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Thread: RDC Duty - What's it like?

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    Brandi's Avatar
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    RDC Duty - What's it like?

    For those of you who have been through RDC/Drill Instructor duty, tell us about your experiences.

    What aspects were good?
    Which were hard?
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    *Jenn*'s Avatar
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    My DH is an RDC right now. And its been ok. At first he was never home. Went in at 4 am and got home at 10pm. When he was off all he wanted to do was sleep. But he is on his 5th now and it gets easier if you get good partners. There is a extra pay you get for being here but its not that much. It was 375 but they just lowered it to 300. They told us when we went for these orders that we would get pick of duty station next. Thats a lie. They sau that the divorce rate is higher here then any other duty station. I didnt believe it at first. But after almost ending it a few weeks ago I believe it now.

    This place is horrible.

    The only thing they say is good about here is that its easier for you to make chief being on these orders. I guess we will see next time around. Anyway I will answer any questions you have about RDC duty.

    Honestly though RDC duty is horrible. But thats my opinion.
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    My DH just checked out of RTC this past May.

    Hours: He would leave at 5-5:30 a.m. and get home about 10:30 p.m. Sometimes he got off earlier or went in later. But, those times are far and few between. Definetely expect long days while on push and that he/she will not be getting extra time off during a push. That will make it that much easier if he/she doesn't and that much nicer if he/she does.

    Schools: For those with school aged children; you have to look into the schools. I really can not stress this enough. Some schools are good and some are bad. Personally I would steer clear of the schools around base and Waukegan. Round Lake isn't horribly bad but it isn't great either. Woodland, Grayslake, Lake Forest, etc. are very good.

    Weather: Ok. I hated the weather. I'm from the north (Ohio) and the weather there was horrid in comparison. Each winter we had a storm that brought us 14 inches of snow. This wasn't over a few days either. I'm talking hours. This past winter my DD missed 2 days of school because of how cold it was. It was -28 to -32 with the wind chill. One year I had to shovel in April. I highly recommend a vehicle with 4x4 for the RDC. John got by without it for the last 2 years. He had a truck the 1st year that was a 4x4 and he got through the snow much easier.

    Things to Do: Going into Chicago there are a bunch of places. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, took a boat tour. There is the Sears Tower (I believe it is now called the Willis Tower), tons of other museums. Medevil Times is in Schaumburg. Kohl Children's Museum is in Glenview. My kids loved this. If you go on the weekend go early. It gets packed. Six Flags and Gurnee Mills Mall are on Grand in Gurnee. WI. has a bunch of cheese places right off of 94. There are a bunch of signs. We would go to the ones around Kenosha/Racine. Racine has a zoo. It is small cause up until a 1-2 years ago it was ran on donation. The Milwaukee zoo is nice. I believe we paid 35 for the 5 of us to get in and park. In the parking lot they were giving away free popcorn and cotton candy. There are 2 zoos in Chicago, Brookfield and Lincoln Park, but we never went to those. Lincoln Park is free with the exception of parking and I believe that is 14. I highly recommend the Apple Holler in WI. It is right off of 94 by Kenosha/Racine. The food there is very good and sometimes the animals are out so you can pet and feed them. There is Lambs Farm in Libertyville. It is a petting zoo with a train ride, ice cream stand, playgorund, etc. We bought wristbands so that we could spend all day there.

    Background on our time there: My DH did 7 pushes. He did 4 and then went on hold for 6 months. Did 3 more and went on hold til he checked out. His first hold job was at Live Fire and his 2nd one was at FQA. He got his DLA when he finished his 5th push. In 2008 he got RDC of the Quarter for the next to the last quarter that year. He was the 1st runner up for RDC of the Year. He Hall of Famed 2 or 3 of his divisions.

    Each division was normally 8-9 weeks long. He had 1 that was 10 weeks because it took them over 1 week to pick up all of their recruits. He stayed at work a lot. Even when he didn't have to he did. Even when he wasn't there he would be calling his partners or others on watch to check on his recruits. He was very tough on his recruits. But in the end they saw why and were very thankful. He has had and still has former recruits that write him to tell him how they are doing. Many have done well. He took/takes a lot of pride in having had a part in their success.

    My advice: Be supporting. The hours are long and the stress is high. It takes a lot to be a good RDC. Some RDCs do not take the job seriously and this reflects onto the recruits and their partners. More than likely you will have a phone number to the ship so you can be connected with his/her compartment. I highly suggest calling it not be a regular thing. They should have their own cell phone. This was my number 1 way of getting into contact with my DH. Just keep in mind that they may not be able to answer or talk long. If you have an emergency and you cannot reach him/her you can call the ship and ask for the officer of the deck. Tell them what is going on and they can page or even send someone to find him/her. I had to do this 1 time. My DH was on his 1st day of push with 1 of his divisions and I got a call my mother had passed. I called the compartment and his cell phone many times before going this route.

    General: Let's see here....Divorce rate; we know more people that arrived married but left divorced than we do people that arrived married and left married, to the same person. Yes, we know people who arrived married to 1 person and left married to another.

    Be prepared for anything. Seriously. With around 80 recruits assigned to a division, plus all the other rercuits on base at any given time, anything can and does happen.

    Orders: His orders following RTC. They sucked. We were told he would be able to at least say which coast he wanted. BULL. He got the orders he did because he knew someone that got him his orders. Otherwise we were looking at Lemoore. Oh, and I don't know how it is now but when my DH was up for orders he was told because he was a RDC he had to choose at least 1 order that had an Iraq attachment to it and put it on his dream sheet.

    Pay: He got special duty pay which was 375, guess it has gone down now. That sucks. And he got COLA, 90 a month. Our BAH at an e-6 level was 1527 but we were grandfathered in. I believe the rate now is around 1460. We have 3 kids and we did not qualify for WIC once the COLA kicked in.

    Commi: It is not really bad but the Mayport one was a lot better. Parking is something to be desired. Produce isn't guaranteed. There were times I would have to go to Jewel after the commi cause the produce was so bad. I would go early, before 10. But right before we left they started this thing where those that checked out before 10 had to use the self check out. Everyone there, the cashiers, baggers, ladies in the deli/bakery, were all very nice. I must have went a lot cause many recognized me and would ask how my DD was if she wasn't with me or how my pg was going when I was pg with my youngest.

    Advancement: My DH was capped to e-6 in 2004. He took the e-7 exam....twice I think before making board. The time to study for the exam is very minimal. They have so much to get done with the recruits that it doesn't leave much time to study. My suggestion/advice for this is for them to start studying ASAP and then take leave for 2 weeks before the exam. My DH made board this year and is now doing his CPO Select initiation. So, I guess RTC did help him. He is also attending college and got evals that showed progression, with the last being an EP.

    I believe that is everything. I do want to say one thing though; the RDCs can get shadow boxes when they are done with all of their divisions.They can design it however they want. My DH got one. It is hanging up in our living room. If anyone wants I'll post the pic. Also, if anyone has any questions please feel free to PM me or ask on this thread. If I don't know I will find out or find you the right path. Or maybe someone else on here will know.

    This was a very......weird duty station. We got a bit of everything here. All in all I can not say we want to do it again. But it is a great experience to have and there are stories we can tell the grandkids someday. lol I would never in a million years take back going there. I just wouldn't want to go back.
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    Grosie's Avatar
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    My husband is currently a drill instructor at MCRD San Diego.

    It's basically like they are deployed. You will not see them very much for their first few cycles. It's all about rank to be honest, if your spouse is a SSgt then they will move up quickly within the ranks to where they won't have to work as much. Unfortunately, my husband is only a Sgt so he has been in the same position for 4 cycles already. And he is really good at his job but they still didn't move him up (all about rank).

    I can't really say exactly what it's like because number 1) we live far from MCRD so the distance makes things worse for us and number 2) every company is different. The only time I got to see my husband was on days that I would drive down to San Diego and he would have a couple hours off OR on the off chance that he actually got a day off and he would come home. I think one time we went 21 days without seeing eachother. They also have little events like initial and final drill where you can see them march the recruits around, it's only for a few hours though and only twice a cycle.

    I can say that it is difficult trying to balance family life with this job. My husband is sooooo tired when he does get time off that when he is home he really just wants to sleep and relax. I however want him to play and help out with our son more because he's been gone for so long, I guess you can figure out how that goes.

    The good thing about this job is that they get to go on quota. My husband is on quota right now so that means he gets a year off to work an easier job. He has another 7 months before he has to go back so we are making the most of this break.
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    My dh pushed boot years ago (91'-95'). He pushed 13 companies through. He worked long, hard hours. He was at work alot of the time. I didn't mind though, because he had been on only ships prior to and at least this way I knew he was only a short distance away.
    He did pick up Chief. His rate was closing (BT) so it was wonderful that he selected as he was one of the last BTC's to make it.
    We lived in Kenosha. About 45 minutes north in WI. We loved the town, our dd's were little and the school they went to (Southport) was wonderful. Small, inviting and homey.
    I worked at Snap-On Tools so that was a good paying job for me.
    Kenosha is where we bought our first home.

    I don't know about the "divorce" rate. I've never worried about any one else's marriage but my own. I remained supportive the whole time. I used to take my dd's down to the base as often as we could to "see Daddy". I would take lunch for the whole division of RDC's (we called them CC's at the time) on Friday's. I tried not to complain about the hours. Being prior navy myself I remembered boot and how much my CC's were with us.

    I always say, no matter the duty station or job, it's all what you make of it. You can hate, bitch about it and be miserable OR make the best of it. I think that's how I've survived 12 deployments and 25+ years of this lifestyle.

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