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Bears cornerback makes visit to RTC graduation

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 8:52 a.m. CDT
HM1 Jainea Montgomery gives Charles Tillman a tour of the Battle Stations 21 bridge,

Charles “Peanut” Tillman, Chicago Bears cornerback, was the guest of honor as he reviewed the Recruit Training Command (RTC) Pass-In-Review graduation July 18.

Tillman had breakfast with recruits at RTC’s USS Arizona, Ship 14, before touring Battle Stations 21 (BST 21). BST 21 includes a 210-foot-long replica of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, complete with simulated sounds, scenarios, and even scents of a real Navy ship.

BST is the final evolution recruits must pass before replacing their recruit ball cap with a Navy ball cap, and graduating boot camp. Tillman watched as the Navy’s newest sailors received their new ball caps and then congratulated them with handshakes and autographs.

“It’s cool to see where they go in just eight weeks,” said Tillman. “Everything they’ve learned, they’ll take with them on ships around the world. They then use the tools they’ve learned to protect us. I have a huge amount of respect for them, and the price they have to pay.”

Tillman then served as reviewing officer during the RTC graduation ceremony, which he described as the best part of his visit.

“My favorite part of the day was seeing the graduation,” said Tillman. “My father served 20 years in the Army, so I’ve seen many Army ceremonies; this was my first time seeing a Navy ceremony. It definitely was an honor to have the opportunity to visit RTC and show these sailors the respect they deserve. ”

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