Navy Boot Camp Intro

Navy Boot Camp Instructional Training

Once you enlist in the Navy, you'll be headed off to 8 weeks of Navy Boot Camp. Like the Air Force, there is only one location in the country that turns civilians into sailors - the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, which is located about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

Unlike most other services, however, Navy Boot Camp takes place mostly indoors. You'll do almost everything, from drill to the confidence course to firing shotguns and pistols inside. Indoors doesn't mean easy, though, the Navy is probably the most classroom-intensive basic training course, with lots to learn and lots of tests to take.

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Try to learn as much as you possibly can before you leave - things like Navy ratings and rank, the Navy Core Values, the 11 General Orders for a Sentry, the Navy Chain of Command, the phonetic alphabet, are all relatively easy to learn on your own. The more you know before you leave, the less you have to learn in the classroom!

In addition to getting into shape before you leave, try to know how to swim! It seems obvious (especially if you're joining the Navy), but if you are unable to pass the swim test given when you first arrive, you'll require some extra attention. One thing you'll learn quickly in Navy Boot Camp is that extra attention is usually something that is best avoided!

Navy Boot Camp: Week by Week

If all goes according to plan, you'll be at the Navy's Great Lakes Naval Training Center for about 9 weeks for boot camp. Here is what you can expect to be doing during each of those weeks!

Week 0: Your first week! This week is focused on personnel processing, and is known as "P-Week". During this week you'll be issued Navy clothing, (unlike other branches, the Navy won't hold on to your civilian clothes - you can mail them home or donate them, so pack light!), get a haircut, receive medical exams, be shown how to make your bunk and fold your new clothes. You'll also learn about "Standing Watches", basically the Navy's version of a night guard - don't fall asleep while standing watch, or unpleasant things happen!

During this week you'll also meet your Recruit Division Commanders (basically the Navy's version of Drill Sergeants). Remember to never address them as "Sir" or "Ma'am", but always use their rank - or they will inform you of your mistake!

The RDC will also recruit leaders, known as "Recruit Petty Officers". These recruits are in charge of maintaining good order and ensuring discipline and security within their respective division.

Week 1: Now that Boot Camp "officially" has begun, the intensity is ramped up. During this week you'll take your initial swimming qualification, do lots of conditioning, drilling, marching, and swimming, and also attend hours of Navy classes.

Week 2: In addition to the normal assortment of drills, fitness, and classes, this week you'll also go through the Navy's confidence course. This course is designed to simulate various emergency conditions you could encounter aboard a ship. Teamwork is essential - remember, your lives depend upon each other! You'll also take your first written test over everything you've learned.

Week 3: Hands-on training is a big part of this week! You'll board a land-bound training ship (yes, that's a thing) and learn Navy nomenclature, semaphore, first aid, line handling, and basic seamanship. In the classroom, you'll also be learning about the laws of armed conflict, ship and aircraft identification, Customs and Courtesies, and communicating aboard a ship. You'll also take another written test at the end of the week.

Week 4: This week the big hurdle is the Navy PT test - consisting of sit-reach, curl-ups, push-ups, and running and/or swimming. The Navy is the only branch to test for flexibility - basically you must, from a sitting position with the legs together, touch your toes for at least 1 second.

This week you'll also get graduation pictures made, and pick up your dress uniforms.

Week 5: During this week you start getting to know both the M-9 service pistol and the Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun. You'll also get classroom instruction in anti-terrorism and force protection topics - both to protect the ship and yourself from being an easy target. Computer classes on the Navy Knowledge Online website are also part of this week.

Week 6: You learn one of the most important skills this week - fire fighting and damage control. When you're aboard a ship, fires are incredibly dangerous - pay close attention to this topic! This week is also the week for the Gas Chamber (make sure to eat light that day!) and firing both the M-9 and 12-gauge shotgun. You'll also do the Confidence Course (remember Week 2?) again.

Week 7: During this week you'll get classroom instruction in uniform and grooming standards, dependent care, and you'll go through Battle Stations. Battle Stations is 12-hour long hand-on exercise over almost everything you've learned during Boot Camp. Fire fighting, damage control, survival swimming, teamwork - it's all covered! You'll also take another written test.

Week 8: Almost there! Assuming you've passed everything so far, the final week is mostly just out-processing, practicing for the final pass-in-review during graduation, and a little classroom instruction in career advancement. You'll also likely do a little PT - the RDC's are about to leave you alone forever, so they have to have their fun while they still can!

Graduation is usually held on either a Thursday or Friday - once that's done you'll usually get a weekend off "on Libery" and continue on to A School or a direct assignment.