GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Training Group 46 was the first graduating class to earn the Battle "E" flag under the new competitive system at Recruit Training Command (RTC), Sept 25.
This new system has created the opportunity for the divisions to work together as one to excel in their basic training.
"The new flag system better reflects the Navy's focus on mission accomplishment through teamwork. The old system had the unfortunate effect of pitting divisions against one another instead of encouraging divisions to work together to improve overall performance," said Cmdr. Nancy Fink, Military Training Director for RTC. "Other Navy commands earn the Battle 'E' because of their across-the-board command success. RTC now mirrors that spirit of teamwork and mutually high expectations."
The recent changes to the scoring system now require an entire training group of divisions (those who share the same graduation date) to collectively exceed standards to earn the Battle "E" designation. A training group that excels in every phase of training qualifies for the Battle Efficiency "Honor Training Group" recognition and is awarded the Battle "E" honor flag for this exemplary achievement.
During their first week divisions, each having an average of 88 recruits, enter into the competitive aspects of training. Divisions performing above standard throughout the eight weeks of boot camp are awarded recognition flags in four mission areas: academic achievement, weapons and military drill, compartment readiness and physical fitness.
These flags are carried as a visible symbol of the division's performance and success. Each flag indicates that recruits individually and as teams met established standards in mission area events. Competition encourages teamwork, attention to detail and develops pride in achievement.
"The more flags a division carries, the more they unite together to achieve the highest success they possibly can during boot camp," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Kyla Richardson, leading petty officer, Fleet Quality Assurance. "It's now a group effort, and every RDC in that group has to work together so the training group can succeed."
Additionally, recognition for the top scoring division is honored by that division receiving the gold pennant and the runner-up division receiving the blue pennant. The hall of fame (HOF) and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) flags are no longer pertinent in the total team revision of the competitive system.
Another flag a division can earn is the Captain's Cup flag.
Captain's Cup is a fun, friendly, athletic event held prior to graduation. Events include activities such as basketball, volleyball and relay races. One division from the integrated and one from the non-integrated divisions will emerge as the top scorers and earn a competitive flag as well as a traveling trophy to display in their ships.
The final award a division can earn is the pennant for earning the highest score during Battle Stations-21, the capstone event that culminates the eight weeks of boot camp training. Each recruit must complete 17 scenarios during a 12-hour, overnight period. The scenarios encompass all training learned during boot camp from firefighting to preventing and stopping flooding in a ship compartment. There are also casualty evacuations, watch standing, loading and unloading supplies and line handling.
The divisions carry all the flags they have earned as they proudly march into Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall on graduation morning to be recognized for their efforts.
"The divisions' parents will see all these flags which will mean their recruits worked very hard together as a group, which is the whole purpose of boot camp--to teach them how to work together as a team," said Richardson.
The highest honor of the competitive series is the Battle Efficiency "E" flag. Previously, a single division exceeding the basic requirements in the four mission areas during training could earn the Battle "E". Now, according to Fink, this change better encompasses the standards new Sailors can expect in the fleet.
"We're providing a better example for our recruits and will produce better results because of the change," said Fink.
Training Group 46 consists of Divisions 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326 and 946 for a total of 828 graduating Sailors.
RTC is primarily responsible for conducting the initial Navy orientation and training of new recruits. The command is commonly referred to as "boot camp" or "recruit training."
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.
Since the closures of RTC's in Orlando and San Diego in 1994, RTC Great Lakes is the Navy's only basic training location and is known as the "Quarterdeck of the Navy." Today, approximately 38,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
RTC is overseen by Rear Adm. Stephen Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquarters in Building 1; the historic clock tower building on Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy.
NSTC also oversees the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/.