(Media release from the US Navy’s Office of Community Outreach):
Sailors are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to Navy officials, and at Recruit Training Command (RTC), otherwise known as “boot camp,” these skills are taught by hard-charging, Navy professionals who transforms civilians into disciplined, qualified U.S Navy sailors.
Seaman Walter Bohannon, a native of Calhoun, Georgia, recently graduated from RTC, and will be learning the necessary skills needed to be a special warfare operator.
A special warfare operator is responsible for performing a multitude of duties in support of special operations missions and operates on, under and from the sea, in the air and on land.
Bohannon, a 2021 Sonoraville High School graduate, joined the Navy three months ago.
“I joined for the educational opportunities, to travel and see the world, and to be a part of a brotherhood community,” said Bohannon.
According to Bohannon, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Calhoun.
“Being on a wrestling team gave me the mental fortitude to never give up,” said Bohannon.
After “boot camp,” students attend advanced technical schools where they are taught the basic technical knowledge and skills required to be successful in their new careers.
In 1994, RTC Great Lakes became the Navy’s only recruit training facility. The mission of RTC is to transform civilians into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Sailors who are ready for follow-on training and service to the fleet while instilling in them the highest standards of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Recruit training involves a change in the mental and physical capacity of the new recruit, according Navy officials. From the first day at RTC through graduation day when new sailors board the bus to depart, recruits find themselves in a whirl of activity. Every recruit entering the Navy today will remember RTC as their introduction to Navy life.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Their basic training curriculum is comprised of five core competencies: firefighting & damage control, seamanship, watch standing, and physical fitness. Through a hands-on learning approach, recruits ‘train how they fight’ and receive critical warfighting skills during the sailor development process. The command consists of more than 1,100 staff members, with an average of 6,000 recruits in training at any time.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
Serving in the Navy means Bohannon is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy controls the water with both exports and imports,” said Bohannon. “Without control of our waters, you cannot have effective fleets around the world.”
As Bohannon and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“I love that our country gives us the privilege to make our own choices,” added Bohannon. “I know as I’m fighting for my country, my family is safe back home.”