Celebrating The Blue Jacket Recruit
The Orlando Recruit Training Center (RTC) was chosen as the first co-ed boot camp in the U.S. Navy and led the nation during a time of gender integration in the military. More than 188,000 women graduated from RTC Orlando to begin the journey as U.S. Navy Sailors, part of the over two million Sailors since the 1960s that were influenced by the Orlando area while attending basic training (boot camp) and other advanced training provided by the Navy Orlando Training Center.
The addition of the Blue Jacket Recruit©, standing alongside her male Shipmate, the existing Lone Sailor that was dedicated in Blue Jacket Park on April 1, will commemorate the unique history of this site, and the culture of inclusiveness and teamwork in Orlando. The statue is the only one of its kind and created entirely by a Central Florida effort: the artist, the foundry and our Navy League Council.
The Blue Jacket Recruit© depicts a young woman recruit dressed in “blues,” ready for her graduation day in the winter months at RTC Orlando. She was chosen by her Shipmates for a position of leadership.
She stands on the left side of the existing concrete pier opposite the Lone Sailor, at a pose of attention, with her gaze fixed upon the area of the former RTC parade grounds. She earned the position of Recruit Chief Petty Officer, or RCPO, and has faithfully led her company up to this most important moment. As RCPO, she is the only recruit in her company who carries the U.S. Navy Cutlass, and she is ready to command her Shipmates to “Pass in Review,” leading to graduation and orders to the Fleet.
The Blue Jacket Recruit statue is proportioned at heroic scale to complement the Lone Sailor , she stands 6’7″ and weighs 330 pounds, with a bronze patina to match the existing 7′ tall Lone Sailor.
She was designed by renowned local artist and sculptor Don Reynolds, a proud U.S. Navy veteran. The statue was cast from a unique formulation of bronze at American Bronze Foundry in Sanford, Florida, with casting that includes brass relics of seven retired U.S. Navy warships welded within, and a small portion of this brass melted into the bronze alloy. Those ships, which are familiar to all Sailors, are USS Lexington, Yorktown, Ranger, Independence, Oriskany, Constellation and Saratoga.