Great Lakes

As the fourth week unfolds at Great Lakes, every Navy sailor plays a vital role in maintaining ship integrity.  Week four introduces recruits to damage control and firefighting curriculum. They’ll delve into the science of fire, mastering different fire classes and extinguishing methods. Learning how to don the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and conquering the Confidence Chamber lab are just a few highlights of this critical training.

U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released

Every Sailor is a Firefighter

Aboard the legendary USS Chief; your recruit will be tested by fire—literally! They’ll learn the fundamentals of firefighting, including fire classification, extinguishing methods, and crucial safety procedures, from smoke-filled compartment evacuations to operating watertight doors, utilizing self-contained breathing apparatus, and handling hoses.

Confidence Under Pressure

Next up: The Confidence Chamber – arguably one of the most demanding experiences yet.  Here, recruits will confront simulated biological and chemical threats, learning to utilize protective gear effectively.  Imagine this: they have just 30 seconds to correctly don their gas mask while an instructor ignites a training tear gas tablet!  Withstanding the non-lethal gas, recruits will then remove their mask, answer knowledge questions, and exit the chamber.  This intense training builds confidence and ensures they react swiftly in real-world emergencies.

Becoming a Navy Sailor

Physical fitness continues to be a top priority.  This week, your recruit will be tested during their RDC Assessment Navy Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) – a practice run for the official PT test.  They’ll be evaluated on a 1.5-mile run, timed push-ups, and a plank hold.  A score of “satisfactory-medium” or higher is required for graduation, setting the stage for future PFAs throughout their Navy careers.

Building a Team, Building a Future

Week four signifies a significant shift.  Recruits are acclimating to the rigors of boot camp, forging strong bonds with their shipmates.  Uniform fittings, official Navy photos, and even a visit to the Navy Exchange all contribute to a growing sense of camaraderie.

As you write to your recruit, inquire about their PFA performance and reinforce firefighting knowledge. Ask them what agent they would use to put out a Class Alpha fire.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda S. Kitchner/Released

The Making of Your Sailor

Stay tuned for more insights into Week Five and beyond. Remember, stay informed by visiting the Graduation Access Information Page, which includes links to RTC’s official website and the Navy’s Great Lakes Area Morale Welfare & Recreation (MWR) Page.

That’s a brief look at your recruit’s intense but rewarding journey. Let’s keep supporting them every step of the way!


MCPO Don Garcia, USN (Ret)