Help Great Lakes Celebrate Its Centenary
The mission of the newest of the Navy’s 12 official museums, the Great Lakes Naval Museum, is not to tell the story of famous leaders or explain the workings of technological developments. Nary an airplane hangs from the ceiling, and the nearest saltwater is more than 1,000 miles away. “This is the only official Navy museum in the Midwest and the only one devoted to telling the story of boot camp and the role of the enlisted sailor,” explained director Jennifer Searcy. “That’s a story worth telling.”
The museum sits on Navy property just outside the fence line of Naval Station Great Lakes, home to the Navy’s only boot camp, Recruit Training Command (RTC), and 19 of its technical service, or A, schools. The base lies in Illinois on the western shore of Lake Michigan, roughly halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. At 1,628 acres, it is by far the Navy’s largest training installation. Since 1995 all enlisted sailors have attended boot camp at RTC, and after graduation many move to new berthing down the street to attend an A school.