Bainbridge NTC Boot Camp History

Main Entrance to the Bainbridge USNTC ca early 1950s

Main Entrance to the Bainbridge USNTC ca early 1950s
GGA Image ID # 9646781f16

President Roosevelt named the Training Center "Bainbridge" for Commodore William Bainbridge, commander of the famous frigate "CONSTITUTION" which was immortalized in the poem "Old Ironsides".

In naming the Center for Commodore Bainbridge the President, it is understood, credited him as a founder of the first Naval Training School, and expressed the wish that the standards first established by the Commodore would be carried on by the activity bearing his name. There is no question that Bainbridge has more than lived up to President Roosevelt's wish.

The Bainbridge Training Center was first activated on October I, 1942, and ten days later was in operation training the newly arrived recruits. At the conclusion of hostilities on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, the Recruit Training Command had trained a total of 244,277 recruits to man the ships and far flung bases of our wartime Navy. In addition, the Service School Command had trained and graduated 24,484 men in technical ratings.

From August 1945 to June 1947 the training activities of the Center decreased due to post-war conditions and the eventual reduction in the strength of the Navy.

On June 30, 1947 Bainbridge was deactivated as a Training Center, although the Naval Preparatory School continued to operate until it was transferred to Newport, R. I. in October of 1949.

Bainbridge, then, became a "ghost town" staffed with only a small Administrative and Security Unit to protect the buildings from fire and the ever-mounting ravages of time and weather.

In the summer of 1950, when the KOREAN crisis once more made it evident that a large Navy is vital to our nation's defense, plans were formulated to reactivate the Bainbridge Training Center to provide the needed input of trained men to man our rapidly expanding fleet and shore bases.

Accordingly, on February I, 1951, the U.S. Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland was reactivated and Captain Robert Hall Smith, U.S.N, assumed command of the Center in a brief but impressive ceremony.

The Center Commander and his small staff of officers and men found the vast Center to be in a pathetic state of disrepair. The temporary buildings in particular, long unused and unheated, were in need of extensive repairs, replacement items, and refurbishment.

A contract to restore these buildings, and the areas in general, to their former use was awarded to the Consolidated Engineering Company of Baltimore, and soon large crews of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and hundreds of other craftsmen and helpers were busily engaged in the rehabilitation work.

In the succeeding weeks the progress of rehabilitation was so rapid that the target date for the commencement of recruit training was moved ahead, and on April 5, 1951 the first recruits reported aboard for training.

The original input of 500 recruits per week was soon stepped up to 1000 per week and continued at that rate. On June 23, 1951 approximately 500 recruits completed their eleven week course of basic training. Every week thereafter the number of recruits completing their training are in direct proportion to the current scheduled weekly input.

The U.S. Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, under the command of the Center Commander, actually consists of four subordinate activities, each under a Commanding Officer. These activities are: The U.S. Naval Administrative Command, the Recruit Training Command, the Service School Command, and the U.S. Naval Hospital.

The Administrative Command serves as the staff of the Center Commander in his direction and administration of the other subordinate commands, and performs for him all the administrative, operational and logistic functions not specifically assigned to other commands.

These various functions include security, fire protection, supply, disbursing, commissary, Navy Exchange, personnel and religious administration, medical and dental care, maintenance and repair, transportation, communications and other vital services essential to the efficient and effective operation of a community totaling approximately 35,000 persons.

A component activity of the Administrative Command is the Dental Technicians School whose mission is to provide recruits and fleet personnel with the technical knowledge and training required to develop dental technicians for duty with the fleet and shore based forces.

The Recruit Training Command, the largest of the four subordinate commands, is responsible for the administration of the Recruit Basic Training Program the principles of which are to guide the recruit in the transition from civilian to military life; to introduce him to naval customs, traditions, discipline and esprit de corps; and, by intensive training and schooling, to fit him for naval service.

The facilities of the Recruit Training Command consist of four large Camps each named after famous naval heroes —Rodgers, Perry, James, and Barney. Each Camp is an entity in itself—with its own great drill hall, swimming pool, rifle range, mess hall, drill field, classrooms, barracks, and recreational facilities—and has the capacity to berth, mess and train a regiment of 5,000 population.

Three of the Camps are used to train regular male recruits to the maximum total capacity of 15,000 men. The fourth Camp contains special facilities for training male recruits attached to the Recruit Preparatory Training Unit, and for male reserve recruits ordered to active training duty for a period of two weeks.

The fourth Camp also contains the only WAVE Recruit Training School in the Navy; which school, previously located at the U. S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, was established at Bainbridge in October of 1951.

The Service School Command, the third major activity, provides further training to recruits and fleet personnel in the technical knowledge of ratings required by the operating forces, and prepares them for more advanced education and training in such special fields as gunnery, fire control, radio and other technical subjects.

A component activity of the Service School Command is the United States Naval Preparatory School which, during the Fall and Winter months prepares enlisted men from all branches of the Armed Forces for entrance examination to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

During the Summer months this School also trains and selects enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps for entrance in the following Fall to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program at a college or university of their own choice. The total student capacity of the Service School Command is approximately 4,000 men.

The fourth and last major subordinate activity is the U. S. Naval Hospital, a separate and detached command. The Hospital provides medical and surgical facilities for the proper care of all recruits, students, and permanently assigned naval personnel of the Center and their dependents.

Now established as a 500-bed hospital, the capacity can and will be expanded if necessary to 1,500 or 2,000 beds. Operating in conjunction with the Hospital is the Hospital Corps School, with about 1,200 students, whose function is to provide the technical knowledge and training necessary to develop these young men into Hospital Corpsmen for duty with the fleet and shore based forces.

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