Eagle Scout Charles David Fletcher from Orem completed Navy Basic Training on August 9, 2014 at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. He was selected as one of nine Honor Graduates, one from each division, out of over 750 recruits. He was called out at graduation exercises and saluted by the commanding officer. Charles was awarded an additional rank for being an Eagle Scout. He currently holds the rank of Airman and is attending A School in Pensacola, Florida studying Aviation Electronics.
Charles was identified as an exceptional leader during the first week of Boot Camp. He was chosen to lead his division. The division commander referred to him as “The *!?% &^+! Genius”. He led by example. In considering how to fulfill his division’s watch assignment he decided that he didn’t want the sailors to be able to complain about their assignment, so he assigned himself extra watch duty each week.
During the first week of training the recruits were all standing at attention in the field. Charles, as a leader of the division was on the front row. The commanders were having a heated conversation, but were speaking in Spanish so that the recruits would not understand. Charles said that he tried to contain himself, but at one point he couldn’t help himself and burst out laughing. The commander immediately came up to him and shouted: “Fletcher, you are from Utah. How do you know Spanish?”. The recruits are taught to respond in a way that all members of the division can hear. Charles shouted back: “I served a mission to Chile, Sir!”. The commander replied: “What religion are you?”. Charles shouted back: “I am a Mormon Sir!”. So, now it was out. He was the only Mormon in his division.
The recruits were allowed to attend church services each Sunday, but were told that they really needed this time to study. Charles informed his division that he would be attending church for three hours each Sunday and believed he would be blessed for doing so. He told them that when he got back he would spend the rest of the day helping whoever was struggling the most with their lessons. As a result of these sessions his division became the top performing division for that training cycle. They earned all possible battle flags including the prestigious “Battle Ready” flag. After 8 weeks of training 10 sailors were attending church with Charles.
Charles credits much of his success in Navy Basic Training to the leadership skills he learned in Scouting. He served as Patrol Leader then Senior Patrol Leader in his troop, Team Captain, and Crew Chief. He served on camp staff at Camp Jeremiah Johnson then Camp Maple Dell for several years as a lifeguard and Canoeing/Rowing instructor. He was a Timberline NYLT participant as well as a staff member twice (first as an Instructor, and then as Assistant Senior Patrol leader). He said that the lessons he learned at Timberline NYLT were critical factors contributing to his success in the Navy.
Author: Sam Fletcher | Orem District, Utah National Parks Council, BSA