RTC & NTC Orlando, FL
How the RTC and NTC Orlando coins came to be…
It was a pretty obvious choice to make the Orlando coins the first in our series. I spent my 20th birthday by starting basic training at RTC Orlando on 1 November 1972. Like all recruits I’m assuming, it was a life-changing experience for me to go from basically a life of apathy about the military during that period to an honest to goodness sailor. I learned a lot about myself during those eight weeks and at the end of it all I knew I had made the right choice. Then after about eight great duty stations and several promotions, I found myself back in Orlando as a member of the NTC Staff. Unfortunately it was during my tenure there that we got the bad news from BRAC that NTC Orlando had to go in favor of Great Lakes. To mimic a phrase that many of you have heard, that was certainly a “great mistake,” since Orlando was such a better choice for an RTC, SSC, and Nuke Power Training. I won’t go into all the advantages since those of us that were there already know what they were (better weather, newer facilities, already capable of training females, better weather, cleaner, better weather, etc).
I don’t know if you were as surprised as I was to find that there were no commemorative coins available for any of the commands at NTC Orlando. While it was easy to find an emblem for RTC Orlando, NTS Orlando, and the Nuke Power School, we had to search high and low for one for SSC Orlando. All I could find was a black and white copy and we had to recreate the colors. Hopefully we have them right. If not I’m sure a signalman can let me know – which is OK. For those that truly remember the NTC side of Orlando you’ll remember that most of the buildings were pretty old and really not all that attractive. The subordinate commands had much more impressive headquarters buildings. That’s essentially the reason we went with including the command emblems on the back of the NTC Orlando coin along with the flag of the base commander, which was normally a rear admiral. We adjusted the placement of the words “PEOPLE FOR SEA POWER” so that it was more readable. Trying to reduce it to a size small enough to fit in the center of the wheel made it somewhat unappealing.
As for the RTC Orlando coins (what we refer to as the Dog Tag and the Round Orlando coins), we wanted to include as much symbolism as we could. One of our friends said he was amazed at how much we were able to incorporate on the dog tag, which was our first coin. I wanted to ensure that we recognized the fact that RTC Orlando trained both males and females, where it was and that there was indeed an actual Navy ship in Central Florida. I included the two emblems you see because during my research I found about as many copies of the logo that used to be on the RUDDER as I did the actual official logo. After we had the dog tag completed I told my son we should probably get a round coin made too, since most people prefer them. It also gave us a bigger canvas and enabled me to incorporate all the ideas I had in my head about the landmarks of RTC Orlando. I shouldn’t play favorites, but that is probably my favorite one.
Hope you like the attached photos. I’ve saved them for the launching of our web site and don’t believe you can find them on the Internet anywhere else.
More soon, and please post comments regarding your memories in Orlando!