Story Number: NNS140806-14Release Date: 8/6/2014 1:33:00 PM
By Scott A. Thornbloom, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs Office
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) hosted 10 interns from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Parliament on Naval Station Great Lakes August 4.
The visit was part of a cultural exchange between college student interns from the ROK Parliament and the United States Congress.
"The Korean and American students participating in this cultural exchange have an unmatched opportunity to learn about history, politics and economics, as well as the important friendship between our nations," said U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who has been a congressional sponsor of the exchange program since 2003. "Their visit to Naval Station Great Lakes gives these students unique insight into the U.S. Military and the important military cooperation between our two countries."
The group started their tour at the Navy's only boot camp, Recruit Training Command (RTC). They were shown many of the training facilities and barracks, also known as ships, that recruits call home during their eight weeks of training on RTC.
"It was all quite interesting," said intern A Reum Cho, a political science student at Sung Kyun Kwan University in Seoul. "I was told it's rare people are allowed to visit and see the inside of the Navy. I found the mixture of the cutting edge of technology with the spirit and camaraderie of the Sailors the driving force of the United States Navy and why America is strong and secure to protect itself and provide service for other countries' protection."
The interns were also shown how recruits put to use what they have learned at RTC with a visit to USS Trayer (BST 21) and learning about Battle Stations.
Trayer is a 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator that was built inside a warehouse behind RTC's headquarters building, USS Iowa, in 2006 and was commissioned in June of 2007. Trayer is where recruits go through Battle Stations, a grueling 12-hour culmination of basic training and the last evolution recruits accomplish before they graduate from boot camp.
"I knew the U.S. Navy goes through intense training but I didn't know there were ships inside buildings to use in their training. That was the most interesting thing for me along with all the different technologies they use in their training," said Jin Young Kim, another ROK Parliament intern and political science student at Sung Kyun Kwan University.
Following their tour through Trayer the group then visited the largest building on RTC, the 173,000 square-foot three-story Freedom Hall Physical Fitness facility. Freedom Hall is where recruits train and take their three Physical Fitness Assessments (PFAs) during boot camp.
After Freedom Hall the interns walked across the street to the USS Missouri Small Arms Marksmanship Trainer (SAMT). While there they had the opportunity to see how recruits learn to handle and fire the Navy's standard issue M9 Beretta pistol and the Mossberg 500 shotgun. SAMT uses red laser lights and pneumatic air to simulate the firing and hits on a computer target. After the day of qualifying at SAMT, recruits then go next door to live-fire the weapons at the USS Wisconsin indoor range.
Following their time at SAMT, the interns were taken to The Golden 13 In-processing Center. Golden 13 is named after the first 13 African-American naval officers and where all recruits begin their Navy career.
The group then traveled to Training Support Center (TSC) on Naval Station Great Lakes to view more specialized training for the particular job a Sailor may be assigned in the Navy. They visited the USS Whitehat line-handling trainer for future Boatswain's Mates and the Operations Specialist/Quartermaster (OS/QM) A School.
At USS Whitehat, a wooden mockup of a ship and second ship in a building the interns visited, the Korean students and parliament representatives were shown how students learn to handle shipboard mooring lines and other deck equipment. The operation of a deck crane, forward anchor chain and refueling station were also shown to the interns.
The interns then crossed the street to observe students at OS/QM school, learning how to read and operate computer systems that track objects and targets. They also were shown that the Navy still teaches navigation and reading of charts that has been part of the Navy since 1775.
The Republic of Korean Parliament interns were scheduled to spend 19 days in the United States while their U. S. Congressional counterparts were doing the same in the Republic of Korea. The interns also spent time in Washington, D.C., Chicago, an overnight stay on a farm in Geneseo, Illinois, a stop in Little Rock, Arkansas, and were scheduled to end their trip in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before returning to the Republic of Korea.
Through the efforts of the U.S. Congress, State Department and Meridian International Center, exchanges between American students, interns and those from foreign countries have taken place for more than 50 years.
Meridian is a non-profit organization that promotes international understanding through professional exchange, educational and arts programs. They work with the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies worldwide to create lasting international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges. Through this partnership, Meridian has conducted exchange programs for more than 65,000 foreign professionals over the last 50 years and organized cultural exhibitions to 357 host venues in 44 U.S. states and 55 countries.
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC, which includes Recruit Training Command, trains more than 37,000 volunteer civilian recruits that are transformed into basically trained Sailors.