GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited The Quarterdeck of the Navy and the Navy's only boot camp here, Feb. 27.
CNO and MCPON toured Recruit Training Command (RTC) facilities, including the Navy's largest battle stations simulator USS Trayer, a 210-foot-long replica of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. CNO and MCPON also visited Division 145 in the USS Hopper ship barracks. Recruits demonstrated how they were working and adapting to MCPON's e-Sailor initiative, being conducted and tested at RTC by Naval Service Training Command's (NSTC) Information Technology (N6) and Strategy and Analysis (N5) directorates.
"We strive to provide premier education and training by using the most dynamic learning and development processes," said Rear Adm. Stephen Evans, NSTC commander, who oversees RTC. "We cultivate a culture of personal and professional growth for life-long learning, training and service. The e-Sailor initiative also assists us to anticipate and respond to emerging training needs to meet fleet requirements."
The goal of the e-Sailor initiative and use of e-tablets is to increase the quality of work and quality of life of both recruits and Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs). NSTC staff members and RTC are working to integrate the e-tablets in recruit's training curriculum. This technology is already prevalent in elementary through high schools across the nation, creating a seamless educational transition from civilian to Sailor.
"I am encouraged to see the progress made using tablets for training," said Richardson. "This initiative was started by MCPON Mike Stevens and has really taken off and we're seeing the improvements already."
In 2014, Stevens proposed the e-Sailor initiative to Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) for testing at RTC. In April of 2015 the first division was issued e-tablets. Since then, three more divisions have undergone testing with the e-tablets, including Divisions 145 and 146 currently in training. The NSTC-RTC team have worked to develop protocol for the use, care, and programming of the tablets. Each e-tablet will enable recruits easy access to Navy educational apps, Navy instructions, The Bluejacket's Manual, U. S. Navy ship classifications, Rates and Ranks, training videos, testing and more. The RDCs will also have a quick reference to what recruits use most on the e-tablets to aid in their training.
"During this final cycle of the Pre-pilot, NSTC has deployed iOS tablets (iPads). This will allow the e-Sailor team to monitor the infrastructure and operating requirements associated with this platform to better prepare us for the large scale Pilot that will take place this Spring," said John Drake, NSTC's director of N5. "Additionally, this is the first time we will be able to obtain feedback regarding two new apps we have developed. First, "Ships and Aircrafts" is a flashcard style app to help recruits identify more than 100 naval ships, aircraft and associated equipment. Second, U. S. Military Rank and Reference is a game/reference based app to educate recruits on the visual identification of cross-service ranks."
Drake said once this current cycle is completed, NSTC and RTC will initiate the large scale Pilot. "During that phase we will evaluate tablets across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. In addition, we will continue to integrate new content that is currently in development," he said.
After the brief MCPON said he was more excited with how the e-Sailor initiative was progressing since he launched the program.
"I'm very excited with where e-Sailor is going," MCPON Stevens said. "I'm very grateful to the staff at NSTC and RTC for their willingness to embrace the e-Sailor program and understand the value of it. I think this is going to help shape our Navy as we move forward into the 21st Century and ensure that we remain relevant."
CNO and MCPON also toured RTC's largest structure, the 173,000 square-foot three-story Freedom Hall Physical Fitness facility. Freedom Hall is where recruits train and take their three Physical Fitness Assessments (PFAs) during boot camp. CNO and MCPON also were able to observe a weekly Captain's Cup competition between soon-to-be-graduating recruit divisions. Captain's Cup is a series of relay races and physical shipboard-style challenges, from caring for a simulated injured shipmate to handling mooring lines. The Navy's top officer and enlisted Sailors also sat down with the NSTC and RTC leadership to further discuss the way-forward of accessions training for the Navy and budgetary concerns.
"Having the Navy's most senior leadership tour the Quarterdeck of the Navy provides a valuable chance for us to not only showcase our facilities and the professionalism of our staff, but to also demonstrate the progress we are making in implementing high-velocity learning through the e-Sailor initiative at the Navy's only boot camp," said Capt. Doug Pfeifle, commanding officer, RTC. "This program offers the recruits a tremendous opportunity to interface with technology during their training, making for a more streamlined transition from boot camp, to 'A' schools, and out to the Fleet."
"Visiting Great Lakes was inspirational," added Richardson. "The recruits are full of spirit and determination - it was great to see the next generation of Sailors being trained. The entire command was professional - an amazing blend of challenge, respect, mission, and integrity. The RDCs are a hard-working and high-performing team with a very important job. I look forward to coming back for another visit!"
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes RTC, NROTC units at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, and 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 Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/ or log onto the NSTC Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/.
Learn more about RTC at http://bootcamp.navy.mil or find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NavyRecruitTrainingCommand/.
For more news from Chief of Naval Operations, visit www.navy.mil/local/cno/.