You’re looking back on your time at Navy boot camp and wishing you could remember more . . . What was that CCs name that I thought I’d never forget? Who was that RCPO who made us do extra push-ups on the grinder? When was my graduation? If you don’t have your yearbook or company photo from boot camp, here are a few things to try.
As a recruit, you could pre-order your company yearbook, also known as graduation book or cruise book, before graduation, but some recruits didn’t buy one. Others lost their book (so many moves!) or even threw it away. But now, the older, wiser us wants to reminisce, and we don’t have it.
RTC Orlando: The Rudder
RTC San Diego: The Anchor
RTC Great Lakes: The Keel
The publishers are no longer in business and the Navy doesn’t have the yearbooks (and frankly, they have more important things to do). So, what do you do?
1. Find a shipmate from your company who has a yearbook or photo, and ask them to share.
[This is exactly what I did, and it worked great. I was, in fact, still in touch with my shippy Denise, and she generously mailed me her copy of the Rudder, which I scanned. (Then I sent her flowers as a thank-you.)]
First, if you haven’t checked our RTC Orlando Veterans Roll Call yet, please start there. There are over 4,200 entries so far (as of April 2018) and you can search by year and by company number. Begin by submitting your own data, and go on to search for others.
There are a ton of groups on Facebook for Navy veterans. Our own group, RTC Orlando Reunion, has over 5,800 members and we hope you can join us.
There are other groups for Orlando, as well:
- RTC Orlando – The Rudders (admin’ed by our Historian, Ann Byrnes, who has been collecting Rudders for a long time and would like you to submit your company pages for her database)
- RTC – Navy Training Center, Orlando, Fl Boot Camp
- US Navy Recruit Training Command, Orlando, FL
- Naval Training Center Orlando (NTC) Boot Camp
As well as groups for other RTC commands:
There are several general Navy veteran groups like US Navy Vets group and US Navy Veteran group, each with thousands of members. Plus groups for every rating, specialty, platform, and many commands. Search Facebook group for “US Navy” and you’ll find hundreds of them.
If your shipmates aren’t on Facebook, try searching one of the following sites for veterans:
2. Search eBay.
Just make sure to keep your search generic enough to catch the correct terms. Some sellers won’t know to add “RTC” or “boot camp,” let alone the actual company number. So search for something like, “navy rudder + year.”
Chances are your yearbook will NOT be available right now, but set up a Saved Search and eBay will notify you when a listing appears that meets your criteria. You must have an eBay account to do this.
a. After signing in, search for your yearbook:
b. In the results, click on “Save this search.”
Set up more than one Saved Search if that will help find your yearbook. Afterward, you can find and modify your searches under My eBay -> Saved searches.
Other sites that sell used books:
3. Check with the Navy Department’s Library.
If you find one there, you can photograph or scan it at the Washington Navy Yard in person, or request your local library to borrow the book (with some caveats) via inter-library loan.
4. Search the GG Archives.
Not a huge selection, but you might get lucky.
NOTE: If you have or find your yearbook, it’s a great idea to scan it yourself or have it done at FedEx/Kinko’s or a similar copy shop (reasonable prices, too). Please send those scans to our RTC Orlando Historian, Ann Byrnes, and also send them to #3 and #4 above, to add to their collections and to help shipmates in the future.
Other than looking through our own Company Photos albums, you could also try James Matthew’s “RTC Orlando Company Photo’s” group on Facebook.
Otherwise, start with #1 above (find a shipmate), and add your former Company Commander, in case they have a copy of the photo.
You’ll have to use the same techniques as #1 to find your CC, unfortunately, since, as far as we know, there aren’t any organizations just for them. However, you might find more options if searching for a Navy Chief, for instance, by searching sources only for them.
- National Chief Petty Officers Association
- Goat Locker
- If you are a member of the Non Commissioned Officers Association, you can peruse their member directory.
We hope this gives you a few options. Good luck with your search!
If you find another source, please let us know.