Great Lakes Naval Museum Foundation
Great Lakes Naval Museum Foundation
Great Lakes Naval Museum Foundation

Basic Training Exhibits - Weeks 1-8

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

Recruit Training or “boot camp” is approximately eight weeks long. The goal is to transform a civilian into a sailor with all of the skills necessary to perform in the fleet.

During week one, Processing Days (P-Days), recruits are handed over from recruiters to Recruit Training Command as they are given a haircut, allowed a brief call home, issued blue sweat suits and complete initial health tests as well as experience their “Moment of Truth.” P-Days concludes with a commissioning ceremony in which each division receives its guidon (divisional flag displaying division number). This ceremony marks the official start of training.

Upon arrival, recruits are given time to make a brief call home to let their family know they arrived safely.

Upon arrival, recruits are given time to make a brief call home to let their family know they arrived safely.

In their “Moment of Truth,” recruits are provided one final opportunity to admit any errors or omissions in their applications.

In their “Moment of Truth,” recruits are provided one final opportunity to admit any errors or omissions in their applications.

Recruits are easily identified because all wear their newly issued, physical training (PT) uniform.

Recruits are easily identified because all wear their newly issued, physical training (PT) uniform.

"Even though I was surrounded by a ton of people, I’ve never felt more alone than my first night at RTC during P-Days."
~ Megan, age 23, Newalla, OK

The first two weeks of training are very difficult: the recruit’s body and mind have to adjust quickly to new rigors.

The main goal of this week is to develop the teamwork and work ethic required to be successful in the next phase of training. It begins with an initial swim assessment, a fitness baseline test and also learning the Navy’s core values and ranking system.

Term of the Day: “All Hands”
Rank of the Day: Chief Petty Officer

Recruits complete paperwork such as life insurance and medical records, determine family allotments and receive identification cards to establish their identity in the Navy.

Recruits complete paperwork such as life insurance and medical records, determine family allotments and receive identification cards to establish their identity in the Navy.

An essential skill for any sailor is the ability to swim. Swim training will ensure that sailors can stay afloat and alive without the use of a personal flotation device in open water. This training includes swimming 50 yards, a five minute prone float and clothing inflation.

An essential skill for any sailor is the ability to swim. Swim training will ensure that sailors can stay afloat and alive without the use of a personal flotation device in open water. This training includes swimming 50 yards, a five minute prone float and clothing inflation.

Saluting properly acknowledges the Chain of Command and the recruit’s place in it.

Saluting properly acknowledges the Chain of Command and the recruit’s place in it.

"The most important thing I learned this week was to be quiet and to listen to the RDCs."
~ Jonathan, age 23, Tipp City, OH

During week three, recruits begin the physical transformation from recruit to sailor as they learn the basics of uniform presentation and inspection, academic learning, knot tying, the Chain of Command, 11 General Orders of the Sentry and military drill.

Term of the Day: “Aye-Aye”
Rank of the Day: Fireman

Marching is essential in helping recruits learn to work as a team and perform basic drill formations and maneuvers.

Marching is essential in helping recruits learn to work as a team and perform basic drill formations and maneuvers.

To train for watch standing in the fleet, recruits stand security watches during which they challenge all persons on or near their post. Watch standing ensures the safety of all shipmates.

To train for watch standing in the fleet, recruits stand security watches during which they challenge all persons on or near their post. Watch standing ensures the safety of all shipmates.

Recruits are provided Navy-issued clothing, including their personally tailored dress uniform.

Recruits are provided Navy-issued clothing, including their personally tailored dress uniform.

"Everyone is constantly testing you here. If you don’t believe in yourself...why should they?"
~ Rebecca, age 18, Las Vegas, NV

Week four consists of “hands-on” and classroom training. Recruits learn laws of armed conflict, money management, basic seamanship, shipboard communication, naval policies, and Navy ship and aircraft identification. Recruits begin to learn what is expected as a member of the armed services.

Term of the Day: “Field Day”
Rank of the Day: Petty Officer Third Class

Recruits receive formal classroom training and computer based training in topics such as antiterrorism force protection, Navy history, equal opportunity, and U.S. Navy ships and aircraft.

Recruits receive formal classroom training and computer based training in topics such as antiterrorism force protection, Navy history, equal opportunity, and U.S. Navy ships and aircraft.

One of the most physically challenging and motivating events in the training calendar is basic seamanship. Recruits start with the basics of line handling and shipboard watch standing.

One of the most physically challenging and motivating events in the training calendar is basic seamanship. Recruits start with the basics of line handling and shipboard watch standing.

Physical training is both rigorous and demanding. Training alternates between strength and cardiovascular exercises to build endurance.

Physical training is both rigorous and demanding. Training alternates between strength and cardiovascular exercises to build endurance.

"Even though I need much more training, I know my mind and body will step up to the challenges ahead."
~ Lydia, age 29, Killeen, TX

During week five, recruits are tested on the material already learned including: Mid-cycle Assessment (MCA) to examine progress in drills, proper uniform, Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA), upkeep of locker and barracks as well as live fire weapons training.

Term of the Day: “Adrift”
Rank of the Day: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

After weapons safety training and simulator training, recruits practice live fire.

After weapons safety training and simulator training, recruits practice live fire.

All recruits have their official Navy portrait taken during basic training.

All recruits have their official Navy portrait taken during basic training.

Both men and women are expected to pass a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) including completion of a run and a prescribed number of sit-ups and curl-ups in a specific amount of time.

Both men and women are expected to pass a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) including completion of a run and a prescribed number of sit-ups and curl-ups in a specific amount of time.

“The most important thing I learned this week was trust. I’ve got to trust my shipmates.”
~ Joseph, age 19, Rossford, OH

By week six, intellectual and physical training continue to progress while expectations for recruits have risen to include practical applications. These applications consist of chemical, biological and radiological protection training, antiterrorism force protection training, basic damage control, protective gear training and health awareness.

Term of the Day: “Skylarking”
Rank of the Day: Rear Admiral Upper Half

Every recruit is trained in basic damage control. At any moment, sailors may be called to combat flooding to protect themselves, shipmates and the ship.

Every recruit is trained in basic damage control. At any moment, sailors may be called to combat flooding to protect themselves, shipmates and the ship.

All recruits must be within approved body composition measurements for their height and weight.

All recruits must be within approved body composition measurements for their height and weight.

As training continues, the importance of teamwork begins to take root and grow within each division. By graduation the individuals in the division will have become shipmates.

As training continues, the importance of teamwork begins to take root and grow within each division. By graduation the individuals in the division will have become shipmates.

“I can tell that I’m changing as a person and transforming into a stronger, smarter, more experienced, future sailor.”
~ Erin, age 19, Kansas City, MO

All final inspections and testing are conducted this week including a final physical fitness test and drill inspection, live fire application and Command Assessment Readiness Test. Training culminates with a grueling 12 hour exercise called “Battle Stations.”

Term of the Day: “Chit”
Rank of the Day: Lieutenant (junior grade)

Firefighting is one of the most important phases of RTC training. Recruits learn in both the classroom and experience hands-on fire team training.

Firefighting is one of the most important phases of RTC training. Recruits learn in both the classroom and experience hands-on fire team training.

The Captain’s Cup competition involves recruit divisions competing in several sporting events to win the RTC Olympic flag, carried by the winner during graduation. The recruits will compete in swimming, running, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and volleyball as well as other sporting events.

The Captain’s Cup competition involves recruit divisions competing in several sporting events to win the RTC Olympic flag, carried by the winner during graduation. The recruits will compete in swimming, running, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and volleyball as well as other sporting events.

Battle Stations puts recruits through arduous physical and mental challenges. All recruits must pass this drill before graduating from the U.S. Navy’s boot camp.

“Battle Stations” puts recruits through arduous physical and mental challenges. All recruits must pass this drill before graduating from the U.S. Navy’s boot camp.

“This was the week I finally believed I could do anything. I used to say, ‘I can’t’ and was scared to do things. Now I say, ‘I can’ and ‘I will.’”
~ Patricia, age 24, Cypress, CA

Once recruits have successfully completed "Battle Stations" they become sailors as they don their Navy ball cap. Final preparations for departure are determined for recruits during week eight. They are permitted to Pass In Review at the USS Midway, ceremonial drill hall, officially marking their graduation and entrance into the fleet of the United States Navy.

Term of the Day: “Eight bells”
Rank of the Day: Hospitalman

After successful completion of Battle Stations, recruits receive their Navy ball caps, which replace their recruit ball caps.

After successful completion of "Battle Stations," recruits receive their Navy ball caps, which replace their recruit ball caps.

Sailors showcase skills learned during boot camp in front of their family and friends during graduation Pass in Review.

Sailors showcase skills learned during boot camp in front of their family and friends during graduation Pass in Review.

Proud family and friends congratulate sailors on graduation day.

Proud family and friends congratulate sailors on graduation day.

“I trust my shipmates with my life and know now they’ll do anything for me.”
~ Vincent, age 20, CA

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