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Battle Stations-21 (BST)

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. It 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 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. They can start on Wednesday or Thursday, a week before PIR. 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. (We have been seeing BST occurring on Wednesday of the week before PIR through Tuesday of the week of PIR often since the summer of 2013.) 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 and usually start around 2 pm Central Time, but can start earlier or later, and can come as late as around 8 pm Central Time. 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.) (Note:  The first calls for the TG usually come on the day of the previous week's PIR, but can come as early as Wednesday of the week before PIR when PIR is on Friday. Calls can come 8 to 10 days prior to PIR for a TG that follows a PIR that occurs on a day other than Friday, such as the Thanksgiving TG that has PIR on Wednesday each year or if the RTC has to move BST for another reason such as if there is a holiday during the week of PIR and the TG is large and/or more days are needed for BST than are available.) 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."

Go to IDEAS-BattleStations 21 on CNN, Boot camp gets new Battle Stations trainer, and USS Trayer Turns Five at RTC to find out more on BST. There have been recruits who failed BST on the first try, but all have passed on the second try. The Navy Times article also mentions this. It is a very low number that fail BST though because hopefully the recruits will work together and help their shipmates who are struggling with something. After all, that's what shipmates do. Falling asleep during BST will result in failure and being ASMO'd to a division with a later PIR date--usually two weeks later than the recruit's original PIR date. All recruits who make it to BST do eventually go on to pass and become US Navy Sailors except in very rare cases when a medical or legal issue is not discovered or addressed until after BST because the Navy is not going to train them and then send them home at the last step in the process.

There have been changes at the RTC and it appears that recruits no longer go to FIT if they do not pass the final PFA. If your recruit does not pass, then your recruit will let you know if s/he will be sent to a division in a later TG or sent to SEPS and sent home.

I will leave the following for now.

If your recruit has not passed all of his/her final tests, he/she will not be allowed to participate in BST until those are passed. Most of the recruits do get that done in time to still have PIR with their division, but there are some who won't and they will be held back until the PFA is passed. Recruits who have not passed their final PFA on time are moved to the FIT division and will complete BST with another division and sometimes with another PIR group. If this affects your recruit, s/he will call you to let you know (usually in a scripted call). They usually call no later than a week before PIR to let loved ones know that they may not be having PIR, but those calls have come as late as the Tuesday before PIR at times. Once your recruit is moved to the FIT division, the RDCs will work with him/her and s/he will be given an opportunity to retest for the run every other day (MWF) when those days do not fall on a holiday if there are other divisions training. (When there is a holiday on a Monday, then the run/PFA is on Tuesday and Thursday instead.) The RDCs or other recruits or Sailors may even run alongside the recruit to encourage him/her so that s/he will pass. Another Sailor or RDC may run in front of the recruit in order to set the pace for the recruit; this is called "chasing the rabbit." Those who are retesting for the swim are given several opportunities each weekday (M-F) when those days do not fall on a holiday if there are other divisions training. The recruit might complete BST on the same night that s/he passed the PFA if the test was passed in the morning, but most do it the following night. If your recruit passes the PFA and has BST prior to PIR, then the new Sailor will have PIR. If the recruit has BST on the night before PIR, this new Sailor will have to sit in the balcony during PIR since it would be dangerous for him/her to march and to stand during the ceremony after being up all night. If your recruit does not pass the PFA prior to PIR or if there is not a chance for your recruit to have BST before PIR (this happens if there is no PIR the next week and the last divisions in the TG have had BST), s/he will not be allowed to PIR. Once the PFA is passed, s/he will complete BST and then be moved to the THU immediately and will be allowed a short Liberty and head straight to "A" School when transportation can be arranged, usually following the next PIR. You will only receive a call when his/her status changes. That means that s/he has passed the PFA and/or has had BST. Sometimes the recruit is able to call after passing the PFA before having BST and other times, the Sailor does not call until after BST. Some of those who get to call prior to BST are those who should be able to have PIR on time, but they are not always allowed to call until after BST and some have been at PIR in the balcony without having made a call so their loved ones did not know that they could have had time with them. If you do not get a second call by the day before you plan to leave for GL, call or email the PAO to check on your recruit's status. This is Wednesday afternoon for those with a Friday PIR. Wednesday is the last opportunity to pass the PFA and have (or at least attend) PIR if there is an opportunity to have BST Thursday night/Friday morning. (You can contact the RTC Public Affairs Office at 847-688-2405 or via e-mail at  Do not call them before that because it would be a waste of time for both you and the PAO and please do not call unless you have received a call indicating that there is a problem because if you have not received a call to indicate that there is a problem everything is on track for your recruit to have PIR on the scheduled date. Some have cancelled their plans upon receiving the first call only to find out that they did have a Sailor who was able to have (or at least attend) PIR. You will not be able to see your recruit on the day of PIR if s/he has not passed BST and is a Sailor. The important thing to remember is that they work with them in FIT and your recruit will most likely pass and be a Sailor at some point and no one will care later that it took longer to get to that point. The address to write to your recruit in FIT is Ship 4, 3600 Ohio Street, Great Lakes, IL 60088-7103. Put "FIT Division- Male" or "FIT Division-Female" in place of the Division Number or use Ship 4 Div 2347 (for those who failed the run by less than a minute), or Ship 4 Div 2444 (for those who failed the run by more than a minute), or Ship 4 Div 2381 (for those who failed any part of the swim test). (You may want to join the group, fit program.) Recruits who remain in FIT for more than 2 weeks call about every other week in order to boost morale, but calls are random and can occur at any time between 8 am and 8 pm CST, so have your phone available. They may get online instead if the phone banks are too busy to call and a computer is available. The RDC's in FIT use down time to answer questions, share stories, and give solid career advice to the recruits, often one-on-one, which not only boosts the recruits' morale, but will help them once they are Sailors. Your recruit will be given a deadline in which to pass and continue with the same contract. If your recruit doesn't pass before the scheduled contract date, then s/he will be given a deadline to pass and receive a new contract, which may be for the same "A" School or for a different one or for one of the PACT programs, or be separated. Recruits have 10 opportunities to pass the PFA once they are placed in FIT. A small percentage of those who are placed in FIT are unable to pass the PFA and end up being separated. If this happens to your recruit, join Ship 5 Moms(Formerly Ship 17) and see FAQ about SEPS and for more information on SEPS.

If a recruit fails only a part of the PFA, does s/he have to redo the entire PFA? Yes, the recruit will be retested over all parts of the PFA, but they will only focus on the part that was failed while in FIT since if the recruit passed the other parts, s/he should be able to do it again. The PFA consists of push ups, curl ups, a 1.5 mile run, and a swim test composed of two modules. Module one is composed of three separate events, a deep water jump from a raised platform using correct form, a 50-yard swim (using any stroke), and a 5-minute prone float face down--the recruit can raise his/her head to breathe as needed, but must continue the prone float while doing so and not end up treading water. Swimmers who successfully pass module one may continue on to module two. Module two consists of coverall inflation.

If your recruit is injured or ill and sent to the Recruit Convalescent Unit (RCU), s/he will most likely go on to have BST at some point and go on to be a US Navy Sailor. Some recruits will rejoin their division or join another division, sometimes in their own TG or in a TG with a later PIR date. This happens most for those who spend 2 weeks or less in the RCU and most often for those who are sent to the RCU in the first few weeks after arriving at the RTC. Some recruits will continue with training in the RCU and then in FIT when declared Fit for Full Duty (FFD) and go on to BST and then to "A" School or training without PIR. Once your recruit is declared FFD s/he will given a deadline in which to pass the PFA or be sent to SEPS. If your recruit is sent to the RCU, join RCU SHIP 04 DIV 2341 for more information. Also see The recruit's contract may change while in the RCU depending on the needs of the Navy and what is available. Your recruit will be your best source for information on his/her medical condition and what is happening as far as his/her contract. A small percentage of those who are placed in FIT are unable to pass the PFA and end up being separated. If this happens to your recruit, join Ship 5 Moms(Formerly Ship 17) and see FAQ about SEPS and for more information on SEPS.

The following was posted by the PAO within the RTC's fB site:


Battle Stations-21 is the recruits' final test that can take place anywhere from eight to two days prior to graduation. We do not give out the specific date your recruit's division will be taking this test nor do we allow the dates to be posted. We do not post any specific training details and we urge everyone to practice Operational Security by not posting such information.


A few weeks before PIR, be sure to write and ask your recruit when Battle Stations-21 will be. You can then PM others with loved ones in the division and/or Brother Divisions so they will be informed as well--but do not post BST dates openly on the web. When you receive your "I'm a Sailor!" call, be sure to ask your new Sailor if everyone in the division and brother division passed and be sure to post that within the PIR group for others who are also waiting on this call. You can post that you have a Sailor once BST is over.

The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.

Updated 11/25/2017


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Comment by lemonelephant on November 9, 2017 at 10:12pm
Melissa, hopefully it will make more sense by the end of BC when you need it most.
Comment by Melissa on November 9, 2017 at 11:26am
Some of this made sense to me. My daughter arrived T boot camp 11:33pn last night.
Comment by lemonelephant on August 2, 2017 at 3:12am

Navmom, you are very welcome.

Comment by Navmom on August 1, 2017 at 3:07pm

Thank you.

Comment by lemonelephant on July 18, 2017 at 10:57pm

You are very welcome.

Comment by Nicknukemom on July 18, 2017 at 10:34pm
Thank you
Comment by lemonelephant on July 14, 2017 at 1:36am

You are very welcome. I am glad to help.

Comment by Tffytat on July 14, 2017 at 1:33am

Thank you so much for this information!

Comment by Pooter527 on July 11, 2017 at 1:51pm
Thank you
Comment by lemonelephant on June 28, 2017 at 11:05am
You are very welcome and thank you for the kind words.
Comment by proudnavymom on June 28, 2017 at 8:29am

You are a God send!

Thank you for this information!

Comment by lemonelephant on June 19, 2017 at 10:52pm

You are all very welcome. I am glad to help.

Comment by luckywoo on June 19, 2017 at 10:37pm

Thank you for providing this information.  It has been my guide and comfort through the whole process, as I am sure it has for many others!

Comment by Lea (SHIP 11 DIV 242) on June 19, 2017 at 10:26pm
I truly appreciate your attention to detail and thoroughness, lemonelephant. I have read every avenue of info that you have sent my way. I want to be well informed. The information you pass along is invaluable.
Comment by Anna on June 11, 2017 at 8:23am

Thanks lemonelephant for all this information. Although my son is in boot camp for only less than 2 weeks, this information gives me some insight to a timeline. It really helps and I appreciate how you make sure us moms are informed as much as we can be.

Comment by Toni on April 27, 2017 at 9:16am

Thank you lemonelephant! Very detailed and helpful information.

Comment by lemonelephant on January 16, 2017 at 2:01am

Bekele, you are very welcome.

Comment by Bekele on January 16, 2017 at 1:34am
Thank you Lemonelephant! Great infotmation!
Comment by lemonelephant on December 21, 2016 at 11:21pm

Ernestina, You are very welcome.

Comment by Mama E. on December 21, 2016 at 11:07pm
Wow thanks for bst info

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