SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 – After decades of holding the weekly Pass-In-Review (PIR) ceremony on Fridays, beginning October 5, 2023, the event will be conducted on Thursdays at Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp.
PIR, also known as graduation, is held 48 times a year for the 40,000+ recruits and their families and friends who travel to the Chicagoland area from all of the country and world in support of their new Sailors’ accomplishment. Bumping up the ceremony a day grants the families more time to celebrate this momentous occasion together.
Capt. Ken Froberg, Recruit Training Command’s Commanding Officer shared “as we looked at how we fostered Navy family connections, we realized with a rather minor change in schedule, we could strengthen these existing or new connections with graduating Sailors and their families as they set out on the next chapter of their Navy journey.”
For years, the graduation day has been a symbol of pride and honor for the recruits, but it also brought with it a hint of sadness, as the allotted time for families to spend with their freshly graduated Sailors was minimal. But we were also missing out on a chance to better familiarize our new members with the wealth of resources at their fingertips.
“Our Meet your Navy Family campaign is designed to educate new Sailors and their families not only about the opportunities here at Naval Station Great Lakes, but around the world” said Froberg. “By actively sharing information about our Ombudsman program, Fleet and Family Support Center services, United Services Organization opportunities, or even our Morale Welfare and Recreation programs, we can start that conversation between a Sailor and other Sailors, or with their family, and then give them the opportunity of time to check out the local offerings on liberty. We are also connecting Navy families with the National Museum of the American Sailor here locally, to illustrate a key partner in learning about our naval heritage through the Naval History and Heritage Command nationwide network.”
Presently, Sailors are afforded off-base liberty following the ceremony with the amount of time dependent on where they are headed to for their follow-on training at their prospective “A” Schools. Those staying in Great Lakes for their schooling are afforded Friday through Sunday for liberty, whereas, those going out of state are only given Friday for liberty as they transfer to their next commands on Saturday. Thus, they only have about eight to nine hours to spend with their families after having been separated for nearly three months during training.
“MCPON’s recent Calls to Action were very clear – never be satisfied by the status quo – holding the graduations on Fridays minimized the time family members and guests can spend with their new graduates and limited opportunity to learn about the resources, programs, and benefits available to both family and service members before setting off around the world. We’re changing that, to demonstrate our commitment to fostering a healthy quality of service for all our Sailors, including our newest ones,” added Capt. Froberg.
The Navy recognized the importance of fostering strong family bonds, realizing that a day’s delay could make all the difference in creative lasting memories and also saw the strong opportunity to better educate both our Sailors and their families.
“I challenged the RTC team to innovate new concepts in order to maximize our performance as an organization which includes our families,” said Capt. Craig Mattingly, Commander, Naval Service Training Command. “What this looks like, to our newest Sailors and their families, is time to celebrate the accomplishment of graduating boot camp. I am proud of the efforts the RTC team has made towards putting families of our newest Sailors first by shifting graduation day. This change has a tremendous impact on the quality of life of our next generation of Sailors. This change is an example of how we should continue to examine our processes to get real and get better. The RTC team is better, and our Sailors and their families are going to benefit.”
Boot camp is approximately 10 weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes five warfighting competencies of firefighting, damage control, seamanship, watchstanding, and small arms handling and marksmanship along with physical fitness and lessons in Navy heritage and core values, Warrior Toughness, Life Skills, teamwork and discipline. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.
For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit https://www.bootcamp.navy.mil/.
Story by Susan Martin
U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command