Navy Boot Camps

Navy boot camp is conducted at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. It is a nine-week course and is physically and mentally taxing in the life of a navy trainee. However, this is the period that transforms a raw trainee into a hardened sailor.The first week is more about ethics and dress code. Trainees are taught how to dress up and how to fold and store their uniforms in their bags. Haircuts are provided and basic modes of addressing the instructors are taught. This is more of a morale-boosting period than anything else. Confidence-building continues in the second week and the fact that naval warfare is teamwork is emphasized upon.

The third week is more detailed. It includes hands-on information that the naval recruit would want in future. The art of navigating ships, signaling with flags i.e. semaphore and reading ship manuals, etc. is taught. This is also the time when money management lessons are given, which is necessary when away from home.

Weapon practice begins in the fourth week. M-16 rifles and 12-gauge shotguns are used. Training includes cleaning, loading weapons and stationary as well as live target practice. The importance of being out in the open is stressed, as navy recruits cannot utilize camouflage in the open sea. The fifth week is about career planning. Trainees are encouraged to think about what navy post would suit them. There are many one-on-one discussions at this stage among trainees and the instructors.

Live warfare simulation begins in the sixth week. It includes planning of strategies and disaster survivals. Gas-chamber drills are taught, which train to get away from life-threatening situations. Assignments are given to the trainees in the seventh week. There may be twelve of them, all battle-oriented, which the trainees are expected to complete using the skills learnt in the previous weeks.

This almost completes the navy boot camp. At the end, the trainee realizes what it takes to be a sailor and whether he or she possesses those qualities. When boot camp is completed, the trainee is called a sailor and is awarded the US Navy Ball Cap.

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