U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorn
GREAT LAKES, Ill. – Sailors are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to Navy officials, and at Recruit Training Command, otherwise known as “boot camp,” these skills are taught by hard-charging, Navy professionals who transforms civilians into disciplined, qualified U.S Navy sailors.
Seaman Mya Howard, a native of Atlanta, recently graduated from RTC, and will be learning the necessary skills needed to be a culinary specialist.
A culinary specialist is responsible for providing high-quality nutritious food to sailors in the fleet.
After “boot camp,” students attend advanced technical schools where they are taught the basic technical knowledge and skills required to be successful in their new careers.
Howard, a 2016 graduate of Long County High School, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Atlanta.
“I learned about discipline and having a grandmother that works out, helped me with physical training and passing the physical fitness assessment,” Howard said.
In 1994, RTC Great Lakes became the Navy's only recruit training facility. The mission of RTC 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 Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Recruit training involves a change in the mental and physical capacity of the new recruit, according Navy officials. From the first day at RTC through graduation day when new sailors board the bus to depart, recruits find themselves in a whirl of activity. Every recruit entering the Navy today will remember RTC as their introduction to Navy life.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Their basic training curriculum is comprised of five core competencies: firefighting & damage control, seamanship, watch standing, and physical fitness. Through a hands-on learning approach, recruits ‘train how they fight’ and receive critical warfighting skills during the sailor development process. The command consists of more than 1,100 staff members, with an average of 6,000 recruits in training at any time.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Howard plays a crucial role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Howard and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy gives me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and to meet new people and learn throughout my career,” Howard said.