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Recruit Performance Divisions return to RTC’s Pass-In-Review: Staff Division

19 August 2021

From Aviation Structural Mechanic Second Class Dewaylon Wilson, Recruit Training Command

Recruit Training Command (RTC) returned to in-person guest attendance at graduation for the first time in 17 months, and with that came the return of performing divisions, sometimes better known as 900 divisions. Performing divisions are comprised of recruits in training who were selected upon arrival to boot camp to assist graduations. They are divided into staff divisions, state flag divisions, and triple threat divisions, which is comprised of the band, choir and drill team. On Aug. 13, Division 901 was the first staff division graduating after performing in Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall for the past three weeks.

Recruit Training Command (RTC) returned to in-person guest attendance at graduation for the first time in 17 months, and with that came the return of performing divisions, sometimes better known as 900 divisions.

Performing divisions are comprised of recruits in training who were selected upon arrival to boot camp to assist graduations. They are divided into staff divisions, state flag divisions, and triple threat divisions, which is comprised of the band, choir and drill team.

On Aug. 13, Division 901 was the first staff division graduating after performing in Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall for the past three weeks.

During the night of a recruit’s arrival to RTC, a screening process occurs to place qualified and capable recruits in performance divisions, but it doesn’t come easy.

“The hardest part is getting the required number of people that we need per week,” said Senior Chief Damage Controlman Andre Sutherland. “The recruits who populate 900 divisions are required to be able to pass every aspect of boot camp both physically and mentally and once you separate the recruits who can’t swim, pass a PFA, or perform academically, it narrows the number of recruits we can choose from.”

Once the screening process is complete, RTC staff members are able to form divisions. The staff division provides arrival honors of side boys, time orderly, and the boatswain. They also include honor guard recruit review commander, adjutant and support for the ceremony with wardroom staff, rail guards, and other important safety functions.

The recruit review commander leads the divisions during the ceremony by issuing commands while standing front and center and is one of the most prominent and challenging positions for the drill hall staff to train.

A great deal of scrutiny goes into choosing a recruit for this position, which is based on presentation, appearance, demeanor, voice volume and pronunciation, military bearing and how well they follow instructions.

Getting the recruits to this point is not an easy feat. Between the recruits having to do their regular boot camp training, they also have additional graduation practice for their duties and performances. This includes three to four hours each Saturday and additional days leading up to the day of the ceremony. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on the 900 divisions but they always rise to the occasion.

“I am excited to get back to a normal graduation as this time around has been more trying simply for the fact that we do not have the other recruits to train so it’s literally from scratch,” said Aviation Electronics Technician First Class Brent Gray. “Since it’s been so long since RTC has had a regular in-person graduation, there are no senior divisions. This means that we had to train this division from scratch, which is a challenge in itself.”

Prior to pausing in-person graduations, senior performing divisions would help train the newer performing divisions, which helped them get up to speed, but also instill excitement for their time to perform.

Graduation has been tough for everyone, not just performing divisions, over the past year due to the precautionary measures RTC took during the coronavirus pandemic that prevented recruit families and friends from attending.

“My hat is off to everyone that joined during COVID because they don’t get to see their families for a long time" said Aviation Structural Mechanic Equipment First Class Daeshawn Tidwell. “Now that we are back to a regular pass-in-review, we can finally celebrate these future Sailors on a job well done.”

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, and firearm, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy Heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy's only boot camp.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc. 

 

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