Navy Recruit Training Command Graduation Ceremony July 10, 2020

Virtual ceremony of recruits graduating from Navy boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, July 10, 2020.

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(inspirational music) (soldiers shouting) (soldiers singing)

Hello everyone, I’m Captain Erik Thors commanding officer of Recruit Training Command. I welcome you to the virtual edition of our recruit graduation ceremony. Even though you can’t be here in person it is important to be able to share this experience with you, the families and friends watching this significant milestone online. Next time you see your sailor I’m sure they will have many stories to tell you about their bootcamp experience but first allow me the opportunity to tell you our side of the story.

Hurry up let’s go get on the bus, let’s go! (bus creaks) (soldier yells)

[Erik] Recruit Training Command is the quarterdeck of the United States Navy.

[Officer] Good order and discipline will be maintained 24/7. Proper military posture will be maintained 24/7.

[Erik] Every enlisted sailor begins their naval career here and our mission is fairly simple. It’s to transform civilians into smartly disciplined, physically-fit sailors, ready for follow on training and service to the fleet and while doing so to instill in them the highest values of honor, courage, and commitment.

You are no longer a civilian. Whatever you were before is now over. (razor buzzes) You are about to begin a journey that’s gonna make you a part of the greatest naval force the world has ever known. This training will not be easy, it wasn’t meant to be. (woman breathes)

[Erik] Our training environment is controlled chaos.

Are you guys not disciplined tonight? (soldier yells)

[Erik] And while it may not seem like that to the recruits, each and every event has meaning and purpose.

You’re gonna sound off at the top of your lungs. Do you understand?

Yes petty officer!

Yes petty officer!

[Erik] We are designed to develop skillsets that sailors can carry throughout their entire career. We push hard on physical fitness,

You better catch up to her you better not–

[Erik] watch standing,

You’re not looking man, look! Try it, read it and look.

All right, petty officer.

[Erik] and creating a warrior mindset.

Now with the metro scan we’re gonna be focused on your mind.

[Erik] A true body, mind, and soul approach.

When I say gas, gas, gas you’ll have 15, one five seconds to put on your faces, tighten your straps, check for a seal, and put your hands in your pockets.

All of our recruits receive training that will help them the second they get to the fleet. (soldiers yelling)

Arms up, this side put your visors down all the way.

[Erik] Firefighting, damage control, weapons, and seamanship. Our recruits get hands on training and application with them all. (soldiers yelling) (upbeat music)

Put my hands in front of your face you stop shooting, you got it? All right put your ears on.

Standby. (gun fires) (soldier yelling)

[Instructor] All right put your ears on. (guns fire)

Again one breath, face comes up, one breath, back down. (water splashes) (soldiers yell)

[Officer] Surface there’s a wave.

[Instructor] Five more right here.

So I need everything you’ve got because once we start this evolution again I’m going to expect you to adapt, overcome, and be.

Petty Officer (indistinct) (bell rings)

Work together as a team, execute the mission, and the next time I see you you’ll be sailors. Hooyah Navy.



[Erik] Everything they learn is tested in a battle station. (soldier singing) (horn honks)

[Intercom] Identify yourself!

[Solider] Chief Division zero zero one. Manned and ready for battle stations, chief!

[Intercom] Very well.

[Instructor] We will not relax anything that is on you do you understand?

[Erik] A 24 hour event where the recruit ceases to exist (instructor yells)

Open the door!

[Erik] and a sailor is forged. (soldiers yell) (water rushes)

[Instructor] Breathe!

[Erik] Navy bootcamp really is a machine with a swarm of moving parts all working towards the same goal: making a sailor.

I will proudly serve my country’s Navy combat team with honor, courage, and commitment. I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

The sailors forged here are the bedrock of our naval forces. They give our navy its combat edge and enable us to help keep this nation secure. Each of them you see here today has earned the right to wear the uniform recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom. Ladies and gentleman I present to you the newest and sharpest sailors in the United States Navy. (drums beat)

[Announcer] Division two zero five commanded by Chief Petty Officer Adam Jeffson, Petty Officer First Class Marcelle Chapman, Petty Officer Second Class Kiyana Jordan, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Rodrick Short from Shreveport Louisiana. Division two zero six commanded by Chief Petty Officer Kortney Gandy, Petty Officer First Class Christian Phelps, Petty Officer First Class Jose Santos, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Sidney Mandrino from Aberdeen, Maryland. Division two one three commanded by Chief Petty Officer Sarah Laughlin, Petty Officer First Class Chelsea Satchel, Petty Officer First Class Eduardo Defrancisco, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Jennalise Guzman-Torres from CataƱo, Puerto Rico. Division two two zero commanded by Petty Officer First Class Shetavia Howell, Petty Officer First Class Ryan Vanderstow, Petty Officer Second Class Nya Lake, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Natasha Watson from Anderson, South Carolina. Division two two one commnanded by Petty Officer First Class Anna Marrero Suarez, Petty Officer First Class Thomas Jordan, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Jacobi Ruth from Conway, Arkansas. Division two two two commanded by Chief Petty Officer Jared Knight, Petty Officer First Class Opnetta Mierces, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Rebecca Swochek from San Antonio Texas. Division two two three commanded by Chief Petty Officer Ashley Kempted, Petty Officer First Class Andrew Thompson, Petty Officer Second Class Jake Morton, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Drew Thornsborough from Clearwater, Florida. Division two two four commanded by Chief Petty Officer Heather Devalla, Petty Officer First Class Andrew Ashcraft, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Ivory Crenshaw from Rainier, Washington. Division two two five commanded by Chief Petty Officer David Alvarado, Petty Officer First Class Miles Smith, and their Recruit Chief Petty Officer Seaman Recruit Grant Lackney from Vinemont, Alabama.

Congratulations sailors, you’ve all made it! You’re graduating from boot camp and doing so in a time of extraordinary circumstances. Today we recognize your transformation from civilian to sailor. A sailor is a member of a profession forged through shared adversity, confident in their abilities, and certain in their conviction that they are ready to handle any challenge. The RTC staff and your RDCs see these traits within each of you. I personally could not be more proud of how you’ve risen to the challenges we presented and proven that you have what it takes to be members of our navy and profession of arms. While your time here has been different than others have experienced in the past, fundamentally most things haven’t changed. Like every sailor you’ve been trained in firefighting, damage control, seamanship, small arms, and watch standing. You proved you were tough mentally, morally, and physically. You showed you could work as a team both relying on one another and being relied upon. You demonstrated the warrior spirit of sailors and earned the right to wear that title. The Coronavirus has certainly impacted your experience but the Navy is inherently flexible and agile and excels when faced with challenges just like you’ve all done here during bootcamp. But we’re not just congratulating you today. We’re welcoming new members of the Navy family watching from afar. While I wish you could all be here in person, I’m glad I’m at least able to virtually welcome you. The term Navy family isn’t just a slogan it’s a real thing and I’m gonna let you families in on a secret. We need you to love and support us throughout our service to our nation. Thank you for your love and support of your sailor. You are truly part of our family and essential to the Navy. To the sailors graduating today well done. We are all very proud of you. Take care of one another and stay in the fight. (“Anchors Aweigh”)

Throughout your time here you’ve been taught toughness. You have been taught to run to the fire. You have been taught to deal with acute stress, how to process it, and still move forward. You’ve been taught all that stuff. You’ve been taught to overcome challenge and you have overcome challenges. The fact that you’re sitting here today says you’ve done that. ‘Cause here’s what I’m gonna tell you. You’re gonna be tested, it’s coming. One of you is gonna be sitting in your gym workin’ out and you’re gonna hear a loud crash off the back of your ship and when you get up topside a helicopter with 25 people has hit the back of the ship and fell in the water and now you go to mass casualty and start rescuing people. One of you is gonna be eatin’ below the mess decks and you’re gonna hear the flight deck fire drill or the fire alarm go off and you’re gonna run to the flight deck to suit up and there’s a harrier jet with two 500 pound bombs on board, a pilot in the cockpit, and the plane’s on fire and you’ve gotta go combat the fire. One of you is gonna be sitting in combat off the coast of Africa and you’re gonna hear missiles inbound, this is not a drill and you’re gonna have to react. Everything I just said has happened to our Navy in the last four years and sailors like you responded and took action. Your test is coming. Are you ready?

Yes! (indistinct)

Yes! (indistinct)

Weak. Are you ready?

Yes! (indistinct)

Yes! (indistinct)

I am proud of each and every one of you. You are absolutely the generation of sailors I wanna go to war with. Be proud of what you’ve done, earn it everyday. I’m proud to call you shipmate. I look forward to seeing you in a fleet. I look forward to see you at graduation tomorrow. Congratulations to your parents. Hooyah!



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