Navy boot camp suspends guest attendance for graduation ceremonies due to coronavirus


A performance division recruit flourishes the American flag during a pass-in-review graduation ceremony Jan. 31, 2020 at Recruit Training Command. More than 35,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.(Photo courtesy/U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brandie Nix)

NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill. (WAVY) — The U.S. Navy’s only boot camp for new recruits is suspending in-person guest attendance for graduation ceremonies until further notice due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, posted a notice Monday saying the boot camp will suspend guest attendance at the ceremonies starting Friday, March 13.

RTC hopes suspending guest attendance will help avoid any potential spread of the coronavirus to either sailors or their families.

Guests can still watch the graduations online, which will be livestreamed. They will also be streamed on Facebook.

The Naval Service Training Command will continue to monitor the coronavirus to see when it’s “appropriate” to begin allowing guests at the ceremonies again.

“This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution, to both ensure the welfare of Sailors and that RTC can continue its essential mission of producing basically trained Sailors. RTC Recruits impacted by this change are being authorized to call home to directly inform their loved ones,” the notice reads.

Liberty is also canceled for graduates of RTC. The new sailors will be required to report directly to their new assignments.

“Liberty or guest access at those locations will be at the discretion of those commands. Families are encouraged to contact their recruits following graduation for details. We cannot speak on behalf of the commands they will be reporting to regarding their liberty policy,” the notice reads.

RTC said there are currently no confirmed coronavirus cases among recruits.

RTC also has a “robust” screening process in place for those arriving each week.

Save for a few select weeks throughout the year, RTC graduates groups of sailors from boot camp weekly.

You can check out the coronavirus tracking map here.

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