Naval Station Great Lakes
Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Illinois is the central processing location for Naval recruits. Approximately 50,000 recruits pass through Great Lakes RTC annually with an estimated 15,000 recruits onboard the installation at any time and is the third largest base in the Navy. Great Lakes Service School Command (SSC) is the central training location for Naval enlisted students. Students at SSC either arrive directly from RTC or are returning from the fleet for further training. While new recruits are onboard RTC approximately nine weeks for basic training, SSC students will be onboard SSC from two weeks to 14 months, depending on the curriculum.
To improve training efficiency and better align base operating functions, the Navy established Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA) as a shore activity reporting to Commander Naval Training Center Great Lakes (CNTC), effective 01 October 2001. The reorganization removes the day-to-day base operation management responsibilities from CNTC, allowing the Admiral and his staff to provide greater emphasis on their primary mission: improving the efficiency and efficacy of the training provided at Great Lakes. The new Naval Station Great Lakes will oversee daily operations on base. The police and fire departments, food services, barracks and housing will all fall under the Naval Station. NAVSTA Great Lakes is staffed with 403 civilian positions and 198 military billets (10 officer/188 enlisted). These positions were reassigned from existing assets of NTC Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Naval Training Center is home to the U.S. Navy's only Recruit Training Command. The largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training center in the Navy, the base includes 1,153 buildings on 1,628 acres and uses 50 miles of roadway to provide access to the Center's facilities.
Great Lakes has been turning civilians into seamen and seamen into sailors for more than 80 years. From NTC's founding in 1911, it has maintained its position as the Navy's largest training facility. From World War I through today it has trained and sent to the fleet more than two million new sailors through its Recruit Training Command and nearly an equal number from its technical schools.
Theodore Roosevelt signed the act authorizing the construction of the station and directed the Navy to make Great Lakes the biggest and the best Naval Training Station in the world. Rear Admiral Albert A. Ross raised the flag on the site July 1, 1905, and took possession of the land for the government. He was the station's first commander. Ross Field and Auditorium on mainside are named in his honor. More than 100,000 men trained at Great Lakes during the First World War. During this time, Seabees began here and Lieutenant John Phillip Sousa created 14 regimental bands numbering a total of 1,500 members. On several occasions all 1,500 played together on Ross Field.
Great Lakes was a pioneer in racial integration of the Navy. In 1942, Doreston Carmen, Jr., reported as the first African American for training in a general rating. Two years later, 12 ensigns and a warrant officer were commissioned here as the first African American officers in the Navy. During the summer of 1987, the new Recruit In-Processing Center was dedicated in their honor with eight surviving members of the "Golden 13" in attendance.
In 1994, RTC Great Lakes became the Navy's only Recruit Training Command. Best known as "boot camp," recruit training involves a change in living, discipline, responsibility, and the mental and physical makeup of the new enlisted Sailor.
From the first day at RTC through graduation day, recruits find themselves in a whirl of activity: forms to be filled out, medical and dental exams, inoculations for protection from a variety of diseases, haircuts, swim survival tests-and that's just the first few days.
When the young men and women arrive, they are formed into divisions and assigned a Recruit Division Commander (RDC). For the next eight weeks, the "RDC" will be the person most directly responsible for molding the recruits into Navy men and women. RDCs are Chief Petty Officers or senior Petty Officers specially selected because of their leadership and teaching abilities. They must represent and teach Navy tradition, customs and discipline.
The first three weeks of recruit training are the toughest. The work load is heavy and the recruits must adjust to a completely new way of life. Classroom instruction, military drill, physical fitness training, and instruction by the Recruit Division Commander leave the recruit little free time. During the third week, divisions enter into the competitive aspect of training. Excellence in academic achievement, military drill, cleanliness and athletics all count toward earning honor flags. The competition encourages teamwork and develops pride in achievement.
In addition to normal classroom instruction periods, the recruits may spend hours in the "field" learning fundamentals of ordnance and gunnery, seamanship, swimming, water survival, and fire-fighting. Three drill halls provide space for practice in competitive military drill and physical fitness training. Near the end of basic training, recruits undergo a final evaluation called, "Battle Stations."
Recruits live in 1000-bed barracks and eat at the recruit galleys. Staff members live in staff barracks, base housing and in surrounding communities.
The Great Lakes Housing Office manages and maintains 329 housing units located on the now closed Army facility at Fort Sheridan, about a 15-minute drive from NTC. Many shopping centers, restaurants, schools, and recreational establishments are available nearby.
Located approximately 20 miles south of Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, there are 189 housing units located in the city of Glenview, the site of the former Naval Air Station. An additional 220 units of new Navy family housing units, including a Housing Office/Community Center building, were completed in 1998.
Great Lakes is also home to the Navy Region Midwest.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Naval Support Activity New Orleans, LA. As a result, it recommended to consolidate the Navy Reserve Command's installation management function with Navy Region midwest at Naval Station Great Lakes and two other installations. The consolidation of the Navy Reserve Command installation management functions with other Navy Regional organizations would be part of the Department of the Navy efforts to streamline regional management structure and to institute consistent business practices.
DoD also recommended to consolidate Naval Facilities Engineering Field Division South, Charleston, SC, with Naval Facilities Engineering Field Activity Southeast at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Facilities Midwest at Naval Station Great Lakes, IL and Naval Facilities Atlantic at Naval Station Norfolk, VA. This recommendation would enhance the Navy's long-standing initiative to accomplish common management and support on a regionalized basis by consolidating and collocating Naval Facilities commands with the installation management Region at the above sites. This relocation would also achieve savings by moving from leased space to government-owned space. Naval Facilities Engineering Command would undergo organizational transformation; this recommendation would facilitate the evolution of organizational alignment and would increase the average military value of each Engineering facility. Environmentally, Naval Station Great Lakes, IL was in Severe Non-Attainment for Ozone (1-Hour) and Moderate Non-Attainment for Ozone (8-Hour), but an Air Conformity Determination would not required.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign NAS Corpus Christi, TX by consolidating Navy Region South with Navy Region Midwest at Naval Station Great Lakes and Navy Region Southeast at Naval Station Jacksonville, FL. In conjunction with other recommendations that would consolidate Navy Region Commands, this recommendation would reduce the number of Installation Management regions from twelve to eight, streamlining the regional management structure and allowing for opportunities to collocate other regional entities to further align management concepts and efficiencies. Consolidating Navy Regions would allow for more consistency in span of responsibility and would better enable Commander, Navy Installations, a position this recommendation would help to create, to provide operational forces support, community support, base support, and mission support to enhance the Navy's combat power.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, TX, by consolidating Navy Reserve Readiness Command South with Naval Reserve Readiness Command Midwest at Naval Station Great Lakes. This recommendation would enhance the Navy's long-standing initiative to accomplish common management and support on a regionalized basis, by consolidating and collocating reserve readiness commands with the installation management Regions. This collocation would also align management concepts and efficiencies and would ensure a reserve voice at each region as well as enablle future savings through consolidation of like functions. This recommendation would result in an increase in the average military value for the remaining Naval Reserve Readiness Commands and would ensure that each of the installation management Regions had an organization to manage reserve matters within the region. Environmental concerns regarding this realignment were identical to those mentioned above.
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