The standard Recruit Petty Officer Positions are:
Recruit Chief Petty Officer (RCPO or RPOC): The RCPO is the primary recruit assistant to RDCs and is responsible for:
Recruit Leading Petty Officer (RLPO) (RPO1): The RLPO is responsible to the RCPO and RDCs for:
Recruit Master-at-Arms (RMAA or RMA) (RPO1): The RMAA is responsible to the RCPO and RDCs for:
Port and Starboard Watch Section Leaders (RPWSL/RSWSL) (RPO1): The PWSL and SWSL are the senior Recruit Petty Officers for respective watch sections.
Recruit Yeoman (RYN) (RPO1): The Recruit YN is responsible to RDCs for:
Recruit Medical Yeoman (RMYN) (RPO2): The MYN is responsible to RDCs for:
Recruit Dental Yeoman (RDYN) (RPO2): The DYN is responsible to RDCs for:
Recruit Section Leaders (RSLPO) (RPO2): Each SL is responsible to the respective Watch Section Leader for:
(There are often 6 Section Leaders in the division, three on each side. There are Port and Starboard Section Leaders.)
Division Laundry Petty Officer (RLPO) (RPO2): The LPO is responsible to the RMAA and RDCs for:
Recruit Education Petty Officer (REPO) (RPO2): The EPO is responsible to the RDCs for:
Recruit Athletic Petty Officer (RAPO) (RPO3): The APO is responsible to RDCs for:
Recruit Religious Petty Officers (RRPO) (RPO3): There will be at least a Catholic and Protestant RPO appointed for each division. If a division has three or more recruits of the same religion, a religious petty officer shall be appointed to represent that faith. RPOs are responsible for:
Recruit Mail Petty Officer (RMPO) (RPO3): The MPO is responsible for:
Recruit Damage Control Petty Officer (RDCPO) (RPO3): The DCPO is responsible to the RMAA for:
4. Documenting any material discrepancies on the MDCOL that cannot be corrected.
The above is from http://www.bootcamp.navy.mil/recruit_petty_officer.html.
Recruit Chief Petty Officer (RCPO or RPOC) is easy to spot at PIR since this Sailor will be the one carrying a sword at the front of the division.
Recruit Leading Petty Officer (RLPO) was Assistant Recruit Chief Petty Officer (AROC) in the past and the term AROC is still used since it sounds way cooler than RLPO: This Recruit is the second in command when the RDC's are not present as indicated above. The AROC is also in charge of calling the cadences to keep the division in step when marching.
Recruit Petty Officers on Ship Staff have duties related to the entire Ship to help maintain good order, discipline and security for the entire ship. Ship Staff runs the entire ship, stands watches on the official Quarterdeck, cleans common areas, etc. If a recruit is on Ship Staff, s/he won't get assigned to Division Staff, so s/he won't have extra cleaning duties like daily head cleaning or taking out the trash every day. Since they are Recruit Petty Officers, they also wear collar devices. Ship Staff is comprised of recruits from all divisions in that ship, so that means all different DOT's mixed together, assigned by 2-1 DOT. Recruits who've experienced academic set back don't get to be in Ship Staff (the most common way to assign Ship Staff is by ASVAB score). A recruit may be "promoted" from Division Staff to Ship Staff.
For integrated divisions, Division Staff has to be evenly divided between male and female. It is also the common practice that if the division has a female RPOC it will have a male AROC and vice versa.
Some of the above RPO's may have an assistant on Division Staff, such as Recruit Religious Petty Officer Assistant (RPOA), who will also have a collar device. We also hear about these other positions:
Recruit Chaplain Program Assistant (RCPA) (RPO3): assists in the chapel on Sunday (or other day as needed) and assists the division's RRPO and acts as a liaison between recruits and the Chaplain or Religious Program Specialist.
Recruit Empty Rack PO (RPO3): makes sure that any rack (bunk) that is not occupied is ship shape and meets Navy standards. The number of empty racks can increase as time goes on and recruits are ASMO'd for various reasons.
Recruit Forward Hold Petty Officer (RFHPO) (RPO3): in charge of cleaning supplies.
Recruit Head Petty Officer (RHPO) (RPO3): Although this one sounds very important, it means the recruit is in charge of keeping the bathroom (Head) clean, which would be an important position given that up to 88 recruits would be using that Head.
Recruit Ironing Petty Officer (RIPO) (RPO3): assists the RLPO and is in charge of ironing some items for the division and overseeing the ironing that is done by the recruits to assure that it is up to Navy standards. (This is not an official position, but we have seen it several times.)
Recruit Repair Petty Officer (RRPO) (RPO3): assists the RMA and assists with any repairs needed within the compartment. (This is not an official position, but we have seen it several times.)
Recruit Sweater or it may be Sweats (Smurf) Petty Officer (RPO3): assists the RLPO with the washing and folding of the sweat suits. (This is not an official position, but we have seen it several times.)
Recruit Weapons Petty Officer (RWPO) (RPO3): assists the RMA and oversees the exchange of the weapon at change of watch.
Recruit Petty Officers (RPOs) are given their authority from the Commanding Officer through the chain of command. They are appointed by the Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs) and have the authority and responsibility in the division to preserve good order, discipline, and security. RPOs are seen as leaders and wear collar devices signifying their place in the recruit chain of command. A collar device is a pin on the recruit’s collar to indicate that s/he has a job and extra responsibility while at BC. Some recruits who hold their Recruit Petty Officer (RPO) position for the whole time will get meritoriously promoted one rate to E-2 or E-3, but that happens more often for the RPOC and/or AROC if s/he kept the position for the entire time at RTC, but this could happen for any of the RPO positions. We have also seen where a recruit held 2 of the RPO positions at the same time, such as RMPO and RDYN; when this happens, the recruit wears the collar device for the higher of the 2 positions. Here are the collar devices for RPO3, RPO2, RPO1, and RPOC.
Holding an RPO position at BC means nothing afterwards in the Navy, but it does help your recruit to gain confidence and to learn more about doing things for the good of the Navy and his/her shipmates. Some of those who hold RPO positions may be singled out as Honor Recruits or Award Winners. (See Honor Recruits, Award Winners and Flags.) The RDC can meritoriously promote up to 10% of the division one paygrade; this sometimes happens for the Recruit Chief Petty Officer (RPOC) and/or Recruit Leading Petty Officer (RLPO aka AROC) and/or the Recruit Yeoman (RYN) if s/he kept the position for the entire time at RTC, but could happen for someone who holds one of the other RPO positions as well. (See E-1, E-2, or E-3? How did that happen?.)
The RDC may change recruits for any or all of the RPO positions until s/he finds the person who seems to be the best suited for the position. If the recruit's scores drop due to having a particular position, then the RDC is going to move him/her out of that position. If the recruit seems to take the position way too seriously or not seriously enough, then the RDC will move him/her. If the recruit struggles with PT or any of the tests or has an injury, then the RDC may remove him/her from the position.
Recruit Leadership Positions in Navy Boot Camp is a video by a current RDC (Spring 2018) that explains each of the RPO positions and how recruits are chosen for those positions.
Some recruits from each ship will be chosen for Ship Staff for the ship (barracks) where they are housed. This is not to be confused with a 900 division that is Ship Staff for PIR--see 800 and 900 Divisions. There will be recruits who are in a 900 division who are on Ship Staff for Ship 2 and also on Ship Staff for PIR, but the duties they perform in each capacity are very different. These Recruit Petty Officers have duties related to the entire Ship to help maintain good order, discipline and security for the entire ship. Ship Staff runs the entire ship, stands watches on the official Quarterdeck, cleans common areas, etc.
Recruits holding a Ship Staff position may be told that they will be able to skip Phase I at "A" School and go straight to Phase II of the Liberty Phases, but this has not been the case for most, if not all, of the Sailors once they reached their "A" School. This apparently is told to them in order to motivate them to do well; unfortunately it is not true.
The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.
Last updated 01/19/2020