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Navy boot camp just got longer

Miguel Ortiz Avatar
Chief Hospital Corpsman Jaime Kalaw, a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, disciplines a new recruit during "Night of Arrival" at the Navy's only Boot Camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Austin Rooney/Released)

In December 2021, the Navy announced that future sailors would experience a longer boot camp to better prepare them for naval life. On January 3, 2022, this change was put into effect. Navy recruits will now complete 10 weeks of boot camp compared to the old standard of eight weeks.

RTC at Great Lakes is the Navy’s only boot camp (U.S. Navy)

The additional two weeks of Basic Military Training at Recruit Training Command aboard Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, the Navy’s only boot camp, includes the new “Sailor for Life” module. Targeting the conversion of recruits from civilians to sailors, “Sailor for Life” is geared towards setting new sailors up for success in their lives after boot camp. “Identity transformation in eight weeks is a lot to ask,” Fleet Master Chief Wes Koshoffer told reporters. “We know that habit change, lifestyle change, developing toughness, resilience, forging character, are processes that take time … that two weeks really makes the difference.”

Great Lakes forges civilians into sailors (U.S. Navy)

Following the established eight weeks of boot camp, recruits will become sailors but remain at Great Lakes to reinforce the lessons they learned in training. Sailors will be provided with additional resources and training focused on the fleet and their success in it. “Our ships, submarines, aircraft and other fleet units have got a lot on their plate and they do not have the time to do basic training,” Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture, Commander of Naval Service Training Command, said to reporters. “That’s my job to do basic training.”

Recruits are prepared both mentally and physically for naval service (U.S. Navy)

Moreover, “Sailor for Life” also includes a life skills curriculum. It covers topics like sexual harassment and assault prevention training, suicide prevention training, anti-hazing training, organizational skills, financial management, and time management. Sailors will also be taught how to conduct a permanent change of station move, techniques for living aboard ship, and higher education opportunities available to them. This additional education aims to better equip sailors for the daily challenges of life in the Navy and provide them with the tools to be successful.

Upon graduation, recruits earn the title of sailor (U.S. Navy)

With the introduction of “Sailor for Life,” the Navy aims to enable the fleet with capable and adaptive sailors prepared for service and life. By teaching important skills at boot camp, the Navy allows leaders in the fleet to focus shipboard training on specific jobs rather than life lessons like not buying a car from the used car lot off base at 25% interest.