Naval Training Center – Orlando, FL

 The History of the Naval Training Center, Orlando – (The Rudder, Company 169 Yearbook, 1970)

Commissioned on July 1,1968, the Naval Training Center, Orlando, was established to enhance the manpower training capabilities of the United States Navy. Occupying the site of the former Orlando Air Force Base, the Navy’s third training center rapidly became a show place among training commands in the armed forces.

The Commander, Naval Training Center, was tasked with “providing basic indoctrination for enlisted personnel, and primary, advanced, and specialized training for officer and enlisted personnel of the Regular Navy and the Navy Reserve.”

A decision was made in the nation’s capital to develop a third Naval Training Center, and on December 6, 1966, the Honorable Robert H. B. Baldwin, then Under Secretary of the Navy, announced that the city of Orlando had been chosen as the site of the Navy’s newest and most modern training facility.

Orlando was selected because of its year-round climate, availability of transportation, sufficient family housing, and availability of the Orlando Air Force Base under the Department of Defense Base Closure Program.

The newly constructed Recruit Training Command featured modern and functional buildings and presented a campus-like atmosphere. Commissioned with the Naval Training Center, the Recruit Training Command provided a smooth transition from civilian life for enlistees into the naval service.

Additionally, the Naval Training Center was host command for the Naval Training Device Center, which was responsible for the research, development, production,’ maintenance, and modification of air, sea, subsurface, land, and space trainers applicable to all types of military situations.

Another tenant command of the Naval Training Center was the Naval Hospital, Orlando, then, a 200-bed facility. The Hospital’s combined medical and dental staff of over 400 supported the Naval Training Center and other military installations in the Central Florida region, as well as dependents and retirees.

At the time, a modern “high rise” replacement hospital was planned for the future, and this facility would provide the most modern and complete medical care to the ever-increasing active duty and retired military population of the Central Florida area.

On November 1, 1969, the Service School Command was established. It initially comprised two schools, the Naval Advanced Undersea Weapons School (AUWS) and the Personnelman Class “A” School. The AUWS was housed in a new brick structure, located on 6, 100 square feet of real estate, and encompassed 109,000 square feet of classrooms, laboratories and an auditorium. The PN “A” School was housed in the old Air Force Photo Squadron Building on the southwest shore of Lake Baldwin.

Another tenant unit was the Navy Finance Office, Orlando, which prior to the commissioning of the Naval Training Center, was a branch of the main office at Jacksonville, Florida. The Orlando Finance Office was responsible for disbursing support to 17 military activities in the Central Florida region, and rendered civilian disbursing services to six organizations.

Additionally, the Center hosted the Navy Printing and Publications Service Branch Office, the Defense Contract Administration Services District, and the Resident Officer-in-Charge of Construction.

The Recruit Training Command had an average on-board load of about 3600 recruits occupying its five modern barracks, each of which housed 12 recruit companies. These five barracks, plus a 4,600-man mess hall, a classroom building, a recruit chapel, a training ship mock-up, and other facilities comprised the first camp of the Recruit Training Command.

The second recruit camp was identical to the first with five barracks and additional support buildings for training purposes. Construction on the second camp began in Fiscal Year 1969, with targeted completion date in mid-1973. The recruit population then exceeded 8,000.

The two camps interconnected by a “central core,” consisting of two 26-classroom training buildings connected by the Television Building, which housed the closed-circuit television system. Television provided a basic supplement to the academic instruction in recruit training.

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