supply Department for five years. His days are filled with screening orders, verifying quotes, crosschecking receipts and reconciling financial reports. Additionally, he coordinates the proper disposal of resources no longer useable by RTC.

Bass, who was recently recognized as Junior Civilian of the Quarter, will see his role change later this month when he becomes the command's purchase card approving official.

"I don't try to be recognized or anything, I just do my job to the best of my ability," said Bass, a father of four who lives with his wife, Stevie, in Zion, Illinois.

Each RTC division has a supply liaison that places orders using approved vendor catalogues or obtaining quotes for items unavailable in the catalogues. Those orders are screened and approved by the supply staff, which then places the order. Supplies, delivered daily to RTC by Goodwill Industries drivers, can arrive in as little as one to two days from a nearby warehouse.

Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Nicholas Robins is the supply liaison for the USS Constitution, where up to 1,200 recruits reside and train during boot camp. Robins places an order about once a week for everything from cleaning and office supplies to pillow protectors.

"Our main thing here is to train recruits," said Robins. "At any time, we can have 1,200 recruits on the ship, so we have to make sure they have the supplies they need. Supply is always able to keep us updated."

Once the supplies arrive, they're moved to a central supply room before they are distributed throughout the ship's compartments, each of which has its own supply closet.

"It works out very well. We have a main supply that oversees everything," said Robins. "They're super easy to deal with and I've never had a single issue. The process is very easy - all I have to do is push a couple buttons for whatever we need and it's always good to go."

Tracking and coordinating all the facets of the supply chain is a daily challenge that Bass enjoys.

"It's not a hard job once you've been through all the training. It's not very stressful. You've got good people you work with. I come to work and I like my job. It's something different every day and it's a job that's easy to like," said Bass.

The supply staff conducts inventory every year, triggering a command-wide search for about 100 Defense Property Accounting System items and more than a thousand local items. Anything not in its proper place turns the supply team into lost treasure hunters.

"Inventory says it's in this room, in this building, and someone will have moved it to the next building without telling anyone," said Bass. "So now you have to go through every room in that building, ask around and you have to find out who moved it and why they didn't do the proper paperwork to move it. That's the one part of the job that can get stressful."

Bass is as skilled at ridding RTC of unneeded items as he is at finding those that have been misplaced. When government property is no longer needed or becomes unusable at RTC, it's his responsibility to see that it's sent to the Defense Reutilization Management Office. Outdated computer monitors, desks and chairs, recruit canteens are just a few of the items Bass arranges through DRMO to be put on the market for possible use by another government agency.

"Mr. Bass brings a wealth of technical information to RTC, which he uses to the benefit of the RTC staff," Durant said. "He is on the frontlines of material accountability and disposal, providing direction and documentation to all staff members regarding material they want to dispose of."

While the job of supply requires serious focus and attention to detail, the staff does find time for some sports talk, according to Bass, a Texas native who proudly displays a miniaturized Dallas Cowboys helmet on his desk.

"We have a big (Green Bay) Packers fan (Michael Torkelson) and he's always talking about the Cowboys," explained Bass. "The Packers recently beat the Cowboys, so he put it all over the dry erase board with Packers stuff. I give it back to him, but they won, so it's kind of tough right now."

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks long and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms training, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. About 30,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit

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