GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) – A newly rebranded warfare center celebrates new beginnings by sponsoring a division of Navy’s newest Sailors.
Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific wrapped up its sponsorship of Recruit Training Command’s (RTC) Recruit Division 247 with the graduation of the division’s 49 Sailors at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois July 12, 2019.
“The world is a place that needs people who are willing to serve, and so you honor us with your presence here,” said Bill Bonwit, executive director, NIWC Pacific to the Division on the eve of their graduation. “Thank you very much for everything that you are doing, thank you for serving your country and thank you for representing our Command.”
On Feb. 18, 2019, to demonstrate that information is a fundamental element of warfare and an essential concept of the Navy's Design for Maritime Superiority 2.0, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific officially became NIWC Pacific. A mere three months later, representatives of NIWC Pacific travelled from San Diego to be with the division at RTC Great Lakes for the first of four milestone evolutions throughout the eight-week “boot camp” process, the division’s commissioning ceremony. The three others are the official physical fitness assessment, Battle Stations 21 and the graduation ceremony, known as Pass-in-Review.
“It’s fitting that Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific sponsored Division 247,” said Master Chief Electronics Technician Jason Dupre, Command Master Chief, NIWC Pacific, “because unlike kinetic warfare (bombs and bullets), information warfare is a constantly raging battle being fought 24 hours a day, seven days a week... and we need 24/7 Sailors to fight it.”
At the commissioning ceremony, intended to reflect the heritage and prestige of traditional Navy ship or squadron commissioning ceremonies, the division was presented with the NIWC Pacific flag, which they would march with until graduation. Following the ceremony, NIWC Pacific representatives were given the opportunity to informally address and interact with the recruits, enabling the most beneficial aspects of division sponsorship: encouragement, motivation, and mentorship.
“Stop and consider what your goal is,” said Dupre, “you will need intrinsic fortitude to achieve it… and I want to see all of you at Pass-in-Review.”
Just prior to the official physical fitness assessment (PFA), the next evolution NIWC Pacific personnel travelled to attend, NIWC Pacific Command Fitness Leader, Lt. Jake Johnstone spoke to the recruits of 247 about the impact of the mind on physical performance.
“The human body can handle a lot more fatigue than you think it can,” said Johnstone as he encouraged the recruits to “think positively” and to “find the inspiration you need to clear this hurdle and focus on it.”
Few failed to pass the PFA, which meant 49 recruits made it to and subsequently passed Battle Stations 21, a 12-hour functional exercise onboard the Navy’s largest simulator, USS Trayer (BST-21), a 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator. It is a test of all they learned as recruits and is their final graded evolution. For those who pass, Battle Stations 21 is immediately followed by a capping ceremony in which recruits remove their recruit ball caps and are presented with a new ball cap, one emblazoned with the title they just earned… Sailor.
As a reward, one day prior to Pass-in-Review, the now Sailors were given a pizza social which was attended by NIWC personnel and was again followed by words from, and fellowship with NIWC Pacific personnel.
“Remember what you learned here,” advised Capt. Mel Yokoyama, commanding officer, NIWC Pacific. “Most, if not all of you, grew up in the Digital Age surrounded by smartphones and 24/7 access to the internet. However, always remember that what matters during a fight is a Sailor’s integrity, initiative, and toughness. Your ingenuity and ability to out-think your opponent in this new era of ‘Great Competition’ is what our Fleet needs” he added. “You are the next generation of Information Warriors and we’re looking forward to the great things you will do for our Navy!”