1.0    Introduction

This article provides an overview of United States Navy Phase 1 Basic military training programme, generally known as the US Navy Boot Camp.

It is organised as follows:

  • Part One is the background including a brief history.
  • Part Two describes the training hierarchy.
  • Part Three outlines the training undertaken at the US Navy’s only boot camp.
  • Part Four provides some useful publications and links, and finally references.

The US Navy’s only boot camp facility is located at the Naval Station (NAVSTA) Great Lakes which is located approximately 35 miles north of Chicago, in the far north-eastern corner of Illinois. The Wisconsin state line is approximately 16 miles north of NAVSTA.

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, NAVSTA Great Lakes is home to the US Navy’s only Recruit Training Command (RTC). NAVSTA Great Lakes is also home to 19 of the Navy’s technical service schools. Since its founding in 1911, the Naval Station has prepared men and women for duty in Naval Service.

Naval recruits will undertake long days and receive intensive of training including classroom instruction, physical fitness, small arms marksmanship, seamanship, water survival, line handling, and fire fighting and damage control, naval history and core values, and teamwork and discipline.

RTC is a large organisation with over 1,000 military and civilian staff and over 4,000 recruits training at any given time.

1.1     Aim

The aim of this article is to describe the training process for those seeking to become a sailor in the United States Navy.

1.2    What is the Purpose of Boot Camp?

The purpose of the US Navy’s basic training, aka boot camp, is to transform civilians into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Sailors who are ready for follow-on training and service to the fleet while instilling in them the highest standards of honour, courage, and commitment.

1.3    Brief History

Naval Station (NAVSTA) Great Lakes and Recruit Training Command (RTC) are located approximately 35 miles north of Chicago, in the far north-eastern corner of Illinois. The Wisconsin state line is approximately 16 miles north of NAVSTA/RTC.

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, NAVSTA Great Lakes, is now home to the U.S. Navy’s only Recruit Training Command. NAVSTA Great Lakes is also home to 19 of the Navy’s technical service schools. Since its founding in 1911, the Naval Station has prepared men and women for duty in Naval Service.

In 1905, the then President, Theodore Roosevelt, approved the founding of NAVSTA Great Lakes. Prior to 1881, sailors training took place underway (i.e. on board a ship at sea), so it was a novel idea to train enlisted personnel before they got to the fleet.

NAVSTA Great Lakes opened on 01 July 1911, receiving its first recruit, Joseph Gregg of Terre Haute (Indians), two days later. Joseph graduated with 300 other sailors, watched by 10,000 civilian spectators and the then President, William Howard Taft.

In 1917, when the USA entered World War One, NAVSTA Great Lakes sprouted tent cities, adding to the 39 original buildings, with sailors with skills in construction helping civilian workers build further housing and training facilities. By the end of the war NAVSTA Great Lakes had trained over 125,000 sailors.

Through the 1920s and early 1930s, NAVSTA Great Lakes had only an air base and a radio school, with recruit training dwindling to almost negligible numbers – even halting for a short period.

On 07 December 1941, when Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese, there were approximately 6,000 sailors training at NAVSTA Great Lakes. In May 1942, there were 68,000, with over 100,000 by September 1942. During the course of World War Two (WIWII), between 07 December 1941 and 14 August 1945, over one million sailors were trained.

As a consequence of the ‘Cold War’ during the 1950s, in one week in 1951 NAVSTA Great Lakes graduated 98 companies of recruits, matching its record in WWII.

New barracks, mess halls, classrooms, and staff offices, costing approximately US$8 million were built over the next decade. These buildings served for nearly half a century before the current base rebuilding began in the late 1990s.

In the 1960s, the US Navy SEALs started recruiting at NAVSTA Great Lakes, with the first experimental company of 37 recruits graduated in December 1967. They were chosen from 250 volunteers and given special recruit training to prepare them for the more rigorous SEAL training to come at Coronado and beyond. Many of them went on to serve in combat in Vietnam.

On 01 July 1968, the Orlando Naval Training Centre was established, becoming the third training facility for US Navy recruits (alongside Great Lakes and San Diego).

In 1973, Orlando became the sole site of recruit training for enlisted women. Prior to this women had been trained in Bainbridge, Maryland. The move to Orlando created the first co-located training site for enlisted men and women.

In 1987, Recruit Training Command (RTC) cut the ribbon for the Golden 13 Recruit In-processing Centre, which now greets every new recruit who joins the Navy.

In February 1992, men and women started training together at Orlando in the first Navy co-ed or integrated training company, although “their sleeping quarters, bathrooms and health clinics remain segregated.” (Thompson, 1992). At this point Orlando was graduating approximately 23,000 recruits each year, nearly one-third of them women (Thompson, 1992).

In 1993 – in the wake of the drawdown after Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm – the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission decided to shut down Naval Training Centre (NTC) Orlando and NTC San Diego.

In 1994, the RTC in NAVSTA Great Lakes became the Navy’s only recruit training facility. Orlando graduated its last company of 459 recruits in the 1321st Pass-In-Review Ceremony on 02 December 1994, and officially closing on 31 March 1995.

As a result, in 1998, the RTC Recapitalisation Programme began (it was the most ambitious building programme at Great Lakes since its founding in 1905).

1.4     Veterans Orientation

Responsibility for administratively processing veterans through veterans’ orientation and into active duty lies with the US Naval Veterans (NAVET) and Other Service Veterans (OSVET) Veterans Orientation programme.

This programme also provides training, medical support and the basic logistics required to ensure a smooth transition.

NAVET’s and OSVET’s complete the veteran’s orientation course rather than recruit training.

1.5     Back to Boot Camp Heritage Legacy Training

The Back to Boot Camp programme is for those selected for the rank of Chief Petty Officer (‘Chief Selects’) (Wills, 2018).

During the five-day programme Chief Selects will experience leadership and heritage training that is central to the foundation of training provided to the fleet from the Recruit Training Command and essential to understanding the CPO Creed outlined in Laying the Keel 1.0.

Training includes participating “in some of the events they had to complete during their initial boot camp experience including firefighting, military drill and seamanship training aboard USS Marlinspike … [and] … a four-mile run with some heritage training included at significant buildings on RTC.” (Wills, 2018). The Chief Selects will also complete Battle Stations 21, discussed later.


2.0    Introduction

This section of the article outlines the personalities and organisations that have an impact on the training process of US Navy sailors during boot camp.

2.1     Naval Education and Training Command

The Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) is an enterprise level shore command of the US Navy that is responsible for the training, education and professional development of active duty and reserve Sailors through accession, continuing education, and advancement training.

The NETC is headquartered at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. It is led by the Commander NETC, a Rear Admiral, Upper Half (OF-7) who is assisted by:

  • Executive Officer: A civilian of the Senior Executive Service.
  • Chief of Staff: A Captain (OF-5).
  • Force Master Chief (FORCM): A Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).

2.2     Naval Service Training Command

The Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) is a one-star Echelon III command of the US Navy that is responsible to the Commander NETC for the indoctrination and training of all new accessions into the Naval Service, with the exception of Midshipmen who access through the United States Naval Academy (USNA). This includes:

  • All new recruits through Recruit Training Command;
  • All officer candidates who are seeking a commission through the Officer Training Command; and
  • The various Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units in colleges and universities across the US.

The NSTC is headquartered at the Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. It is led by the Commander NSTC, a Rear Admiral, Lower Half (OF-6) who is assisted by:

  • Deputy Commander: a Captain (OF-5).
  • Chief of Staff: A Captain (OF-5).
  • Command Master Chief (CMDCM): A Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).

2.3    Recruit Training Command

The Recruit Training Command (RTC) is a command of the US Navy responsible to the Commander NSTC for…

The RTC is located at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Great Lakes, on the shores of Lakes Michigan, approximately 35 miles north of Chicago, in the far north-eastern corner of Illinois. The Wisconsin state line is approximately 16 miles north of NAVSTA/RTC. It is led by the Commander RTC, a Captain (OF-5) who is assisted by:

  • Executive Officer (EO): a Commander (OF-4).
  • Director of Military Training: a Commander (OF-4).
  • Command Master Chief (CMDCM): a Master Chief Petty Officer (OR-9).
  • Fleet Commander: ?
  • Ship’s Officer: ?
  • Ship’s Leading Chief Petty Officer (SLCPO): Chief Petty Officer.
  • Recruit Division Commander (RDC): Chief Petty Officer or Senior Petty Officer.


3.0 Introduction

This part of the article outlines the training undertaken by recruits during US Navy boot camp.

3.1 Recruit Division Commanders

Within the US Navy, recruit instructors are known as Recruit Division Commanders (RDC’s).

RDC’s are Chief Petty Officers or Senior Petty Officers specially selected for their leadership and teaching abilities. They must attend and successfully graduate from their ‘C’ school in order to train recruits.

There are more than “870 RDCs and instructors” stationed at NAVSTA Great Lakes (NSTC, 2019).

3.2     Outline of Training Syllabus

“Over the past 14 months, Navy leaders have made recruit training tougher. Senior leaders told Navy Times that they’ve revamped more than 60 percent of the eight-week curriculum to return the enlisted rite of passage to the gritty fundamentals of physical fitness, standing watch and waging war at sea: fighting fires, damage control and force protection.” (Faram, 2018).

As part of this revamp, training became less computer-based and more hands on. The revamp has also affected the attrition profile. Previously, most recruits who failed dropped out around week six, dropping from 7% to 2% (Faram, 2018). However, the vast majority of those recruits who get sent home is due to a pre-existing medical condition that went undetected prior to starting at NAVSTA Great Lakes (Faram, 2018).

During training recruits are expected to man watch stations on their ‘ship’ (aka accommodation) and protect their vessel around the clock, including patrols and duty on the quarterdeck (Faram, 2018). There are fake gauges that recruits are expected to monitor and log, and they can be fined real money if they mess things up. This no longer any guarantee for eight hours of sleep per night, especially when RDC’s shout man overboard in the ‘ship’. At the start of training recruits have 10 minutes to account for all personnel, and 5 minutes prior to graduation.

““After trying this in three pilots and almost 1,000 recruits, the attrition rates for the warrior toughness divisions were about half of the control divisions, who weren’t getting the toughness training and were only given extra quiet time,” he said. Bernacchi said that recruits with the tougher treatment scored higher on their fitness tests, personnel inspections and academic exams.” (Faram, 2018).

According to the October 2016 version of the Basic Military Training Core Competencies (BTMCC) Manual, there are six major competency areas for recruits (NSTC Public Affairs, 2017):

  • Militarisation includes the Oath of Enlistment, Navy core values, naval customs and traditions, military drill, uniform wear, and basic naval regulations.
  • Seamanship includes basic line handling, shipboard and deck equipment terminology, and man overboard procedures.
  • Programmes and policies includes Uniform Code of Military Justice, Anti-terrorism/Force Protection programme, and family care programmes.
  • Fire-fighting and damage control includes basic fire-fighting and damage control procedures, portable and fixed DC equipment and systems, chemistry and classes of fires, emergency breathing devices, first aid, and chemical, biological, and radiological defence.
  • Watchstanding includes the General Orders of a Sentry, official log keeping, responsibilities and procedures for watchstanding.
  • Personal financial and professional development includes benefits associated with naval service, advancement requirements, financial security, communication and listening skills, stress management and coping with change, and nutrition.

Below is an example of the six major competencies in a practical training programme received by recruits.

  • Week 01:
    • Also known as In-processing days or P-Days.
    • Recruits will be met off the bus by “yelling commanders.” (Vazquez, 2018).
    • Administration screening:
      • Photo ID (other than DOD dependent ID card).
      • Social security card.
      • Marriage certificate (if applicable).
      • Divorce decree (if applicable).
      • Copies of dependent birth certificate (if applicable).
      • Immunisation records.
      • DDS Form.
      • Permanent resident card (for non-citizens)
    • Medical and dental examinations, with inoculations as required and drugs test (urinalysis).
    • Initial issue of uniform (e.g. Navy sweatshirts).
    • Haircuts!
    • Recruits will:
      • Be taught the basics of standing watch.
      • Be taught basic drill, e.g. how to stand to attention.
      • Be given information to memorise, e.g. General Orders (Section 3.3).
      • Meet their RDC’s.
      • Be commissioned in their division by their ship’s officer, with a typical division starting with “88 recruits” (Vazquez, 2018) housed in 1,000 person dormitories (known as ‘ships’).
      • Although men and women train together, they do not room together.
  • Week 02:
    • Introduction to drill (aka marching).
    • Classroom-based learning (Section 3.4).
    • Physical training (PT) (Section 3.5).
  • Week 03:
    • Classroom-based learning.
    • First academic test.
    • Receive dress uniform.
    • PT and drill.
    • Navy Boot Camp Confidence Course:
      • Designed to simulate obstacles one may have to encounter during a shipboard emergency.
      • Recruits don oxygen breathing apparatus (OBA, standard equipment for shipboard fire-fighting) carry sandbags, toss life rings, and climb through a scuttle (a small circular door) with full sea-bags.
      • Recruits complete the course in groups of four, with the purpose of finishing as a group not as individuals.
  • Week 04:
    • Classroom-based learning.
    • Second academic test.
    • First aid.
    • Initial personal fitness assessment (PFA).
      • Recruits who fail their baseline PFA will retake within 72-96 hours.
      • Passing will mean placement with a new division and a one-week delay in training, whilst a second failure will see a move to a special division (Section 3.5) or separation from the US Navy.
  • Week 05:
    • Increasing the number of live rounds fired with the in-Service pistol from five rounds to 40 rounds.
    • Firing five ‘frangible’ training rounds on a Mossberg shotgun.
    • Extensive anti-terrorism/force-protection briefings on threat conditions, history of terrorism and steps sailors can take to present less of a potential target.
    • Computer classes and familiarisation with the Navy Knowledge Online website.
    • Eight, one-hour mentoring sessions, with RTC staffers and an RDC.
  • Week 06:
    • CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) training.
    • Anti-terrorism and force protection training.
    • Basic damage control for shipboard emergencies.
    • Health and fitness awareness.
  • Week 07:
    • Final evaluation known as Battle Stations 21 (Section 3.8).
    • Live fire test.
    • Final PT test.
  • Week 08:
    • Graduation week (Sections 3.10 and 3.11).

The curriculum recently underwent some changes to improve basic warfighting skills and toughness in Navy recruits (NSTC, 2019).

“Recruit training has replaced extensive computer-based training with hands-on learning, using multiple repetitions of basic skills applied in increasingly complex and realistic training.” (NSTC, 2019).

3.3 General Orders

During boot camp, recruits will be required to quote one or more of the General Orders of a Sentry (aka General Orders of the Watch) from memory anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Therefore, knowing these orders prior to the start of boot camp can be an advantage – there will be enough to learn and memorise as it is!

  1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
  2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
  6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
  8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
  9. To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
  10. To salute all officers and colours and standards not cased.
  11. To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

3.4     Basic Naval Orientation

Basic Naval Orientation (BNO) is taught by the BNO staff, who are responsible for teaching recruits a variety classroom topics during their training. Lessons are taught in either a group-paced classroom setting or a self-paced setting by computer-based training. Topics include:

  • Direct Deposit System (DDS) brief;
  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB);
  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ);
  • US Navy ships and aircraft;
  • First aid;
  • Rank/rate recognition;
  • Uniforms and grooming;
  • Conduct during Armed Conflict;
  • Military customs and courtesies;
  • Equal opportunity;
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR);
  • Naval history;
  • Anti-terrorism and force protection;
  • Thrift savings plan; and
  • Weapons familiarisation (e.g. M9 service pistol).

Recruits are required to pass three academic tests covering this material during their training.

3.5     Physical Training

“Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, all new recruits will be required to pass a run test in order to enter boot camp, the Navy announced on Nov. 15 [2017].” (Weinstein, 2017).

PT takes places six day a week and includes:

  • Strength and conditioning exercises;
  • Cardiovascular exercises; and
  • A weekly exercise routine known as Balance Agility Strength Explosion and Stamina or B.A.S.E.S.

One of the graduation requirements for RTC is passing a Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (Table 1) and being within approved body composition measurements for your height and weight. Indoor PT is conducted in Freedom Hall.

Table 1: Physical fitness standard
Age GroupGenderPress-upsSit-ups1.5 Mile Run

Recruits who become injured or fail a PT test may be assigned to a recruit convalescent unit (RCU) or be placed on hold to pass a fitness test via the fitness improvement team (FIT). A recruit who is in RCU or FIT is still in training.

“On the fifth day of boot camp, all recruits must meet the “forming standard” for physical fitness. For men, that means completing a 1.5-mile run in 16 minutes and 10 seconds. Women must do it in 18 minutes and 37. If they fail, they retake the test within 48 hours.” (Faram, 2018).

Since the introduction of the ‘forming standard’, approximately 2% more recruits were separated from the Navy (Faram, 2018).

Recruits who achieve an Outstanding High on the final physical fitness assessment will be “meritoriously advanced in pay grade at graduation.” (Weinstein, 2017).

3.6     Fire-Fighting and Damage Control Training

Fire-fighting and damage control (FFDC) is very important for all sailors, regardless of rank and role. Every Sailor on-board the ship is a fire-fighter and must know what to do in the event of an emergency. This phase of training phase consists of five (5) days of classroom lectures and hands-on fire team training. Sailors will be trained:

  • To respond as a team;
  • In basic shipboard damage control;
  • To combat flooding;
  • To make casualty reports;
  • To understand the chemistry of fire;
  • To understand how fire is extinguished, both theoretically and practically; and
  • Identify the hazards of fire, smoke, and a chemical weapon attack (and what to do).

3.7     Water Survival Training

This phase of training is delivered by the RTC’s Water Survival Division, with training including:

  • Basic sea survival training;
  • Lifeboat organisation;
  • Survival kit contents and usage;
  • Abandon ship scenario;
  • 3rd Class Swim Qualification, consisting of:
    • Jumping off a platform;
    • Swimming 50 yards;
    • 5-minute prone/supine float; and
    • Clothing inflation.

Soon after recruits arrive at NAVSTA Great Lakes they will be screened for their swimming skills. Those that cannot swim, or are poor swimmers, will be required to undergo extra or special swimming instruction.

3.8     Battle Stations 21

“Battle Stations, an overnight, scenario-based, high stress evaluation where recruits are expected to self-organize and perform tasks which simulate routine and emergency situations at sea.” (NSTC, 2019).

At the end of the seventh training week, recruits undergo a final evaluation called Battle Stations 21 (Bat-21 or BST-21), also known as the Command Assessment Readiness Test, and is the capstone of all skills learned during training.

Bat-21 is a 17 scenario, 12-hour overnight crucible event in which recruits put “…all their skills together aboard a 210-foot replica of a destroyer.” (NSTC Public Affairs, 2017; Vazquez, 2018). USS Trayer is a 2/3 scale “mockup of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer enclosed within a 90,000-gallon pool in a 157,000-square-foot building on board RTC.” (Nunn, 2017).

“What hasn’t changed is that all the stages in training culminate in “BattleStations 21,” a voyage aboard the USS Trayer, a building at Recruiting Training Command that’s named after the first chief petty officer to train and graduate recruits at Great Lakes.” (Faram, 2018).

The USS Trayer, unveiled in 2007, deploys a battery of video screens, odours, and sound effects to simulate war at sea (Faram, 2018). Approximately “three dozen BST-21 facilitators” will evaluate as many as “16 divisions a week.” (Nunn, 2017). Generally, recruits will be tested in groups of ten, with each scenario beginning with a 5-10 minute briefing which can provide objectives, details and answers! (Nunn, 2017).

During their overnight stay on USS Trayer, recruits will load stores, get underway, handle mooring lines, stand watches, man general quarter stations, stop floods, and combat shipboard fires. It is as close to being underway as a recruit can get before they receive their orders to their first ship.

Failure to pass Bat-21 means not graduating. Recruits can fail individually, as a team, and as a division (Faram, 2018).

Bat-21 culminates in the award of a Navy ball cap to replace the recruit ball cap that each recruit wears during training. The symbolic change of hats indicate their status as sailors in the US Navy.

Live fire testing and the final PT test are also conducted during this week.

The staff of Bat-21 include the Battle Stations Training Team (approx. 12), facilitators (approx. 36), four rotating night check chiefs, and Bat-21 division officer (a Chief Warrant Officer).

3.9     The Competition Series

During the first training week, divisions enter into the competitive aspects of training.

Performance in academic achievement, military drill, cleanliness, athletics, and overall excellence all count toward earning recognition flags. Flags are awarded to the winning divisions. These flags are carried in dress parades and reviews. The division ‘guidon’ (flag-bearer) carries the division number.

On the weekend prior to graduation, divisions will compete for the Captain’s Cup. Events include basketball, volleyball, relay races and more. There is one winning division for integrated divisions and one for the non-integrated divisions, and each winning division receives a traveling trophy to display in their ships.

The climax of the competitive series is the Pass-in-Review (PIR) practice where the best divisions can earn:

  • Battle ‘E’;
  • Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) honours; and/or
  • Hall of Fame honours.

“Over the last 23 years, fewer than 1 percent of the 11,000 companies that have graduated from Orlando have earned the boot camp’s highest achievement award. But nine of the 24 coed companies that have graduated so far – close to 40 percent – have landed that prize.” (Thompson, 1992).

3.10   Graduation Requirements

There are several graduation requirements including:

  • Pass Basic Seamanship Phase.
  • Pass fire fighting module.
  • Pass Navy Handgun Qualification Course.
  • Pass third class swim qualification.
  • Pass all academic tests.
  • Pass PT test.
  • Pass Bat-21.

“In the past, lax standards allowed recruits to graduate if they passed the physical fitness test, a multiple-choice exam and the third-class swim evaluation. They now must pass not only individual skill tests at multiple stages of training, but their team has to ace them, too.” (Faram, 2018).

3.11   Graduation Week

Graduation week is were recruits become sailors in the US Navy. This week includes:

  • PIR Practice (as noted above).
  • PIR Ceremony:
    • Each week, the Commanding Officer (CO) of RTC hosts an impressive PIR ceremony that attracts more than 175,000 visitors annually.
    • The PIR ceremony marks a recruit’s public recognition as a sailor.
    • The PIR Ceremony last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes (9 am to 10.30 am).

Between 5 and 16 divisions (345 to 1100 sailors) may graduate at the same time. RTC graduates approximately “30,000” recruits annually (NSTC, 2019), “38,000 to 40,000” (Vazquez, 2018) or “50,000” (Smith, 2019). The official figure given by the US Navy is 30,000-35,000 per year.

Family and friends (up to four per recruit) initially meet at the Recruit Family Welcome Centre which is located inside the Navy Exchange (NEX) shopping complex.

3.12   Honour Graduates

Honour recruits are those recruits whose superior performance through recruit training is recognised by their RDC’s. They can receive special awards and/or meritorious advancement including.

  • Academic Excellence Award.
  • Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award (awarded to the overall top graduate sailor) (Nunn, 2018).
  • Military Officers Association of America Award.
  • The Military Order of the World Wars Award of Merit.
  • United Services Organisation Shipmate Award.
  • Navy League Award.

Each award winner receives a letter of commendation from the CO RTC in recognition of their superlative achievements during recruit training, except the overall top graduate who receives a Flag Letter of Commendation.

3.13   Further Training

As a rule, newly graduated sailors who will attend advanced training (‘A’ school):

  • At NAVSTA Great Lakes will most likely transfer immediately after graduation. They would then have the remaining weekend from Friday afternoon on for off-base liberty, remain within 50 miles of the base, and return to the base each night.
  • Out of state may depart the following day after graduation.

Certain sailors who graduate from RTC will be placed in a temporary holding unit whilst awaiting follow-on orders to their ‘A’ school. Reasons for placing graduated sailors in this unit include clearance issues, needing a special physical, or sometimes it is as simple as waiting for an ‘A’ class to fill up.


4.0 Summary

This article provides a broad outline of the basic military training undertaken by the US Navy’s sailor recruit, otherwise known as US Navy Boot Camp.

4.1 Documentaries

First aired in 2018, ‘Boot Camp: Making a Sailor’ is an hour-long documentary outlining the training for new sailors in the US Navy. It was produced by the US Navy’s All Hands magazine.

You can view the documentary on YouTube.

US Navy Boot Camp: Making a Sailor (2018)

4.2    Useful Publications

  • Secretary of the Navy Instructions (SECNAVINST):
    • SECNAVINST 5300.26 (Series).
  • Naval Station Training Command Instructions (NSTCINST):
    • NSTCINST 4100.1: Battle Stations 21 Change Management Policy. 18 March 2013.
  • Recruit Training Command Instructions (RTCINST):
    • RTCINST 1552.1 (Series).
    • RTCINST 1600.3 (Series).
    • RTCINST 1600.4 (Series).
    • RTCINST 1601.1 (Series).
    • RTCINST 1616.4L.
    • RTCINST 1620.3 (Series).
    • RTCINST 1650.12 (Series).
    • RTCINST 3000.1A: Recruit Training Command (RTC) Standard Operating Procedures. 02 June 2004.
    • RTCINST 3000.5 (Series).
    • RTCINST 3120.32 (Series).
    • RTCINST 3140.1 (Series).
    • RTCINST 3141.2 (Series).
    • RTCINST 3440.16 (Series).
    • RTCINST 5100.6J: Use of Tobacco Products Onboard Recruit Training Command. 11 June 2003.
    • RTCINST 5100.6M.
    • RTCINST 5112.2 (Series).
    • RTCINST 5216.2P.
    • RTCINST 5370.1 (Series).
    • RTCINST 5370.2 (Series).
    • RTCINST 6320.7 (Series).
    • RTCINST 11320.1 (Series).
  • Other RTC Documents:
    • Group Commander SOP’s.
    • Ship’s Leading Chief Petty Officer SOP’s.
    • Recruit Division Commander SOP’s.
    • Recruit Division Commander Code of Conduct.
    • Watchstanding SOP’s.
    • Recruit Ship Staff SOP’s.
    • NAVCRUITRACOMINST 1600.3: Standards of Conduct for Recruit Training Command (RTC) Staff. 12 October 2012.
    • Recruit Liberty Orientation Lecture.
    • PG13 Liberty Brief.
    • Trainee Guide for Basic Military Training. Revision A. July 2009.
    • Basic Military Training Core Competencies (BMTCC) Manual. October 2016.
    • US Navy Boot Camp Brochure. March 2018.
  • Magazines:
    • All Hands: Magazine of the US Navy.
  • Research:
    • Landau, S.B. & Farkas, A.J. (1978) Selective Retention: A Longitudinal Analysis: I. Factors Related to Recruit Training Attrition. San Diego, California: Navy Personnel Research and Development Centre.
    • Williams, R.A., Hagerty, B.M., Andrei, A-C., Yousha S.M., Hirth, R.A. & Hoyle, K.S. (2007) STARS: Strategies to Assist Navy Recruits’ Success. Military Medicine. 172(9), pp.942-949.

4.3    Useful Links

4.4 References

Faram, M.D. (2018) Not your daddy’s boot camp – why Great Lakes got tougher. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

NSTC (Naval Service Training Command). (2019) CNO and MCPON Visit Boot Camp and Observe Changes to Recruit Training. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 07 February, 2019].

NSTC Public Affairs (Naval Training Service Command Public Affairs). (2017) NSTC Introduces New Manual for Basic Military Training. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

Nunn, A. (2017) Sailors making Sailors: Battle Stations-21. Available from World Wide Web:… [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

Nunn, A. (2018) Sanchez Earns Military Excellence Award at Recruit Training Command. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

Smith, S. (2019) Surviving Navy Boot Camp. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

Thompson, M. (1992) Navy Boot Camp Goes Coed. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 February, 2019].

Vazquez, C.M. (2018) ‘Making a Sailor’ documentary reveals what boot camp is like
in modern-day Navy
. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 07 February, 2019].

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