USS Carl Vinson Leadership Goes Back to Basic

Story Number: NNS070827-22Release Date: 8/27/2007 5:41:00 PM
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From Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Janet Davis, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- A representative team of USS Carl Vinson's (CVN
70) khaki leadership attended the commissioning of the newest division of recruits at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes on Aug. 22.

During the ceremony, the ship's representatives presented a Carl Vinson guidon flag to the recruits of USS Kearsarge Division 345. The flag, made by a Sailor from Carl Vinson's Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), officially marked the beginning of the ship's sponsorship of the division. However, the ship's involvement with the division will not end there.

The ship's intention is to send more leaders up at different phases in the division's training cycle. This will allow senior leaders from the aircraft carrier, many who attended boot camp more than 20 years ago, the opportunity to meet with the recruit division's leaders and gather insight on what skills recruits receive.

"Prior to coming here, the impression was that we have Sailors with discipline issues because boot camp is not doing their job," said Master Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator (AW/NAC) Roger Prunier of Operations Department, who attended basic training here 23 years ago. "Only minutes after setting foot on the compound, you can see that boot camp is not that problem."

While at Great Lakes, the group was given a tour of all the activities recruits undertake, from water survival to damage control. They observed the intensity of the military bearing instilled in each recruit, and noted the long hours and constant attention the recruit division commander (RDC) and the training team provide for their divisions, day in and day out. Yet they saw no RDCs on the compound who weren't motivated.

"The impact these people have on 88 people daily, knowing that if they fail, they fail 88 people -- they have to be motivated," said Senior Chief Quartermaster (SW/AW) Maria Dumka, of Navigation Department.

Carl Vinson's sponsored recruit division is led by Company Commander Lt. Nicholas Borman, recruit division commanders Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Stephen Roberts, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Juan Lechuga, and Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class (AW/SW) Roshana Green.

"They say they are motivated because 'we know it's important,'" said Dental Officer Capt. Roger Hanks. "They get it."

The building (or ship) in which the recruits are housed holds 1,300 recruits at a time and even includes messing facilities.

Upon noting the intense pressure the recruits were subjected to, Roberts explained the reasoning behind it.

"We, as Sailors, go into harm's way," he said. "You've got to be able to follow orders without question. So it's instilled here."

Though day-to-day life is intense for the division's leadership, it is not without it's rewards. Green recounted a success story about one of her recruits who made a notable, positive transformation.

"It can be tough, but when it's graduation day and a retired colonel comes to you with tears in his eyes, hugs you, and says 'Thank you,' it makes it worth it," Green said.

The ship's representative team wrapped up the trip with insight on the skills instilled in the Sailors and the expectations put on recruits while undergoing basic training.

"The product being delivered is capable of being much more than we ever expected," said Prunier. "And our basic expectations of Sailors need to be raised."

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