GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- He was certain of one thing when he left Ship 2 at Recruit Training Command (RTC) here more than eight years ago: he would be back.
After returning to RTC Great Lakes two years ago to serve as a recruit division commander (RDC), Gas Turbine System Technician 1st Class (Mechanical) (SW) Robert Indelicato recently achieved another goal when he was named Recruit Division Commander of the Year for 2001.
"His attention to detail, concern for recruit welfare and training set him apart from his peers," said Command Master Chief (SW) Bernard Quibilan. "During his tour as an RDC school instructor, he was evaluating curriculum and training the future RDCs, having an even greater impact on the quality of recruit training."
The 26-year-old Indelicato set the goal of being the best RDC he could be shortly after arriving at Great Lakes as a senior petty officer second class.
"When I arrived at RTC, they had just started the RDC of the year program," Indelicato said. "I made it my goal to be the best RDC I could be and, if possible, to be named RDC of the year. I was surprised (when I was selected) because the other two finalists were so strong," he said. "The competition was incredible. I thought they both had very strong qualifications."
The other two finalists for the honor were Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Shawn Isbell and Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Brian Dembicky. "The competition was extremely tough this year," Quibilan said. "All three deserve to be recognized."
Indelicato has "pushed" six divisions of recruits, sending nearly 500 new Sailors to the fleet since arriving at RTC.
"One of the most important moments when instructing a division is the first impression," Indelicato said. "The first impression you give them sets the tone for their entire boot camp training."
The RDC of the year believes his approach to the job is a key to his success because he takes each recruit on an individual basis and works to find out what motivates them. "What works for one recruit, doesn't necessarily work for another. You have to get to know them, find out what they are all about and build them from there," he said. "Not every one responds to yelling and not everyone responds to the 'nice guy' approach."
While the decision to return to boot camp as an RDC was made before he left boot camp as a Sailor, Indelicato said his experience in the fleet reinforced his decision.
"My company commander (as RDCs were previously known) had the greatest impact on my career of anyone I have met," Indelicato said. "I knew in boot camp that I wanted to do this job. After I got out to the fleet and started working with young Sailors, I knew I wanted to make a change in what is coming out to the fleet."
He recently rotated back to the job as RDC after teaching at Recruit Division Commander School for the past 10 months. "Instructing at RDC School was a very challenging job," he said. "You have to be on your toes, because the people you are training are the best in the fleet. They are sharp Sailors who question the methods, and you need to be able to explain why things are done in a certain way."
"He has outstanding leadership and best represents the 'cream of the crop' at RTC," said Chief Engineman (SW) Richard O'Rawe, RDC of the year for 2000, who worked with Indelicato as an RDC school instructor.
Indelicato joined the Navy following graduation from Prince George High School in Prince George, Va., in 1993. He and his wife, Mari, have a three-month-old daughter, Kaitlin, and currently reside in Great Lakes Family Housing.
"My next goal is to make chief," Indelicato said. "When I came to Great Lakes, I said I would make it before I left here." He has his first opportunity to do so this summer.
For information on RTC Great Lakes, go to http://www.ntcgl.navy.mil and select "Recruit Training Command" on the home page.