Battle Stations

Battle Stations-21 (BST) is the final test for the recruits and is a 12 hour evaluation program with 17 ship board scenarios from missile attacks that can cause fires to flooding caused by exploding undersea mines. Recruits also stand watches on the bridge and are tasked with engineering scenarios, lookout scenarios, and mass casualty drills. Battle Stations-21 is conducted several times a week, at night, on board USS Trayer (BST 21), a 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator that is named after the first chief petty officer to train and graduate recruits at Great Lakes. BST begins around 8:00 pm CST and ends the next morning. Throughout the various scenarios, recruits are evaluated and graded not only as individuals, but also as teams and as an entire division. The morning that a recruit passes Battle Stations-21, s/he attends a capping ceremony around 8:20 or so that lasts about 20-30 minutes where s/he removes his/her “RECRUIT” ball cap and replaces it with a “NAVY” ball cap, which signals to the world that s/he is a US Navy Sailor!

One to four divisions participate in Battle Stations-21 at one time. Brother divisions go through together. The 900 and 800 divisions go through BST randomly, unless there are two 900 or two 800 divisions in the group. Sometimes two sets of brother divisions go together; sometimes a set of brother divisions goes with the 800 and/or 900 division/s. Occasionally only one set of brother divisions goes through. The 900 division may go through alone. They start with the lowest-numbered divisions and move up—not including the 800/900 in that sequence. The 900 divisions usually go through BST early in the week since they need additional time to practice for PIR. BST can start on Wednesday or Thursday, a week before PIR, but will usually take place the week of PIR unless PIR is not on Friday. They do not go on Friday or Saturday nights because of the weekend and Captains Cup (a fun athletic competition between the divisions in that TG) on Saturday. Then they can resume on Sunday-Wednesday nights, depending on how large the PIR group is and how many of those nights they will need. If your recruit reveals the dates of BST, do not post that information anywhere on the web; instead PM that info to those within your PIR group, so that others can be prepared for their calls as well.

The “I’m a Sailor!” calls can come 1 to 10 days prior to PIR on a weekday, but most often come the week of PIR, and usually start around 2 pm Central Time and can come as late as around 8 pm Central Time, but can come earlier or later depending on when the RDC is able to schedule the phone banks. Therefore, it is best to have your phone close by all day. When your Sailor makes that call, s/he will most likely be very tired since s/he will have been up since 5 am the previous day and won’t make it into his/her rack until between 8 and 10 pm that night, but you and your Sailor will be very proud and very happy. Please ask your Sailor if everyone in his/her division passed and post that within your PIR group. Some new Sailors may not get to make their calls until later if they have watch, a medical appointment, or other reason, so it would be nice for those loved ones to know that they have a Sailor instead of having to wait a day or two for that call. (My call came in the evening on the Thursday before PIR as we were driving up to GL.) There have been some recruits and even a whole division at least once that did not make the “I’m a Sailor!” calls. If you do not receive a call, don’t worry, everything is fine. Those who will not have PIR do make a call to let their loved ones know that there is a problem, so “No news is good news.”