NSTC Commander Enlists White Sox Recruits at Annual Navy Night

Story Number: NNS190820-15Release Date: 8/20/2019 2:06:00 PM
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By Susan Martin, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs

CHICAGO (NNS) -- For young men and women joining the Navy, taking the oath of enlistment while their families are present may be one of the proudest moments of their lives.

But what if they had the opportunity to do in front of a crowded baseball stadium?

That’s precisely what the newest group of 67 recruits were able to do as they were sworn into the Navy by Rear Admiral Jamie Sands, commander, Naval Service Training Command, who issued the Oath of Enlistment in center field of Guaranteed Rate Field prior the start of a Chicago White Sox game Aug. 13.

The Chicago White Sox Special Recruit Division Enlistment Ceremony was a continuation of a 34-year partnership between the Major League Baseball American League club and the Navy, in particular Recruit Training Command (RTC) and Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Chicago.

Sands oversees 98 percent of the officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. That includes the Navy's only boot camp, RTC, which is located at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. He said the partnership with the White Sox is not only important for the Chicago-area, Indiana and Wisconsin recruits but also to the civilian-military relationships.

“We get a recruit division sponsored by the Chicago White Sox so we’re doing that connection with the community," said Sands. That is what this is really all about — realizing that we have Great Lakes, the quarterdeck of the Navy, right up the street from Chicago, and we’re a part of this community. I’m thrilled that the White Sox have decided to sponsor this recruit division. I’m sure the recruits are certainly excited about being out there on the field as well as excited about joining the Navy and probably a little nervous at the same time. This is a really neat experience for them and it’s great way to start off their careers."

The recruits who now make up Division 375 at RTC marched in formation onto center field and stood before Sands as they raised their right hands to take the oath. Many had families and friends in attendance for the game to show their support.

“It gives me great pleasure to present to you the future of your U.S. Navy,” Sands told the crowd. “After eight weeks of boot camp they will earn right to don the cloth of our nation and represent the Chicago White Sox, the Chicagoland area and the United States of America as members of the world’s most powerful Navy.”

Afterward, Scott Gbur, account executive for group sales for the White Sox, passed off the White Sox sponsorship flag to Seaman Recruit Nicholas Lakey, which the division will carry throughout their training when marching.

“It was terrifying," said Lakey, of Machesney Park, Illinois. "All the people were looking at me as I’m holding the flag and there’s a chance I might make a mistake and drop it, though it also was very exciting. As we were walking out I could look out of my peripheral vision and see myself on the big screen and it was really cool! I was able to spend time with my family before we left the game and headed to base. It was an extreme honor to be able to take the oath in the stadium before the crowd and a nice way to start my naval career.”

According to Gbur, the White Sox are proud to partner with the Navy each year and support the men and women who serve the country.

“I have been a part of this relationship with the Navy for nine years and every year it is special to see these recruits come in and get sworn in and then carry our White Sox flag for eight weeks,” said Gbur. “Sometimes, we will have Sox staff visit them up at the base before they graduate boot camp as well.”

After issuing the Oath of Enlistment to the new recruits, Sands threw out a ceremonial first pitch of game. Next, he spoke with announcers Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson in the White Sox radio booth during the second inning of the scoreless game.

While on the air with the Sox announcers, the admiral answered questions about what the new recruits would be doing during their eight weeks at boot camp.

“Well it’s going to be a lot different than what they experienced here watching the ball game," said Sands. "They’ve started the journey into the Navy, and I’m grateful to them and to their loved ones that support them. These Navy families, friends and neighbors really give us the strength to go on and I think we need that more when we join the Navy. That’s all part of the Navy family, and that’s a great example of it here tonight — sitting in Chicago, a Navy town. We’re happy to be members of this community.”

As Sands was about to wrap up the interview, the Sox went on to score three runs, much to excitement of Farmer and Jackson who viewed Sands’ presence as a good omen.

“He’s not leaving! You’re gonna have to stick around!” they both yelled.

Though Sands did eventually have to leave, the Sox went on to beat the Houston Astros 4-1.

The recruits also departed as they boarded buses to head to RTC to begin their training with their Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Aircrew Maintenance Technician Daniel Martinez Carrion; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Qwatevyia Edwards; and Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Roger Zimmerman.

“Being sworn in at the game definitely played a little trick on them,” said Martinez Carrion. “They were at a Sox game with their families and see one side of the RDCs, but once they got on the bus and actually got to boot camp, it was a totally differently side. It was a quick snap of a reality check from what they experienced at the game to what they are experiencing right now in boot camp. During the game they seemed excited but once they got on the bus alone with the RDCs, they were very nervous but ready to begin their training.”

The recruits will spend the next eight weeks transforming from civilians to Sailors during rigorous training evolutions before they march into RTC’s Midway Ceremonial drill hall in front of their loved ones. Divisions carry the various flags they have earned in training, but only one division has the honor of carrying the White Sox guidon: Div. 375 who began their boot camp journey on center field and will conclude it on center deck of the drill hall.

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 Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.

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


2019 White Sox Recruit Division
190813-N-IK959-1973 CHICAGO (August 13, 2019) " Rear Adm. Jamie Sands, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), issues the Oath of Enlistment to more than 75 Chicago-area, Indiana and Wisconsin young men enlisting into the U. S. Navy in the outfield at Guaranteed Rate Field, August 13. The new recruits are part of the 2019 Chicago White Sox Special Recruit Division and their enlistment was before the Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball game against the Houston Astros. It is the 34th time the White Sox have sponsored a recruit division at the U. S. Navy™s only boot camp, Recruit Training Command (RTC), at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. Sands was the quest of honor for the event and threw out the first pitch after enlisting the new recruits during pregame ceremonies saluting the Navy. (U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)
August 16, 2019
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