Time Capsule

Master Chief Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) Andrew Chupashko, command master chief, Office of Naval Research, opens the Recruit Training Command (RTC) Millennial Master Chief Time Capsule with the help of Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Eliezer GonzalezValentin. Chupashko was an RTC recruit when the time capsule was sealed. It was dedicated by the master chief petty officers who were on board RTC on January 1, 2000 and was to be opened by the first millennial recruit selected for master chief petty officer. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brandie Nix)

It was time at Recruit Training Command (RTC).

Time to open a time capsule!

In an outdoor ceremony held May 18, RTC staff, guests, and two divisions of recruits gathered to watch the opening of the Master Chief Petty Officers Millennium Time Capsule. Sealed in January 2000, by RTC master chiefs, the capsule celebrated the first recruits onboard RTC who would forge into the new millennium.

The capsule was scheduled to be reopened in 2020, however, due to pandemic base lockdowns and restrictions, the ceremony was delayed.

RTC Commanding Officer Captain Kertreck Brooks addressed the guests reminding them how far the Navy has come in the past two decades.

“Today is a truly special day as we gather here to witness the opening of a time capsule that has remained sealed since the turn of the millennium. It is a momentous occasion as we uncover the memories, hopes, and aspirations of those who came before us,” said Brooks. “As we open the time capsule and reveal its contents, let us reflect on our shared history, honor those who have come before us, and embrace the responsibility to lead and inspire those who will follow. Together, we carry the legacy of the Navy forward, always striving for excellence and upholding the values that define us.”

Also in attendance, as the guest speaker, was Master Chief Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) Andrew Chupashko, command master chief, Office of Naval Research, who is one of the few remaining master chiefs still on active duty who was a recruit when the time capsule was sealed.

“I was one of you at one time back at the turn of the millennium,” said Chupashko. “The amazing people in front of you wearing these red ropes are truly some of the most valuable people in my career and I can say with 100 percent certainty that without them, there’s no way I’d be standing here today.”

He went on to address the recruits reminding them of why they enlisted.

“If you serve this country and you do with honor, pride and integrity, you’ve done your job and you should be proud of that no matter what rank you obtain before you leave the service,” said Chupashko. “How you do your job and how you serve, that is the ultimate goal you should have in your life, serve well, love well, do well and one day you’ll be able to look back with no regrets and a whole lot of pride.”

Chupashko carefully pried opened the capsule, revealing a trove of memories. Among the items were:

base map containing location of the barracks prior to the recapitalization that began at that time with new barracks;

an RDC badge;

master chief petty officer collar devices;

chiefs’ mess challenge coins; and

a list of names of all recruits in training in 2000.

As guests milled around the capsule to view the items from the past, they also saw the new items to be included for next unveiling 20 years from now to include:

A recruit training guide that is a snapshot in time for RTC’s current curriculum;

First Class Petty Officers Association Coin, that represents the replacements of future Sailors who will become petty officers and progress into chief petty officers;

Warrior Toughness program manual, a tool that helps the changing Navy lethality in all aspects of mind, body and soul in the event of war;

A wooden coin to commemorate this event and serve as a bookmark of how recruits transition through the millennium; and

A COVID prevention mask that will always bring back memories of a time when the world seemingly came to a halt during the pandemic, including recruits and staff who were required to wear it.

“The goal is to keep this tradition alive for future generations of Sailors who will commence their journey just like the majority of Sailors currently serving in our Navy, right here at RTC,” said RTC Command Master Chief Van-Troi Sibilia Martinez. “It is pertinent to mention that while there used to be a total of three basic training sites, San Diego and Orlando closed their doors in 1994, leaving RTC as the sole Quarterdeck of the Navy.”

As they resealed the time capsule, the staff felt a sense of pride in being part of a grand tradition. They know that one day, they too would pass the torch to the next generation of recruits.

Boot camp is approximately 10 weeks and all enlistees in the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes five warfighting competencies of firefighting, damage control, seamanship, watch standing, and small arms handling and marksmanship along with physical fitness and lessons in Navy heritage and core values, Warrior Toughness, Life Skills, teamwork, and discipline. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp. For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/rtc

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.