By Alan Nunn, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES (NNS) — Seaman Recruit Chase Trentham, Division 387, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award on October 18.
T r e n t h a m , from McCaysville, Georgia, said he joined the Navy to serve others and build a better life for himself.
“I want to protect the men and women that have protected me,” he said. “Many military members have given their life to defend our country.
I was not content with living in a small town and not having an opportunity to serve around the world. Joining the Navy has given me self-discipline to be able to grow as a person.”
Trentham, 19, is a 2018 graduate of Copper Basin High School in Copperhill, Tennessee, where he was a member of the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Trentham was a competitive dirt bike racer and employed as an auto paint technician for a body shop in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Trentham is assigned as a PACT (Fireman).
The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award (MEA) is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group.
The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award placed him at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors.
Trentham is awarded a flag letter of commendation.
Trentham said he was surprised and honored to receive the MEA.
“Winning the MEA means that you’ve held yourself accountable to the Navy’s core values,” he said. “Winning the MEA will further inspire me to want to accomplish more as I begin my Navy career.”
Trentham credited his Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Fire Controlman Billy Coffelt, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Courtney McCloskey, and Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Michael Cannon Jr. for their leadership and guidance.
He also found encouragement in the letters he received from his family.
“My family has motivated me for several years,” Trentham said. “But receiving mail from them helped me more than anything while I was at boot camp. Letters from home motivated and inspired me, and in turn, I was able to use that and better encourage my shipmates.”
Trentham said the toughest part of boot camp was learning how to become a leader.
“It’s a tough challenge finding leaders that lead by example, instead of trying to control every individual’s next move,” he said. “Leaders don’t tell you what to do; they show you how to do it by putting themselves before the division.”
Trentham will attend the core apprenticeship training program in Great Lakes, Illinois. PACT is designed to enlist Sailors into a monitored general apprenticeship program that provides apprentice level formal training and on the job training leading to a viable career field.
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 35,000 recruits are trained annually at RTC and begin their Navy careers.