Navy Knowledge World War II NAVY BOOT CAMPS




At the beginning of World War II the United States Navy had four Boot Camps at San Diego, CA; Bainbridge, MD; Newport, RI; and Great Lakes, IL. During the war they added three more camps at Norfolk, VA; Sampson, NY; and Farragut, ID.

Items Issued to an Enlisted Man In Boot Camp On entering Boot Camp during the World War II era, besides getting his shots and a buzz haircut, a Navy recruit discarded his civilian attire and possessions. He boxed his shirt, underwear, and pegged pants and shipped them home. Then after he stood shivering in the nude in a large room with hundreds of other young men, Navy Supply Clerks tossed at him the uniforms and other gear he would use during his period of enlistment. They piled on his arms uniforms, with little attention to size, that the recruit learned wear, not always the proper way at first. The Navy then gave him his sleeping gear. In the tradition of the old navy they issued him a hammock with a mattress, two mattress covers (sailors called them fart sacks), one pillow, two pillow covers, and two blankets. The Boot needed a place to store these items, so one of the first items issued to him was his Sea Bag. This cylindrical canvas sack of 26" x 36" had grommets on top through which the man wove a line to use as a draw string to close the bag and to hang it from a rack. As with everything else he got, he stenciled his name on the side of the bag. This bag was his and his only. It was his entire and unique identity as an individual among the mass of other men. When traveling, a sailor rolled his mattress and sleeping gear inside the hammock which he then wrapped around and secured to his sea bag. This pack he slung up on a shoulder and marched off with all he owned. Before rolling his mattress, however, a sailor laid out his bedding items on the flattened mattress in a specific order according to regulations.

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The order was not arbitrary. It came from much experience and resulted in a compact package when rolled. Sailors did not just stuff their clothing into their sea bag. It had to be prepared first according to regulations and then inserted in a particular order. This procedure insured first that the clothing would take up a minimum of space so it would all fit in the sea bag. Secondly by rolling items and tying them they tended to have fewer wrinkles when unrolled. The manner in which a Bootís clothing was prepared was not only regulation but practical.

Then the Navy issued the Boot his bible,The Bluejacketsí Manual. This book contained all the Boot would need to know to become a sailor and handle himself like one at his future stations either ashore or afloat. Training Program In Boot Camp Up and at em, drop em and grab em, fire drill, scrub down that deck, inspection, move it Boot. Now. I ainít your mommy asking you. Itís me. Iím telling you.

These and other commands the Chief Petty Officer assigned to a Boot company shouted mostly in the middle of the night after a hard, tiring, long, ten hour day of marching, calisthenics, scrubbing clothes, rifle-over-your-head drills, pulling oars in a boat, loading heavy shells in a 5" gun, and other training activities. The obvious reason for harassing the Boots was to get them accustomed to discipline, to respond to disagreeable orders, to function with little sleep, and probably to give the Chief his kicks, Whatever. It worked.

wwii navy boot camps graduation

World War II Navy Boot Camps ground out thousands of sailors well enough trained to go aboard ships and win the war. Boot Camp training lasted about six weeks plus or minus a couple depending on the Navyís need at the moment for men in the fleet. Graduation From Boot Camp Finally the moment came the graduating companies fell in for a parade and pass in review. Then some dignitary declared the Boots had finished their training and would get leave to go home and display their uniforms with pride.


When a Boot graduated from Boot Camp he became a new sailor. He had his mattress rolled and his sea bag full. Then he formed the rolled mattress around the sea bag and restrained it with a line. Proudly, with a grunt because of its weight, he swung it up and balanced it on his shoulder. At that moment he marched off to his first leave and his next assignment. On many occasions his next duty was to clamber aboard one of the large ships of the fleet or maybe a ship of the

Donald Duck Navy.
Aboard ship he moved the contents of his sea bag into a locker. Now he no longer felt or thought like a Boot. He was a sailor and would start his cruise with the Navy.

End of A Sailorís Cruise
By the end of his cruise in the Navy, a sailor would gather up his uniforms, gear, and mementoes. He would shift his belongings out of his locker and back into his sea bag to leave for home. Not only did he take his physical possessions, but his sea bag would also be filled with memories.

For more about WWII Navy boot camps and life aboard the small ships used in World War II read Sea Bag of Memories by Wm. J. Veigele, Ph. D. Lt, USNR (Ret).


Navy Knowedge Menu


Weapons used in WORLD WAR II


History of Enlisted Ranks of the United States Navy

PC Patrol Craft of World War II

SEA BAG OF MEMORIES, Images Poems Thoughts and Crafts of the Small Ship Sailors of World War II

ALEUTIAN FURY A Story of World War II at Sea in the Aleutian Islands Battling the Japanese off Adak and Attu


WORLD WAR II Model Boat Plans

Donald DuckNavy

United States World War II Navy Small Ships

PC Patrol Craft of World War II

Motor Gunboat ex PC

AM Minesweeper ex PC

PGM 12, ex PC 1088

PCE Patrol Craft Escort

AM Minesweeper (PCE type)

SC Submarine Chaser

PGM Motor Gunboat ex SC

YMS Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper

WPC Cutters built before WWII


WORLD WAR II Navy Boot Camps

History of the Navy

Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station

Life at the Farragut, Idaho Boot Camp


This information is offered by Wm. J. Veigele, Ph. D. Lt, USNR (Ret).
Author of PC Patrol Craft of World War II and Sea Bag of Memories, Images Poems Thoughts and Crafts of the Small Ship Sailors of World War II

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