GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) — Air Force training met Navy training when commanders from the Air Force’s Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., visited Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp, Sept. 25.
Gen. Edward A. Rice, Jr., commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC), was part of the visiting group of Air Force training commanders who spent two days exchanging ideas with Navy training leadership and observing ongoing training at the Navy’s only boot camp and Recruit Division Commander (RDC) “C” School aboard RTC.
For a number of years, the military services have looked at ways to better operate jointly and continue today to look at the best practices of working together – that includes boot camp and accessions training.
“RTC, clearly from the leadership down to the RDCs that I had contact with, even to the recruits that I saw, is a very professional operation,” said Rice. “I expected that, but as with most things, when you have a chance to put eyes on and talk to people, it makes a more powerful impact on you.”
Rice is responsible for the recruiting, training and education of all Air Force personnel. His command includes the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and Air University. AETC trains more than 340,000 students per year and consists of 12 bases, more than 70,600 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilians and contractors, and 1,380 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft.
During his visit, Rice, along with several other Air Force training personnel, including Maj. Gen. Leonard A. Patrick, Commander, Second Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., toured several facilities on RTC. They were also able to meet directly with ships’ officers, leading chief petty officers (LCPOs) and RDCs, engaging in conversation on some of the universals of basic training.
“We were very pleased to host General Rice, a respected leader at the highest level of our military community,” said Capt. John Dye, RTC’s commanding officer. “The visit provided an excellent opportunity to gain unique insights on our shared mission of producing the next generation of Sailors and Airmen.”
The visit began with a tour of the USS Trayer Battle Stations-21 recruit capstone facility followed by observing a capping ceremony, where recruits exchange their “Recruit” ball cap for one that reads “Navy.” The emotional ceremony was followed by a command briefing, facilitated by Dye, and then an overview of RDC “C” School. Rice and the other personnel were presented with several live-action scenarios that “C” school students must respond to appropriately to continue on in their training pipeline to become RDCs.
Such hands-on training is essential, according to “C” school instructors, because it gives students an opportunity to work through a potential scenario and then discuss appropriate courses of action. If similar instances arise while training recruits, RDCs, who have completed this training, have an understanding of the tools at their disposal to work through any given situation.
The next phase of the tour took place aboard the USS Triton recruit barracks. While inside the recruit barracks, the group had the opportunity to see how each is set up like a ship with galleys, classrooms, berthing compartments and offices. They also observed how the daily routine for a recruit is similar to the routine on board a ship or submarine in the fleet. They also toured the state-of-the-art physical fitness facility, Freedom Hall, and took a tour of the Golden Thirteen recruit in-processing facility and the combat training pool, the USS Indianapolis.
“Very impressive, everything I saw today,” Rice said. “Obviously, having new world-class facilities – all of us would like to have the facilities you have here.”
A key part of Rice’s experience was the ability to speak with RTC personnel during his visit.
“It is really about the people, leadership and clearly you’re doing a lot of things right here,” Rice said. “We’ve learned a lot, and I think we’ve agreed that it’s important for us to continue to have a dialogue where we can exchange ideas about how we can do this training mission better as it changes over time. We’re committed to that. In the future, we need to have more of these types of exchanges. Overall, I think this was a very productive visit for us.”
“This visit provided a venue for candid dialogue and the occasion to explore the similarities and differences in our basic training pipelines,” said Dye.
“At Recruit Training Command, the ‘Sailorization’ process is enhanced through the Navy’s recent recapitalization campaign, which provided state-of-the-art facilities, but the overarching principles remain the same for both services: producing basically trained, smartly disciplined, physically fit service members to join the world’s finest military services. Any time we can profit from our shared mission experiences, we welcome the conversation and the mutual support.”
Recruit Training Command graduates more than 37,000 basically trained Sailors annually.
For more information, visit www.bootcamp.navy.mil or www.facebook.com/NavyRecruitTrainingCommand.