MAY 26, 2017, GREAT LAKES (NNS) – In an effort to open lines of communication between the enlisted training entities of all five military branches, Recruit Training Command (RTC) hosted the third annual 2017 Drill Instructor Summit, May 15-19.
The summit is designed to facilitate dialogue between the services, aid in the exchange of ideas, discuss societal trends affecting basic military training, and identify best practices which serve to benefit enlisted training across the services.
“Two years ago it was hosted by the Army, last year the Air Force and this year was Navy’s turn,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Daniel Wiita, who escorted the group of 16 drill instructors around the command. “It’s a collaboration of drill instructors or drill instructor instructors that come to each base every year so that we can talk about our processes and try to improve upon the way we do business by learning from the other forces.”
The summit focuses on five areas so each branch may see how each handle the different areas, and so they may learn from each branch’s methods. The five areas are:
* Recruit Training – to examine trends in professionalism, esprit de corps, retention and training.
* Instructor Misconduct Processes – to compare and contrast how misconduct is handled.
* Gender Integration – to review how services integrate training of male and female recruits.
* Manning and Staffing – to define how instructors are selected, trained and retained.
* Ceremonies – to understand culminating ceremonies of each branch of service.
A variety of service mission briefs included an outline of the basic training environment, command structure, jargon, training locations, unit composition, instructor assignments, generalized training focus and follow-on training.
The instructors toured various training facilities including Freedom Hall, the command’s state-of-the-art, 187,000 square-foot physical training facility; USS Missouri Small Arms Marksmanship Trainer (SAMT), where recruits learn to handle and fire the Navy’s standard issue M9 Berretta pistol; and USS Reuben James, a recruit barracks and galley.
The group also visited the Golden 13 in-processing center, named after the first 13 African-American naval officers, where all recruits begin their Navy career. They also toured RTC’s firefighting and damage control trainer, USS Chief.
On the final day of their visit the instructors had breakfast with recruits in the USS Reuben James galley before taking a tour of the USS Trayer, where recruits participate in Battle Stations-21, a 12-hour event where they complete 17 different shipboard scenarios. The state-of-the-art training facility uses theme park special effects technology to simulate a variety of shipboard emergencies, such as shipboard fires and compartment flooding.
Following the tour, the group observed a capping ceremony for the recruits who had successfully completed this final leg in their boot camp training.
“I feel we learned a lot from all the services drill instructors. We were given very good information that we can take back to our leadership to help improve our boot camp,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christina Arsate.
The group wrapped up their visit by observing the Pass-In-Review ceremony where 668 recruits graduated from boot camp following their eight weeks of training.
“Overall I feel I can take back areas for improvement from our week at the 2017 Drill Instructor Summit. This week was worthwhile!” said Army Master Sgt. Randy Magdaleno.
Attendees also visited USS Hopper for a ship tour and e-Sailor overview; Recruit Memorial Chapel for a religious ministries and resiliency brief; USS Marlinespike for a seamanship facility tour; and Recruit Division Commander (RDC) “C” School, to learn about the RDC training.
“The summit was a success in developing lines of communication, training and exchanging ideas between the branches,” said Lt. Allen Rotert, learning standards officer. “All branches of the armed services were impressed with the professionalism of the staff at RTC, the base facilities, and the standardization of training and expectations among all recruits.”
Next year, the 2018 Drill Instructor Summit will be hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control, along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. About 30,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
By Susan Krawczyk, RTC Public Affairs