Navy Boot Camp Timeline at a Glance

Navy boot camp recruits
Equipment Operator 1st Class Joseph Sperry introduces himself to new recruits in a berthing compartment at the Navy's only boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois. (Austin Rooney/U.S. Navy)

Read this carefully before you go -- make your life at boot camp as easy as possible by doing the legwork beforehand!

Week 1: In-Processing

Once you arrive, you'll be given Navy-issued clothing and taught the right way to fold and store your new belongings and how to make your bunk. You'll receive complete dental and medical exams, and if you need a haircut, you'll get one.

The first week also will be filled with conditioning, swimming, marching, drilling and, most importantly, attending Navy classes. Everything you do from this point on is designed to prepare you for what lies ahead. You will push your physical limits and achieve higher performance levels than you ever thought possible.

Honor, courage, commitment: Three words that probably held little meaning before boot camp. Here, they're words you'll live by. These Navy core values will become the ideals you and your fellow shipmates live by.

Week 2: Confidence

This is a confidence-building week. You'll go through the confidence course, which is designed to simulate shipboard situations you could encounter in an emergency. Stay sharp because your life and the lives of your fellow shipmates depend on it. Teamwork and confidence are the themes for Week 2.

Week 3: Hands-On

This week, you'll board a land-bound training ship. Everything will be hands-on, something your recruiter told you the Navy is big on. You'll learn everything from ship nomenclature (names) to first-aid techniques to semaphore (signaling with flags). Classroom studies will focus on customs and courtesies, laws of armed conflict, money management, shipboard communication, Navy ship and aircraft identification, and basic seamanship. In Week 3, you will have your first physical training (PT) test.

Week 4: Live Fire

If you've never fired a weapon before, you'll get your chance in Week 4. You will have the opportunity to train with the M16 and a 12-gauge shotgun. When you've proven you know how to use both properly, you'll move to the live-fire range. Graduation pictures are this week, as well as an academic test on everything you've learned to date.

Week 5: Career

This week is all about you -- where you want to go, what you want to do and how fast you intend to get there. Find the shortest distance between where you are and where you want to be. You are more than halfway through basic training; the finish line is in sight. Remember that 180-degree life change your recruiter told you about? It's happening.

Week 6: Fire Safety

The big topics for this week are shipboard damage control and firefighting, two of the most vital skills you'll need on-board a ship. You'll learn many ship safety techniques, such as how to extinguish fires, escape smoke-filled compartments, open and close watertight doors, operate oxygen breathing apparatus and carry fire hoses.

There's another academic test, and perhaps the most challenging of all is the confidence chamber. Inside the chamber, you and about 100 other recruits will line up and put on a gas mask while a tear-gas tablet is lit. You'll be ordered to remove your mask and throw it in a trash can while reciting your full name and Social Security number. Relax. Every sailor before you has mastered it, and so will you. You'll also have to finish the confidence course this week -- as a team.

Week 7: Battle Stations

This is Navy boot camp's ultimate test. Battle stations consist of 12 different scenarios incorporating everything you have learned during the previous weeks. You and your team will be graded on your ability to execute the required tasks. Successful completion nets you the ultimate reward, a U.S. Navy ball cap. This cap tells the world you're no longer a recruit but a full-fledged Navy sailor. All that is left is graduation

Week 8: Graduation

You made it! Don your dress uniform and get ready for graduation. You are a sailor in the U.S. Navy. After today, your family and friends will envy you. Strangers on the street will thank you. Your Navy family always will have your back. Savor this moment. Not everybody makes it; not everybody should.

The Core Values of the Navy

Honor: When we say "bear true faith and allegiance," we are promising to:

  • Conduct ourselves in the highest ethical manner in all relationships
  • Deal honestly and truthfully with others
  • Make honest recommendations and accept those junior to us
  • Encourage new ideas and deliver the bad news, even when it is unpopular
  • Abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking responsibility for our actions and keeping our word
  • Fulfill or exceed our legal and ethical responsibilities in our public and personal lives 24 hours a day
  • Be mindful of the privilege to serve our fellow Americans

Courage: When we say "support and defend," we are promising to:

  • Meet the demands of our profession and the mission when it is hazardous, demanding or otherwise difficult
  • Make decisions in the best interest of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences
  • Meet all challenges while adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct and decency
  • Be loyal to our nation, ensuring the resources entrusted to us are used in an honest, careful and efficient way
  • Have the moral and mental strength to do what is right, even in the face of personal or professional adversity

Commitment: When we say "obey the orders," we are promising to:

  • Demand respect up and down the chain of command
  • Care for the safety, professional, personal and spiritual well-being of the people entrusted to us
  • Show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender
  • Treat each individual with human dignity
  • Be committed to positive change and constant improvement
  • Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, technical excellence, quality and competence in what we have been trained to do
  • Work together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves

Interested in Joining the Military?

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