GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Seaman Recruit Julianne Thompson, Division 356, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award on September 27.
Thompson, from Cisne, Illinois, said she joined the Navy to build upon her career.
“I joined the Navy for my specific job within my rate,” she said. “I am going to be a mortician for the Navy. I would consider it the highest honor within my career to lay to rest my fellow Sailors.”
Thompson, 27, is a graduate of Washington High School in Cherokee, Iowa. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and an associate degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Illinois.
She was employed as a funeral director.
Thompson is assigned the rate of Hospital Corpsman.
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. Thompson is awarded a flag letter of commendation.
Thompson said she was initially shocked to learn she was receiving the MEA.
“When I arrived, I only set out to perform to the best of my ability,” she said. “This award is proof to myself that I did just that.”
Thompson credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Machinist Mate 1st Class Donna Flores, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Hazan Holness and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 2nd Class Joshua Rodrigues for their leadership and guidance.
“The person that pushed me the most would be Petty Officer Flores,” Thompson said. “She set very high standards for our division, and I pushed myself to reach those. She is a strong female leader, which set an outstanding path to follow.”
Becoming part of a team was the toughest part of Thompson’s boot camp experience.
“I overcame this struggle by learning to work within a big team and trusting those who I may not get along with to get tasks accomplished by learning to trust my division,” she said.
“Everyone has strengths that may not be evident up front, but I just needed to let go and have faith in them.”
After graduation, Thompson will attend Hospital Corpsman “A” School in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, where she will learn basic principles and techniques of patient care and first-aid procedures.
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/.