Congressman Courtney Serves as Recruit Graduation's Reviewing Officer at Recruit Training Command

Story Number: NNS190318-14Release Date: 3/18/2019 3:43:00 PM
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By Susan Martin, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, ILL (NNS) -- Congressman Joe Courtney, Connecticut 2nd District, visited Recruit Training Command (RTC) to tour the base and attend a recruit Pass-In-Review (PIR) while serving as the ceremony's reviewing officer, March 15.

RTC graduated 759 Sailors from 11 divisions and more than 3,000 family members and friends of the recruits attended.

Courtney began the morning by dining for breakfast in the galley of the USS Triton building with select recruits, staff members, Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), and Capt. Erik Thors, commanding officer, RTC.

This was followed by a tour of Battle Stations 21 (BST-21), the crucible event recruits must pass in order to graduate. BST-21 is a grueling 12-hour test of a recruit’s skills in several shipboard scenarios; including firefighting, combating flooding, transporting casualties, and various underway scenarios. It is held on board the 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer replica, USS Trayer, the Navy’s largest simulator.

Courtney viewed the capping ceremony for recruits who successfully completed BST-21 and congratulated them after they were handed their Navy ball caps, signifying they are now officially Sailors.

“We are pleased to have Congressman Courtney as the reviewing officer for our newest Sailors and for this opportunity to show him the improvements we have made in recruit training to produce Sailors who are more capable via new skills based training, tougher and ready to serve as the warfighters our nation needs from the day they enter the fleet,” said Bernacchi.

During the graduation ceremony, Courtney addressed the graduating Sailors and guests in attendance.

“Having the chance to get a glimpse of the work that you had to do to get through boot camp, I am absolutely in awe of your mental toughness and physical ability,” said Courtney. "You’re about to embark on a great journey that will take you and your family to do great things, both personally, but most importantly for our nation. I know every single one of you are up to that challenge and it is a great, great inspiration to all of us.”

PIR is a longstanding military ceremony that began as a way for newly assigned commanders to inspect troops. Visiting military members and dignitaries act as the reviewing officer for weekly PIR ceremonies and have the honor of inspecting and sharing words of encouragement to the Navy’s newest members before entering the fleet.

Following the ceremony and a working lunch with leadership, Courtney continued his tour by visiting the USS Marlinspike to observe a seamanship lab. He then proceeded to the USS Hopper to observe recruit watchstanding and toured a recruit compartment, followed by a line handling lab.

Next up on the tour was a visit to the USS Arleigh Burke to observe a fire fighting assessment and a man overboard drill. It was followed by a visit to Freedom Hall to observe recruits running their final Physical Fitness Assessment, a verbal overview of increased standards, and new baseline formation run.

The congressman wrapped up his tour with a visit to the USS Indianapolis to observe an abandon ship static display.

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at RTC. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 35,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

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RTC Pass-in-review graduation
190315-N-BM202-1275 GREAT LAKES, Ill. (March 15, 2019) Congressman Joe Courtney, Connecticut 2nd District, reviews the recruit ceremonial honor guard during a pass-in-review graduation ceremony at Recruit Training Command. Courtney served as the reviewing officer for the ceremony. More than 35,000 recruits graduate annually from the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Camilo Fernan)
March 15, 2019
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