GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Three Recruit Training Command (RTC) petty officers were selected as Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) 2019 Instructors of the Year Nov. 6.
Chief Fire Controlman Derek Webb is the Senior Enlisted Instructor of the Year; Fire Control Technician 1st Class Kyle King is Mid-Grade Enlisted Instructor of the Year; and NSTC Junior instructor of the Year is Naval Aircrewman Operator 2nd Class Anthony Bass.
Webb was stationed was stationed aboard USS Vicksburg (CG-69) in Mayport, Florida, before accepting orders to RTC.
“I’m honored to receive this recognition," Webb said. "However, it’s moreso for everybody I work with. Any time you're training somebody or teaching them, if you’re doing it right and make that connection with them on a correct level, [coworkers] want you to succeed.
"What that also pays homage to is my family as I put in a lot of hours. At least I can say, ‘WE are the senior IOY.’”
Webb, a native of San Diego, has been a Recruit Division Commander (RDC) for eight graduating divisions as well as two Sea Cadet divisions.
“It’s very rewarding to see these young recruits come from inprocessing in sweatsuits and see the transformation over time,” Webb said. “The conversations you have with them and the bond you get with them and seeing them all working together at the end where their own parents hardly notice them — it makes it all worth it.”
Webb currently serves as a RDC “C” School instructor after having been at RTC over three years. He next heads to San Diego to serve on USS Higgins (DD 76).Webb, whose father is a retired senior chief, said he joined the Navy with the goal of becoming a master chief.
“I love the Navy and everything the Navy is supposed to do and what it stands for,” he said.” Everyone joins for a reason…Every once in a while we all need to get recalibrated and reminded of that reason to get right back into the fight.”
Webb recommends incoming Sailors be willing to go outside their comfort zone. “We need RDCs,” he said. “It’s competitive, yes. But once you get outside your comfort zone and realize all the things we do — If you can be an RDC, you can do any job at a high level with the upmost professionalism.”
King, of Monroe, Washington, was stationed on USS Providence (SSN 719) a Los Angeles-class attack submarine before arriving as an RDC.
“I was a fresh, terrified second-class wondering how I was going to do,” King said. “I’ve really come here and taken charge and matured a lot both in my career and also as a leader. That’s a huge deal.”
King has trained eight graduating divisions and two Sea Cadet divisions during his three years at RTC. As a submariner, King has his eyes on qualifying as chief of the watch and dive officer of the watch as he next heads to Gold Crew, USS Maine (SSBN 741) in Bangor, Washington.
“I am meant for submarines,” King said. “If for some reason they told me I was unable to go back to subs, I’d be distraught. It’s the minimalist concept and being shut off from all the hustle and bustle and craziness that goes on every day — you’re almost set aside in a time capsule. It’s very humbling.”
King has also taught motorcycle safety for the command and serves as a master training specialist team leader. “I didn’t realize how much I loved teaching until I came here, and it just came naturally,” he said.
“You don’t really realize it before you come here how underneath everything it’s a mentoring, instructor role. Being able to really … expand in my ability to teach has been really great.”
King believes the opportunities for Sailors at RTC are unparalleled in the Navy. “You’re going to have new abilities as a leader and as a Sailor, and you’re going to be able to take on anything,” King said.
“When I came here, I was worried about coming here, but this is probably one of the most successful commands I’ve ever gone for,” King said. “Looking back, if I were to think, ‘Oh, I could have gone to submarine school and taught or I could have been a recruiter or this or that,’ there’s no way it could have ever compared to what I’m leaving here with.”
Bass, of Carson City, Nevada, was stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, with VP-46 Patrol Squadron before accepting his orders to RTC. He’s been at RTC a year and a half as a Curriculum Instruction Evaluation Department instructor, teaching Basic Naval Orientation.
“It’s a good job as I like to teach the recruits,” said Bass. “I go to each of their classrooms in the barracks, and although it’s division based, when there’s time after class, I allow them to ask other questions about the Navy or outside life. I definitely try to open up with personal stories or talk with recruits or do what I can to help them out… My time is not time to be yelling at them, because that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to instruct them, and that’s what I do.”
Bass said he’s honored to be the NSTC Junior Enlisted IOY.
“This felt good, and I’m happy in receiving this honor. I would say this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest thing I’ve won,” he said. “Not just command level, but the fact that I won Navy Service Training Command level and I’m going up to the Naval Education and Training Command level — which is the highest level —is pretty awesome.”
After RTC, Bass will return to either Whidbey Island, Washington, or Jacksonville, Florida, for sea duty. He’s completing a degree in history with American Military University and plans to become a high school teacher and football coach.
For those contemplating accepting orders to RTC, Bass advises: “This is just like any other command as it’s going to have its good and it’s going to have its bad. It’s all going to be how you take it,” said Bass.
“Whether you come here as an instructor or come here as an RDC it’s going to be the individual’s attitude. Someone can come here with a bad attitude and tell everyone it’s a horrible place. Some people can come here with a great attitude and say it’s awesome. What I’ve learned about this place is it’s what you’ve put into it.”
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit: www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc/For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.Get more information about the Navy from US Navy facebook or twitter.For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.