GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, and commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa (CNE-A), served as reviewing officer at the graduation of the Navy’s newest enlisted Sailors and toured Recruit Training Command (RTC) with CNE-A Fleet Master Chief Derrick “Wally” Walters.
The graduation ceremony is the ceremonial conclusion of more than eight weeks of Navy basic training designed to transform civilians into basically-trained, smartly-disciplined, tough and courageous Sailors with the mindset and identity of a warrior.
Foggo spoke to the 752 new Sailors and empowered each Sailor to perform their duties at the highest level for the nation.
“Sailors, you are about to embark on one of the most challenging adventures of your life,” said Foggo. “You’ve chosen to serve your country at a time of increasing complexity, in an emerging era of Great Power Competition. Our Navy provides global presence, ensuring our national security and economic prosperity. It is an exciting time to be joining the Navy – we need the very best.”
For more than a century, Naval Station Great Lakes has transformed civilians into highly-trained Sailors – more than 3 million of them.
“I commend each and every one of you for taking on the solemn responsibility of defending our nation,” continued Foggo. “You are well prepared for that tremendous duty. You have earned not only mine, but the respect of a grateful nation.”
Prior to reviewing the graduation ceremony, Foggo and Walters met with Commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Rear Adm. Jamie Sands and NSTC Command Master Chief, Master Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Hailey, to discuss RTC as well as other NSTC programs, which include Officer Training Command in Newport, R.I. and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at colleges and universities around the country.
“Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch some of the training evolutions that these fine Sailors have completed,” said Foggo. “I saw recruits tenaciously fight fires, vigilantly stand watch, and eagerly learn the customs and traditions of our fine Navy that we cherish dearly. I saw how this training culminated in the final test, ‘Battle Stations.’”
They also met with Recruit Division Commanders and other RTC staff to discuss Warrior Toughness, a wholistic mind-body-soul program that was implemented at RTC in 2018 and is being expanded to all NSTC accessions programs. Toughness, one of the Chief of Naval Operations’ core attributes, and the Warrior Toughness program, focuses on the mindset prior to a critical event with an emphasis on improved performance and ethical decision-making, as well as what happens after. Toughness focuses on improving performance in execution of the mission and making healthy Sailors better at their jobs. The program includes techniques and skills from a variety of sources to increase a Sailor’s ability to perform under stress, both acute and long-term.
“The quality of today’s Sailors that we are seeing out in the fleet is second to none. This is due in large part to the incredible work of our RDC's and the entire Recruit Training Command team,” said Walters. “I believe the eight weeks of transformation from civilian to Sailor for these recruits is giving our Navy the exact kind of warfighter we need for the challenges facing our Navy. In particular the Warrior Toughness training being implemented here at RTC is a game-changer. As a Navy SEAL, I have seen first-hand the power of unlocking the mind to achieve things which you thought were impossible.”
Foggo and Walters toured training facilities on RTC including USS Trayer (BST 21), a 210-foot-long mock-up based on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer where the recruits complete “Battle Stations,” an overnight, 12-hour final evaluation where recruits must work together to conduct a series of shipboard evolutions. The state-of-the-art training facility uses special-effects technology to simulate a variety of shipboard emergencies including shipboard fires and compartment flooding in a high-stress environment. The recruits must pass “Battle Stations” before graduating from boot camp.
“The Sailors here today have endured demanding training and they have excelled,” said Foggo. “Without a doubt, you have proven yourselves worthy of wearing the uniform that symbolizes freedom throughout the world, the uniform of the United States Navy.”
Foggo and Walters also visited facilities at RTC where recruits learn basic firefighting, seamanship and line handling, abandon ship procedures, and both simulated and live-fire pistol ranges. These training facilities stress the five basic warfighting competencies essential for all Navy Sailors taught at RTC; Firefighting, Damage Control, Seamanship, Watchstanding, and Small Arms Handling and Marksmanship.
“I commend each and every one of you for taking on the solemn responsibility of defending our nation,” said Foggo. “You are well prepared for that tremendous duty. You have earned not only mine, but the respect of a grateful nation.”
NSTC oversees 98-percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC also includes RTC, the Navy's only boot camp also at Naval Station Great Lakes, the Navy ROTC program at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information about NROTC, visit www.nrotc.navy.mil