Once the recruits arrive, those with contracts as candidates to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) or Special Operations (SpecOps) ratings are moved aside to be placed in the 800 division/s or for females to be placed together in a rifle division. Those ratings are SEAL--Special Warfare Operator (SO), Special Warfare Combatant – Craft Crewman (SWCC)--Special Warfare Boat Operator (SB), Navy Diver (ND), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRR). There are usually only 25 or fewer 800 divisions a year, so not every TG will have one, but some TG's will have one to up to four 800 divisions.
We often see that loved ones of those in an 800 division receive the form letter about a week after their recruits arrived at RTC rather than the typical 9 to 14 business days because these divisions do not have to wait for Phase 1 (P-days) to be over to be formed since the recruits in these divisions are determined by their contracts before arrival and must have run the 1.5 mile run in less than the required maximum time in order to have a special warfare contract, so they do not have to wait for the initial PFA to mail the form letter . It was very common in the past for those in an 800 division to be in Push Divisions and have 8 Fridays rather than the typical 9 Fridays that others do, but that is no longer true and now 9 Fridays is the norm. If females with special ops contracts ship on a Monday or Tuesday, then they usually have 9 Fridays and so will the 800 division/s for that TG. Loved ones of female NSW candidates receive the form letter around 9 business days after the recruit's arrival at RTC. You have to wait on the form letter to know the PIR date for sure, but you may be able to tell from looking for the next 800 division/s in https://www.bootcamp.navy.mil/tg_grad_dates.html. See Arrival and What Happens at RTC.
Male recruits with contracts for SEAL and SWCC with the same ship date or with a ship date within a day or so of the same ship date will be together in the same 800 division or brother division in the same TG. Male recruits with a contract for ND, AIRR, and EOD and sometimes those with a contract for SWCC with the same ship date or with a ship date within a day or so of the same ship date will be together in the same TG in the same 800 division or brother division or they may be in rifle divisions if there are not enough recruits for an 800 division.
800 divisions are all male divisions since it would be a rare event for there to be a large enough number of female NSW candidates to fill a compartment to allow for an integrated or an all female 800 division. Females who have a contract for a special warfare rating will be assigned to an integrated rifle division rather than an 800 division if there are not enough females to fill a compartment and they may not be all be assigned to the same division, but several are usually together in the same division. When that happens, the form letter is mailed at the end of Phase 1 and arrives about 9 to 14 business days after arrival. (See Arrival and What Happens at RTC.) These recruits will train with the 800 division/s for the additional PT sessions and pool times at 0430 (4:30 am).
Sometimes male recruits with a special ops contract will be placed in a rifle division if there are not enough recruits to form a full 800 division. When that happens, the form letter is mailed at the end of Phase 1 and arrives about 9 to 14 business days after arrival. (See Arrival and What Happens at RTC.) These recruits will train with the 800 division/s from other TG's that are at RTC for the additional PT sessions and pool times at 0430. Although all of the NSW recruits may not be in the same division, several are usually together.
Those in an 800 division do the same training that recruits in rifle divisions go through and then they have a second PT (physical training) time each day when PT is scheduled so they have PT in the morning and in the afternoon. They also have regularly scheduled time at the pool for training in addition to the times that they would have pool time if they were in a rifle division. They may learn and be tested in the Combat Swimmer Stroke (CSS) or be able to test using a freestyle stroke depending on the field they are going into. The special ops candidates also have assigned Dive Motivator PT (DIVEMO). These recruits are not permitted to work out except during PT or IT (intensive training; extra PT given as a corrective action) and many have indicated that they have less physical training than they had prior to shipping if they had a special ops mentor. Lights out is at 2200 (10:00 pm) and back on at 0400 (4:00 am).
The recruits in an 800 division can receive an extra ration of food before lights out at the galley if they want it due to the extra calories that they burn due to the physical training that they go through. This is a small snack of fruit and crackers and a protein bar that is made available the night before DIVEMO or other non-standard PT days. This extra ration of food is also made available to the special ops candidates who are in a rifle division.
When there are two or more 800 divisions in the same TG, then they are brother divisions and train together and do Battle Stations-21 (BST) together. The 800 divisions go through BST alone, with another 800 division if there are 2 or more 800 divisions in the TG, with the 900 division/s, or with a pair of brother divisions from the rifle divisions. When there are three or more 800 divisions, then two of the 800 divisions will go through BST together, but the other one or two 800 divisions may go through BST on a different night. See Battle Stations-21 (BST).
Those with a recruit in an 800 Division and/or with a special ops contract need to be especially aware of OPSEC and PERSEC. See OPSEC and PERSEC (Making Changes to Your Profile) for more information and make any changes at the bottom of that Page that you need to make. Changes 1 and 2 will tell you how to remove your name or that of your recruit from your Username and URL for your profile page and offers suggestions for making your Profile Page less obvious as to your identity and that of your recruit/Sailor and his/her special ops status, such as changing the ZIP code so that it does not reflect your hometown and not mentioning the rating that your recruit/Sailor is contracted for. Change 3 will tell you how to fix your Privacy settings--I suggest "Just My Friends." I also suggest that you uncheck all of the boxes under "Latest Activity" at the bottom so that your activity on N4M does not get posted in the "Latest Activity" feed on the left. Change 4 deals with your profile picture--don't include one with your recruit's face and to be even safer, don't use your own picture or that of any person who is associated with your recruit/Sailor. Facial recognition software, and even search engines such as https://images.google.com/, and the increased use of photos on Social Media have made it easier to connect a photo with a particular person. Change 5 will tell you how to delete photos if you have posted them--don't include any of your recruit or Sailor or of any person or thing that will be easily associated with your recruit or Sailor. Change 6 will tell you how to turn off the "Latest Activity" log at the top of your My Page so that your posts are not readily available to those who visit your My Page. Change 7 will tell you how to hide the groups that you have joined on N4M so that it is less obvious to others who visit your My Page that you have a recruit or Sailor with a contract for a Special Ops rating by the groups you have joined. Be careful, even "Liking" the discussion for your recruit's division lets others know that you most likely have a recruit in that division, so if you have "Liked" the discussion for your recruit's division, then you should click on "Liked it!" to "Unlike" it.
N4M is not a private site and ANYONE with access to the internet can come on the site and see what is posted on most of the site, so post very little about your recruit and later Sailor and never post pictures of him/her or his/her last name (not using his/her first name also increases PERSEC). There are groups on fB for the PIR groups and even some groups related to special ops training; it would a good idea to avoid those groups because if you join those groups, your profile information will be readily associated with someone who is a candidate for a special ops rating, including your name and hometown, unless the group is a secret group rather than just a private group. Do not openly post that you have a recruit in an 800 division since it is in the public domain that the 800 divisions contain special ops candidates. (I delete comments on this page from people who indicate that they have a recruit in an 800 division once I have reason to believe that the question or comment has been answered or acknowledged.)
While s/he's in BC, if someone asks for his/her rating, you can mention that s/he will stay in GL (or will fly out) after PIR and just avoid the question. Later, you can truthfully say, "I don't know much about it."
If a recruit with a contract for a special ops rating arrives at MEPS and fails something (such as the vision screening) that is a requirement for special ops, but does not prevent him from being eligible for another rating, then that will be noted in the recruit's file. The recruit will undergo additional evaluation at RTC to determine if s/he continues to be eligible for his/her contract. If the recruit is found not to be eligible for his/her contract, then the recruit will later meet with the detailer and will be given a new contract for a different rating that s/he qualifies for or be given the option to be separated. Some recruits may be offered a contract with a different rating within the special ops community that has less stringent qualifications than the one the recruit shipped with. If the recruit chooses a contract outside of the special ops community, then the recruit will be moved to a rifle division if the recruit is interested in continuing with training.
If a recruit in a rifle division displays exceptional potential for special ops, s/he can be singled out and invited to attend PT and swim sessions to see if this may be something s/he is interested in. The choice to accept or decline the invitation is always his/hers. If the recruit accepts the invitation, s/he then remains with his/her same division, but attends the extra sessions with an 800 division. If it is determined that the recruit is suited for a special ops rating, then s/he will be offered a new contract, which s/he can choose to accept or decline.
Sometimes a recruit who was assigned to an 800 division will be removed from the division for various reasons, often related to the first PFA (physical fitness assessment). The recruit may also choose to Drop on Request (DOR) if s/he no longer feels that special ops is appropriate for him/her. When that happens the recruit will be placed in a rifle division and later will meet with the detailer and will be given a new contract for a different rating that s/he qualifies for. Sometimes when this happens, the recruit will call a loved one to say that s/he has been moved to another division and that his/her address has changed. This is known as being ASMO'd (Assignment Memorandum; a change in what is happening with the recruit). This usually does not affect the PIR date, but if it does, you will be notified of that as well.
When recruits are ASMO'd, whether it's to go to SEPS to go home, to go to the RCU to recover from a sickness or injury, or to go to another division, the RDC most likely will say that the recruit has been ASMO'd and the others in the division will not know what has happened unless they happen to see him at RTC during the course of training or at PIR or sometime later in the Fleet. This is due to confidentiality and/or HIPAA requirements.
Many of the Sailors who were in an 800 division or who have a contract for one of the special ops ratings will stay at the Training Support Center (TSC) at Great Lakes following PIR for training prior to flying out for the next part of their training--only AIRR does not. Plan to leave late Sunday or on Monday if you are able. See PIR Day and Liberty During PIR Weekend to help you know how to plan your weekend.
Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRR) candidates fly out to Pensacola, FL to Naval Air Station Pensacola, usually the day after PIR, where they first attend Naval Aircrew Candidate School (NACCS). Your Sailor will most likely fly out the day after PIR, but may fly out on Sunday due to flight availability issues. Plan to leave on Sunday if you are able. See PIR Day and Liberty During PIR Weekend to help you know how to plan your weekend. Another group you will want to join if your recruit is a candidate for this rating is Pensacola, FL A School: NAS and Corry Station.
The 800 divisions used to always be on Ship 04, but beginning in 2019 they have been on other ships as well so that it is not easy to know where they will be located.
Here are some of the groups and the links for the Rating Information Cards associated with Special Ops ratings:
SEAL Groups: PREP, BUD/S and SQT (Stages of a S.E.A.L) (This group is by invitation only.) PreBUD/S and BUD/S (This group is no longer active.) SEAL Moms (This group is visible only to members of the group--a good thing. It is not very active, which is to be expected.) Wives, Girlfriends and Fiancees of Sailors in 800 Division/Pre-BUDS/BUD/S (This group is by invitation only.)
SEAL Rating Information Card: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/so.pdf
SEALs info on navy.com: http://www.navy.com/careers/special-operations/seals.html
Additional SEAL info: http://www.sealswcc.com/navy-seal-training.html, http://navyseals.com/2097/sealswcc-bootcamp-800-division/, and https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1200Classification/Documents/1220-085.pdf.
SB-SWCC Groups: swcc and Headed for SWCC (It is not very active.) (Those groups are open groups, so be very careful if you choose to join and post there. You can read all of the info in those groups WITHOUT joining.) SWCC Invitational (This group is visible only to members of the group--a good thing, but it has not been active since 2012.)
SB Rating Information Card: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/sb.pdf
SWCC info on navy.com: http://www.navy.com/careers/special-operations/swcc.html
Additional SWCC info: http://www.sealswcc.com/navy-swcc-training.html, http://navyseals.com/2097/sealswcc-bootcamp-800-division/, and https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1200Classification/Documents/1220-090.pdf
AIRR Rating Information Card: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/airr.pdf
AIRR candidates will be assigned to a specialty of Naval Aircrewman -Tactical Helicopter (AWR) or Naval Aircrewman - Helicopter (AWS) while in Naval Aircrew Candidate School (NACCS). Assignments will be based on the applicant's test scores, personal desires, needs of the Navy, and continued eligibility for the aircrew program.
AIRR info on navy.com: https://www.navy.com/careers/aviation-rescue-swimmer
Additional AIRR info: https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1200Classification/Documents/1220-010.pdf, https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1200Classification/Documents/1220-020.pdf, https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/1200Classification/Documents/1220-060.pdf, and http://www.nsonswmentor.com/Navy-AIRR.html.
EOD Group: EOD (This group is visible to Anyone. You can see all of the info there without joining. Be careful when posting there.)
EOD Rating Information Card: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/eod.pdf
EOD info on navy.com: http://www.navy.com/careers/special-operations/eod.html
There is some info on the Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CENEODDIVE) Learning Site at Great Lakes at https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ceneoddive/Default.aspx and http://www.mybaseguide.com/navy/21-582-9445/ns_great_lakes_ceodd.
Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CEODD) Preparatory Course [VIDEO] gives info on the Dive training in Panama City, FL.
Navy Diver Groups: Mom's of Navy Divers and Mom's of Navy Diver Recruits (Those groups are open groups, so be very careful if you choose to join and post there. You can read all of the info in those groups WITHOUT joining.)
Navy Diver Rating Information Card: https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/nd.pdf
Navy Diver info on navy.com: http://www.navy.com/careers/special-operations/diver.html
There is some info on the Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CENEODDIVE) Learning Site at Great Lakes at https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ceneoddive/Default.aspx and http://www.mybaseguide.com/navy/21-582-9445/ns_great_lakes_ceodd.
Females have been able to enlist as candidates for AIRR, EOD, or ND for some time, but they have only been able to join SO/SEAL and SB/SWCC since 2016. See http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2014/12/27/navy-seal-integration-women-2015-report/20769871/.
If I have used a term or abbreviation that is unclear, What does ??? mean? (A Guide to Navy Abbreviations and Terminology) should help; if not, please ask because if you have a question, someone else most likely does as well.
There is almost always a 900 Division in every TG. The 1 April 2011 TG did not have a 900 Division of its own and there are no 900 divisions while RTC responds to COVID-19 and has suspended graduation ceremonies. Sometimes there can be two or even three in one TG if RTC skips a week of PIR. One of the divisions will usually reflect the TG number, but not always. If there is more than one 900 Division, then they will be Brother Divisions. The 900 Divisions begin with Division 901 and will normally end with Division 952. Division 901 is supposed to be the division that begins training in the first week of October when the Navy fiscal year begins. In 2019 there were 55 TG's in order to have TG 01 begin training the first week of October so the last 900 division of the 2019 fiscal year was Division 955. This made up for errors in the numbering of TGs when weeks were skipped that had occurred in previous years.
Once the recruits arrive, those with the Musician (MU) rating and volunteers who have prior music experience (band, choir, or other musical training) or drill team experience may join a 900 division based on information provided on a questionnaire the recruits complete soon after arrival. Auditions are held later to confirm the ability of volunteers. There are others who will be chosen for the 900 division by the RDC's during Phase 1 (P-days) or the first few weeks of BC. These recruits did not have a Musician rating or prior band/music or drill experience, but showed some aptitude for performance, such as military bearing. This is especially true for those chosen to be part of Ship Staff. Recruits with relatively high ASVAB scores have a better chance of being in a 900 division than those with lower scores since they will be better able to keep up with everything that is required of them than those with lower scores. The Recruits in a 900 division can have contracts for any rating except for those that are in an 800 division. Once assigned to the division, these recruits go through the same training as other divisions in addition to performance duties. They practice on Saturdays beginning with the Saturday after the division forms and sometimes (rarely) on Sunday afternoons if the need arises for an extra practice. From week 1 DOT (after Phase 1) until week 4, they practice every Saturday from 3:00 or 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Then beginning the Saturday going into week 5, they also practice on Monday and Wednesday and do a run through on Thursday, then they perform in the real PIR on Friday if there is one that week. They usually perform in two graduations before doing their own. The 900 divisions go through Battle Stations-21 alone, with another 900 division if there are 2 or more 900 divisions in the TG, with the 800 division/s, or with a pair of brother divisions from the rifle divisions.
There are three types of 900 divisions. There are the Band/Bluejacket Choir/Drill team, otherwise known as Triple Threat (the musicians, singers, and drill team), the Sticks (those who carry the state flags), and the Ship Staff/Honor Guard (the body snatchers, those who guard various things, various servers...). Three 900 divisions perform their duties at each PIR, the 900 division(s) from that TG and if needed one to three 900 divisions from the next one or two TG's. Each 900 Division performs in their own PIR and usually in the PIR for one or two TG's ahead of their own if there is not a 900 division of the same type to perform in the TG/TG's. They may also have performances in the community--that happens mainly for the Triple Threat and Color Guard though. Those in a 900 division wear yellow/gold braided cords (ropes) called aiguillettes on their left shoulders with their dress blues and blue aiguillettes with their dress whites. This helps others to know that they have responsibilities to fulfill during PIR.
You may want to join the Group, 900's division sailors. There will be information on there that relates to your situation. Here is a site I found that explains about 900 Divisions, The Requirements for the Navy RTC 900 Division.
Watch RTC’s fB page beginning 2 weeks before your recruit’s PIR and you may catch a glimpse of your recruit, but know that not all of the PIR ceremonies are photographed, so don't be disappointed if you do not see your recruit. You will also want to watch RTC's live stream of PIR beginning 2 weeks before your recruit's PIR. RTC streams PIR live beginning at 8:45 am CST on the day of PIR at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/. Check for any streams of the practices for PIR as well (usually in the afternoon on the day before PIR). They will also have the videos saved on there for a short time if people were unable to watch live or if you want to stop it to check out a particular recruit or Sailor more closely. (Once PIR has passed, you may be able to see the video at https://www.dvidshub.net/tags/video/navy-boot-camp-graduation, but not all of them are included there.)
The PIR ceremony is conducted by the graduating 900 Division/s with help from one or two Junior 900 Divisions in their 7th and/or 6th week of training. Each incoming 900 division is assigned one of the responsibilities listed below, on a constantly rotating basis.
Ship Staff is in charge on PIR day. They greet and welcome the Officers and their distinguished guests as Sideboys. They play the role of "Body Snatcher" walking up and down the rows of Sailors, watching for and sometimes catching any Sailor about to or going down. (They lock their knees sometimes and pass out.) They help the Navy Corpsmen in the back room. They serve during the reception for the Honor Grads. They guard doors and perform a myriad of tasks behind the scenes and in front, such as directing people and helping those who require a wheelchair. It is their job to help make sure all goes smoothly. The Honor Guard Drill Team also does a rifle performance at the beginning of the ceremony. Since those in Ship Staff/Honor Guard have duties to perform before and during PIR, they do not march in through the doors when the other divisions march in on the day of PIR.
Sticks (Flags) does an incredible march perfectly timed and executed to the drum corps cadence. It is their job to present the flags for every state in the union. They are lined up by height, so the flow looks better, so your recruit will probably not get to carry his/her home state flag. They also honor those who have gone before by presenting the POW and MIA flags, as well as the US flag and the US Navy flag in the Color Guard.
Triple Threat is comprised of those who are on the Rifle Drill team and all those who were chosen for their musical abilities. The Blue Jacket Choir performs the National Anthem, Anchors Aweigh and anything else they've been tasked with. The band plays at various times throughout the ceremony. The Drum Corps also marches and helps everyone else stay in step and keep time. Those in a Triple Threat division will not march in with the other divisions since they will already be on the Drill Hall floor.
The address to write to your recruit is:
SR LAST NAME, FIRST NAME MI
SHIP 02 DIV 9XX
3600 OHIO STREET
GREAT LAKES IL 60088-7105 (60088-3156 will also work)
Is there an advantage to being in a 900 Division? It all depends on your point of view. Loved ones may catch a glimpse of the recruit in photos posted on RTC’s fB page. The recruits in a 900 division get to interact with civilians more than those in a rifle division or 800 division if they are at extra PIR’s or events in the community. The recruits often begin working together as a team faster than those in a rifle division, but not always. There is extra work involved since these recruits go through the same training that those in a rifle division do as well as having the practices for PIR. There is nothing special after BC tied to being in a 900 division.
What do the "extras" in a 900 Division do? There are extras in each 900 division. They train just like everyone else in the division. They must be ready if called upon to take the place of a recruit who is sick or injured or who is otherwise unable to perform. Some of the extras help to clean the stands, Drill Hall, rooms used for preparation.... Some will be in charge of setting things up and putting things away before and after PIR. Some of the extras will be escorts and assist with seating those in need of wheelchairs or other assistance. Some will be "seaters" and direct guests to the appropriate section.
Be sure to ask your recruit ahead of time what s/he will be doing during PIR and if s/he will be performing in any PIR's ahead of his/her own PIR so you will know where to look for your recruit or Sailor in the pictures or videos and at PIR.
The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.
Last updated 04/17/2020