GREAT LAKES, Ill., (August 21, 2015) (NNS) -- The first 15 recruits were awarded the new Recruit Honor Graduate Ribbon during their Pass-In-Review (PIR) rehearsal in the Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall at Recruit Training Command (RTC), Aug. 20.
The Honorable Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus approved the award to recognize initial accession enlisted personnel who demonstrate superior performance throughout basic military training in the areas of academics, physical readiness, recruit leadership, and commitment to the Navy Core Values.
"RTC recognizes multiple top performing recruits at graduation, but now the recognition is outwardly visible on an honoree's uniform," said Rear Adm. Stephen Evans, commander of Navy Service Training Command (NSTC), who oversees the Navy's only boot camp. "Wearing the Honor Grad Ribbon will be a visible sign to peers and superiors at the recipient's future duty stations that the member demonstrated extraordinary excellence and leadership potential during basic military training and is capable of accelerated and increased leadership positions within the Fleet."
Honor Recruits earning the ribbon will be authorized to wear it during their PIR graduation ceremony. No more than three percent of graduates from each training group will be designated as Honor Graduates.
"The ribbon is given to recruits who excel in every aspect of their training at RTC," said Chief Navy Counselor Tongela Freeman, a recruit division commander at RTC. "Their commitment and performance motivates their shipmates within the division to succeed. These recruits are typically the ones that will take time from their training to help others and are key in bringing the division together to work as a team."
Seaman Recruit (SR) Joseph Agbingpadua entered boot camp on June 28 and was one of the 15 recruits who were the first recipients of the Recruit Honor Graduate Ribbon. According to Agbingpadua, it was an honor to be selected among his shipmates receiving the ribbon.
"It is special to me to think that in the 239 years of the Navy's existence, I'm the first to receive the award out of boot camp," said Agbingpadua. "Through the past eight weeks, my philosophy has been 'Good, better, and best; never rest until your good is better and your better is best.' I wouldn't have received this award if it wasn't for the leadership from my RDCs and the support from my shipmates in my division."
In addition to Agbingpadua, the other new Sailors awarded the ribbon include: SR Jamie Murray, SR Matthew Jones, SR Brittany Walker, SR Renata Choi, SR Carlin Hatcher, SR Richard Cassube III, SR Stephen McGahey, SR Allison Revera-Medina, SR Garrett Firestone, SR Jeremy Cryer, SR Hunter Morrow, SR Bethany Vikowski, SR Timothy Seybold, and SR James Bell III.
RTC is primarily responsible for conducting the initial Navy orientation and training of new recruits. The command is commonly referred to as "boot camp" or "recruit training."
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks, and all enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms familiarization, firefighting and shipboard damage control, lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline.
RTC Great Lakes is the Navy's only basic training location, and is known as the "Quarterdeck of the Navy." Today, approximately 38,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
Rear Adm. Evans and his NSTC staff are headquartered in Building 1; the historic clock tower building on Naval Station Great Lakes. NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy.
NSTC also oversees the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.