MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy seeks highly motivated Sailors in pay grades E-5 and above to serve as Recruit Division Commanders (RDC) at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Navy Personnel Command (NPC) officials said Nov. 6.
"Recruit division commanders are the single most important factor in preparing new enlisted Sailors for a successful Navy career," said Chief Yeoman (SW/AW) Lakeshia Patterson, a shore special programs detailer at NPC.
Patterson and her fellow detailers are currently seeking Sailors interested in filling RDC billets at RTC in preparation for the annual summer surge of recruits. Interested Sailors should start by talking with their command career counselor.
"It's a good assignment for Sailors looking to diversify their career and to improve advancement opportunity or simply to try something different," said Patterson. "The leadership experience of an RDC is unmatched in any other billet and, historically, RDCs experience 22 percent greater E-6/E-7 advancement opportunity."
The tasks required are mentally, physically and emotionally demanding and require proven self-discipline and imaginative problem-solving skills, according to Patterson. Sailors assigned as RDCs must continually demonstrate superior leadership and motivational skills in demanding and often unique situations.
"It makes me feel good leaving my fingerprint on that many Naval careers," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (EXW) Larrissia Lackland, an RDC at RTC. "The hours are long and tiresome, but I love the job. I love to watch the recruits transition from just wanting to go home in the beginning to wanting to prove themselves and succeed."
While Lackland has pushed nine divisions of recruits during her tour she says it is possible and necessary for RDCs to take care of themselves. Training hours at RTC typically last from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but working with fellow RDCs allows these Sailors to strike a life-work balance for a satisfying tour.
"Each division has two RDCs which allows some flexibility because you don't always have to have two RDCs present," said Lackland. "It's no cake walk, but RDCs still have opportunities to volunteer, opportunities to take college classes, and spend time with their family."
RDCs typically push recruits for one year and then move on to a facilitation mode for nine months to a year. Facilitation allows them to work in a five-days-a week day-job atmosphere filling other key positions at RTC like teaching new RDCs, serving as quality assurance inspectors and in-processing new recruits.
"Going from pushing recruits to facilitation mode is a lot like being underway and then returning from cruise," said Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS) Dexter Buckley, an RDC who has served at RTC for 16 months. Buckley said he had a good time at boot camp and knew he wanted to come back one day.
"I expressed an interest to my detailer about being an RDC and they sent me the paperwork to make it happen," said Buckley.
According to Patterson, E-5 Sailors must have a minimum of six years active service with two years' time-in-rate upon application to serve as an RDC. E-6s must have a minimum of six years active service upon applying. There are no minimum years of service or time in rate requirements for chiefs and above. Applicants must be warfare-qualified, however, waivers may be granted on case-by-case basis. Sailors must have scored "good low" or higher in each category on the most recent Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA). The RDC candidate must be able to perform and pass the run portion of the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) before the screening is submitted to NPC. Waiver of the run portion of the PRT is not allowed.
"RDC school physical training is very intense, so you should be in good shape before you come," said Buckley.
A complete listing of eligibility requirements can be found in MILPERSMAN 1306-954. Sailors who meet the requirements and would like to apply for the RDC program should contact their rating detailer when entering their permanent change of station (PCS) orders negotiation window, nine months prior to their projected rotation date (PRD).
Detailers may nominate applicants who meet RDC qualifications to special programs. The special program detailers will a send screening message for applicants to complete. Upon acceptance to the RDC program Sailors will attend three weeks of instructor school and a 13-week RDC School, earning the required NEC before earning the coveted RDC red rope.
Sailors who qualify as RDCs are currently eligible for $300 a month Special Duty Assignment pay; a supplemental clothing allowance rate of $220 per year; no-cost dry cleaning; and may be awarded the Recruit Training Service Ribbon.
Tour lengths are a minimum of 36 months after graduation from RDC School. RDCs are guaranteed their choice of coast for assignment after RDC duty. The member must choose their coast at least three months prior to projected rotation date from RDC duty.
"Being an RDC is great duty and full of challenges. You never know what you can do until you do it," said Lackland. "It will help you excel in your career while establishing the careers of hundreds more."
Shore Special Program detailers assign Sailors to more than 20 shore special programs Navy wide. These programs are not necessarily geared for a specific rating, but manning them with qualified Sailors is important nonetheless.
Examples include RDC and recruiting duty, where Sailors serve a significant role in shaping the future Navy. Working with shore special programs, Sailors may also be selected for service on the USS Constitution, the USS Arizona Memorial, Historic Ship Nautilus, the Blue Angels and the Navy Ceremonial Guard. MILPERSMAN 1306-900 contains a complete list of special programs available.
For more on RDC duty and special programs, talk with your command career counselor and contact the NPC Customer Service Center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC (1-866-827-5672).
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.