GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Seaman Recruit Samantha Garcia, Division 264, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command (RTC), earning the Military Excellence Award on August 2.
Garcia, from San Diego, California, said she joined the Navy to build a career and travel.
“I wanted to see more of the world,” Garcia said. “Growing up a military child, I was always moving and traveling, so I got used to having to adjust to a new environment every few years. I knew joining the Navy would allow me to continue to travel to new places during my career.”
Garcia, 20, is a 2017 graduate of Guam High School in Hagåtña, Guam. She held the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer in the Guam High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and was a member of the varsity rugby team.
Garcia is the daughter of Master Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Orlando and Meleada Garcia. Master Chief Garcia is a former RTC Recruit Division Commander and currently a Navy Military Training Instructor at Training Support Center, Great Lakes.
Garcia is assigned the rate of Logistics Specialist.
The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group. The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award placed her at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors. Garcia is awarded a flag letter of commendation.
Garcia said she was proud to be selected for the MEA.
“Winning this award has given me confidence in myself and has shown me that with dedication and motivation that the sky is the limit,” she said.
Garcia credited her RDCs, Operations Specialist 1st Class Chelsea Joiner, Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Adam Vasquez, and Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Justin Pascual for their guidance and leadership.
Her father’s service and career have also been an inspiration.
“My father has always motivated me to do better than what I think I can do,” Garcia said. “Watching him work hard and push through the obstacles he has faced to get to where he is today inspires me every day to do my get up, do my best, and push through the obstacles in life.”
Garcia said the biggest challenge she faced at boot camp was the transition from civilian to Sailor.
“I thought I had an idea of what being a Sailor was before I came to boot camp, but I soon realized it’s way more than I thought,” she said. “Having to drop your civilian ways was hard at first but I was able to adjust quicker than I thought.”
After graduation, Garcia will attend Logistics Specialist “A” School in Meridian, Mississippi. Logistics Specialists manage inventories of repair parts and general supplies that support ships, squadrons, and shore-based activities. They procure, receive, store and issue material and repair components. They utilize financial accounting and database systems to perform inventory and financial management functions.
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, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 35,000 recruits are trained annually at RTC and begin their Navy careers.
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/.