Sunday, September 28, 2014

MC Perspective: How to survive Recruit Training Command (aka Navy boot camp)

SN Andrew Murray...selfie.

I make it a habit to hound recent boot camp graduates for their thoughts and advice for future campers.  Seaman Andrew Murray, 23, and Seaman Rachel Rakoff, 26, are fresh from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes.


What was the most challenging part of boot camp?

MURRAY:  I realized a couple months before shipping out that my legs did not float. At all. From that day forward, I spent several hours a week in the pool, practicing my prone float. That part of the swim test turned out to be much easier than I'd anticipated, and I would've been fine without the practice. What actually turned out to be the toughest part was P-days, or processing. The first week or so of boot camp is full of paperwork, shots, sitting and standing. Mostly sitting and standing. All this idle time coupled with the culture shock of it all really sent me for a loop.

"The first couple days, I asked myself several times 
what the hell I was doing there."

Had I made a huge, 5-year mistake? The feeling passed within the week and boot camp turned out to be kind of fun...maybe.

RAKOFF:  My biggest challenge at boot camp was trying to get along with, and take care of, the kids who struggled with things like rack making, proper folding and stowing.  I can only do so much to fix someone else. Wait, I lied: my biggest challenge was staying out of the drama and fights that will happen daily if you live with others in close quarters. It's unavoidable. Related advice: please, for the love of all that is holy - don't feel the need to have the last word. It's boot camp. It is not worth your anger or your time. Know when not to pick a fight over dumb things.

SN Rachel Rakoff, center...selfie.

What advice would you give to a Sailor headed to Recruit Training Command?

MURRAY:  As much as you can, prepare to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is, I think, the most important skill I learned in boot camp. From living with 80+ people in one big room, to showering with 20 of those 80 people every day, to waking up in the dead of night for a two-hour watch, boot camp is about sucking it up and adapting.

"If you come in ready to take things as they come, 
you'll be much better off."

RAKOFF:  Don't panic about haircuts. Seriously, it's not worth it. I panicked before I left, because I was so afraid I would hate having to work out without being able to put my hair back. Honestly, it’s easier than I thought it would be. Some RDCs allow you to use bobby pins, and some don’t. Mine never did, but I managed. I would highly advise getting it done before you get there, and get it cut short enough so they never have to cut it while you’re there, because the barbers there will jack up your haircut. I promise you, it’s not that bad. 

Don't stress out about group showers. Yes, you will shower in a medium-sized room with 80 other girls around two poles with roughly six showerheads (presuming they all work). I’ve been self-conscious all my life, and I survived. The first chance we had to shower, we’d been awake for about 40 hours and we smelled horrific. I stripped down and jumped in without any shame. There’s no sense in trying to cover up and be modest – just jump in. You’ll have to do it anyway, may as well get in the shower while everyone else is too scared to be undressed in front of everyone else. It means you’ll get in and out first.

"Learn to shower quickly. Boot camp is no place 
to be high maintenance. It’s just not worth it."

The first night you get there and you get issued some of your gear, don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t fit. Especially sports bras, because you will be living in them - and that includes sleeping in them. You will not get yelled at, and it will only make you miserable if you don’t take care of it then. If you wait until later, your RDCs will get mad and ask why you didn’t speak up during first issue. The same thing goes for when you get your boots fitted.

Learn your ranks and recognition and 11 orders of a sentry prior to getting there. You'll have to learn them there anyway but if you already know it, especially ranks, you will have more time to sleep and less stress.  I can't emphasize that enough. 


I AM YOUR EYES:  Big ups to both of you!  I know you're busy with school...we really appreciate the great gouge. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MC Perspective: Student life and...Harry Potter?

We all know my favorite thing is when other MCs do my work for me.  Well I just accidentally came across these photos on a current 'A' school student's Facebook page.  I'm very happy that MCSA Gabriel Kotico is taking great photos AND adding interesting captions.  I'm not happy no one told me about these, and I found them on accident.  ;)

'A' school life is solid gold to my readers!

Day 32 August 5, 2014 | Quidditch Det Cup

It's Harry Potter Week at the Navy detachment and today we played Quidditch. I'm not in a house, so I played as the Golden Snitch. I switched off and shot some photos. Sports photography is HARD. Fake-sports photography is near impossible! My action shots were pretty bad so here's a group photo.

I Am Your Eyes:  We want a video of this don't we readers?

Day 42 August 15, 2014 | Nickels, Dimes and Afternoon Quarters

With Class 040 moving on, new Sailors need to step up and fill the leadership positions. Here are some of the newest section leaders reciting the Sailor's Creed to conclude afternoon quarters.

Day 52 August 25, 2014 | Gooooood Morning, Navy!

One thing that I did honestly enjoy (most of the time at least) was marching. During "A" school, we march to the school house every morning and conclude our trip there with the Morning Motivation, or Morning Moto. This is supposed to get us motivated for the rest of the day, show our Navy pride , and teach the other branches who really is the best.

Day 55 August 28, 2014 | Earn Your Weekend

Today marked the start of Labor Day weekend but before that all the "A" schoolers had PT with the detachment officer in charge and Chief. They called it the "Earn Your Weekend PT." I wish I would have joined them instead of just take pictures because it looked pretty intense. This picture is showing just the start of the entire workout. Bear crawls uphill, crab walks downhill, burpees, running, and a whole lot more. Next time I'll definitely join in.

MCSA Gabriel Kotico

(Looking forward to a HART group photo.)