GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Aug. 10, 2012) Recruits perform with a ceremonial honor guard unit as part of pass in review ceremonies at Recruit Training Command, the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy Photo by Lt.j. Liza Swart/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Jan. 9, 2012) Operations Specialist 1st Class Savanna Rogers, a Recruit Division Commander at the Golden 13 Recruit In-Processing Center at Recruit Training Command (RTC), instructs new recruits where to go after getting off a bus during Night of Arrival. More than 300 new recruits arrived at Golden 13, named after the first 13 African American Navy officers, to begin their Navy careers and training at RTC, the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Jan. 9, 2012) Navy recruits call their families in the Golden 13 Recruit In-Processing Center at Recruit Training Command (RTC) during Night of Arrival. The phone call home lets family members know the new recruits have made it safely to RTC. . (U.S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)
Yep I guess this is what Great Lakes..aka Great Mistakes looks like now..ahh the first night in boot camp.. such fun..There sure were no girls there when I went to boot camp in '71. In fact the USN had three locations for Boot Camp. San Diego, Orlando & Great Lakes. The females went to Orlando. That's right Orlando FL. That base was open from 1968 to 1995.
When I joined we got sworn in at the Federal building in Cincinnati OH. My pops was there to see me off. They loaded us on a "short bus" an took us to the airport. We had been told when we get to Chicago report to the USO(I think) and they would tell us what to do. We got there did as told and were informed to wait and the next bus to Great Lakes did not leave for a few more hours. So they told us where to hang out and gave us each a $10 food voucher good at certain restaurants at O'Hare. The food was great by 1971 standards to a black kid from the Avondale ghetto in Cincinnati.
After a few hours ...finally we got on the bus. Made it to Great Lakes and I was surprised that no senior persons were yelling at us when we arrived. It was just another recruit doing "service week" But we did not know. It was late..they gave us uniforms..bedded us down in an old barracks. We heard all kinds of wild stories about what was going to happen to us. None turned out to be true except The barracks we stayed in was just temporary. The next day it was haircuts and an alleged physical and swim test. Finally on the third day we were sent over to RTC to an much nicer barracks. I remember being given the "General orders of a Sentry" and having to memorize that bad boy. I remember staying up and memorizing by the light shining in the barracks. I was never asked to recite a single one!
The main thing I remember about Boot Camp was those huge drill halls and having to sing Anchors Aweigh as we marched through this tunnel that divide RTC from NTC. Another thing was is that I caught pneumonia and spent 4 days in the hospital. Most times when that happens you set ASMOED..administratively reassigned..set back in other words. Not popeye. My company commander gave me the answers for the test we had to take that week to move the next week and I with my fantastic memory memorized the test and passed. In fact I deliberately blew two question to make it look real.
Another thing I remember was that in the chow hall they had ice cream, a local Chicago brand, in these little blocks and you could eat as much as you liked!
And..Once myself and others were sent to NAS Glenview for an eyesight exam to be an air traffic controller. Some SEABEES drove us and bought us some beer to consume during the trip back to NTC/RTC.. They stopped in front of someones house to toss the beer cans in their trash cans but bumped into a tree as they sped off. Dunno how they explained that. By the way those SEABEEs drank over to the NAS and on the way back. Those SEABEEs were on medical hold at the Naval Hospital.
Boot camp was nine weeks long. And when you are there it seems so much longer than that. Especially when you are 17-18 years old..Oh yeah I had my 18th birthday in boot camp.