GREAT LAKES (NNS) – For the first time in 17 months, joyous cheers echoed through Midway’s ceremonial drill hall at Recruit Training Command (RTC).
The RTC resumed the training camp graduation ceremony on August 13, for a limited number of family and friends. Guests were suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19 to recruits, staff and their families.
RTC Commander Captain Jeffry Sandin greeted guests in front of 774 graduate recruits.
“I am happy to welcome the return of families and friends to our graduation ceremony and look forward to sharing this momentous occasion with everyone. Although we are limited in occupancy, it is important that you are here to celebrate your sailor’s important milestone, ”said Sandin. “Your support in these unprecedented times has helped us carry out the mission of transforming civilians into sailors, while operating in a secure environment to ensure the operational readiness of the fleet. I cannot thank you enough for your continued support and I am sure your sailors are grateful for your encouragement throughout their training.
Each recruit could invite two guests to attend in person. All guests aged 12 and over were to be fully immunized 14 days after their last dose of vaccine to help ensure the health of new sailors and staff, with masks required for all guests and staff inside in any RTC installation.
Currently, recruits spend 14 days in Restricted Movement (ROM) status aboard the RTC if they arrive and are not fully immune. Prior to welcoming aboard, recruits were running the ROM at Fort McCoy, a US Army base in western Wisconsin. Prior to Fort McCoy, RTC occupied hotels in the area to ensure the safety of recruits and personnel while being able to execute the training mission of new Navy sailors.
The RTC continues to make all decisions with safety in mind, as it is the top priority. Strict cleaning protocol, appropriate social distancing, and indoor mask monitoring and wearing – regardless of immunization status – are strictly adhered to.
At the beginning of July 2020, an abridged version of the graduation ceremony without the presence of guests was held outside and recorded on video. The video was broadcast on Navy online platforms, including social media. This continued until November when the ceremony was moved indoors.
Although the Department of Defense does not currently require military personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19, during the last week of the expedition, more than 50% of recruits arrive fully immune at a constant rate. Recruits and staff have the option of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. About 90 percent of each training group graduate fully immunized, meaning that most of these new sailors are able to perform their duties safely during their follow-up training as well as when they arrive at the fleet. .
Each recruit completes the required training elements and must meet the required training standards before graduating. While training schedules have already been changed, these changes have not had an effect on the quality of training provided to graduate seafarers.
Rookie Seaman Matthew Barrera was among the first graduates in the presence of family and filled with pride.
“It was on fire! I could not believe it. Standing on the exercise deck, I felt every little part of it, and I think the energy jumped to each of us, ”Barrera said, referring to his fellow boarders. When asked if his mother and father, who were sitting in front, were crying, he freely admitted, “I was crying! I was on. I tried to stay the course, but it was difficult.
After the ceremony was over, the new sailors lined up outside where families and friends were able to gather with cries of joy, more tears and many hugs.
” It was great ! I was so excited to come to Chicago and see him, ”said Jordan Dorough, girlfriend of Seaman Recruit Alex Bennett Weaver as she stood firmly by his side. “I will never forget that Facebook post a month ago when it was announced that guests were invited. I was sitting in a vet’s office and I remember looking up on Facebook and everyone worried about my dog and said, “Why are you so happy all of a sudden? And I said, ‘You don’t understand what just happened!’ “
For those recruiting division commanders who were only able to stand in an empty drill hall during the shortened versions of the ceremony, finally have the opportunity to stand with their divisions in front of a crowd of over 1,000. guests was a time they were looking forward to.
The weekly graduation ceremonies will continue to slowly return RTC staff, new graduates, families and friends to a Friday morning routine that everyone once knew and will be again.
The training camp lasts about eight weeks and all enlisted in the US Navy begin their careers in command. The training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and damage control on board, as well as lessons on Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and the disciplined. Over 40,000 recruits train each year at the Navy’s sole training camp.
For more information on Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc
|Date posted:||19.08.2021 16:02|
|Site:||GREAT LAKES, Illinois, United States|
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