Meet Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Rebecca Ratcliffe! She’s a Recruit Division Commander (RDC) at Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp.
“I joined the Navy because I saw my life going nowhere,” she said. “The Navy gave me the discipline and motivation I needed to make something of myself.”
Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ratcliffe joined the Navy on February 19, 2008.
Ratcliffe, though nearing the end of her Naval career, wanted to give back to the Navy for her final duty station. “I’m getting toward the end of my career and I always loved teaching and I wanted to make sure that not only could I spend some time on doing something I love. Also when I retire, I can kind of play a role in training my replacement as a whole and not just in the easy world.”
The importance of the mission of RTC is not lost on Ratcliffe. “Without the proper training, the Navy is just going to crumble,” Ratcliffe said. “We have to make sure that the Recruits know the seriousness of our job what we do, and what it means to be a Sailor.”
As an RDC, bringing the division together to work as a team is paramount. For Ratcliffe, it’s her favorite part.
“I love watching the Recruits grow and go from 88 individuals to one cohesive unit. This sounds silly, but I think watching them pass out laundry is one of the best ways you can tell that they’re a cohesive unit,” said Ratcliffe. “Watching them on the first day, and it’s like a nightmare, and everybody’s trying to be on their own program. But by the last day, you know that you can have laundry handed out, passed out, folded, and stowed properly in like 10 minutes.”
Ratcliffe’s previous command was the Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 “The Skinny Dragons.” VP-4 is a P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft squadron that conducts anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and humanitarian response.
“Aviation Maintenance Administrationmen’s calculate flight hours for the aircraft and keep track of all the maintenance documentation and all the parts that are in the aircraft,” Ratcliffe said. “Any paperwork that’s done or anybody that touches the aircraft, I make sure that the paperwork is good to go on it.”
With her job, Ratcliffe is able to get a different side of history very few are able to see.
“I like learning the history of the individual aircraft. The first aircraft I worked on was built in the 80’s.
So I could see all the flight hours from back then,” said Ratcliffe. “I could see the history of where they went and what was done to them. Then getting new aircraft into the Navy system. Knowing what’s going on and behind the scenes of all the maintenance was pretty cool.”
This behind-the-scenes look is something Ratcliffe does not take for granted.
“It’s kind of like little bits of Navy history that people usually don’t see or don’t think about,” said Ratcliffe. “They know about the carriers and they know about the big events, but like knowing the airplane that I was working on had done something in Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation New Dawn, like knowing that I was part of that and my name’s on that forever.”
In her free time Ratcliffe likes to craft, making quilts and shirts.
Boot camp is approximately 10 weeks-long and all enlistees in the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. More than 40,000 Recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.
|GREAT LAKES, IL, US
This work, Staff in the Spotlight – Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Rebecca Ratcliffe, by PO2 Christopher OGrady, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.