The Bootcamp Buzz
RTC barbers at the cutting edge of boot camp
Though recruits face many uncertainties upon first arriving to Recruit Training Command, the Navy's only boot camp, there's one thing of which the males can be certain: They will get their heads shaved.
Having the honor of exposing their scalps during this long-standing military rite are six Navy Exchange barbers with 85 years of combined RTC experience among them. Armed with clippers and scissors, the barbers shave, trim and crop a total average of 75 to 100 recruits on an average day, and that number easily climbs to more than 150 on busy days.
"It is repetitive, but there is a tad bit of creativity to the haircuts due to the fact that we cut different ethnic types of hair that create some challenge," said Alvin Tharbs, who has been shaving heads at RTC for 21 years. "And no matter what kind of day we might have, we really want to come here and do our best and make the recruits feel welcome."
In addition to Tharbs, the barbers - who all previously worked as hair stylists in the civilian world -Hyong Davis has been at RTC the longest at 24 years; Pam Kiesgen, 20 years; Brenda Ricker, 15 years; Ricardo Nicholas, five years; and the newest member of the crew, Eren Gonzalez began four months ago.