Double Salute: Behind The Scenes
Double Salute tells the story of Alex Sievers, a gung-ho petty officer in the United States Navy. His plans to become a commissioned officer are derailed when he is burned in a shipboard fire aboard the USS Ingersoll and a crewmen is killed. When blamed for the incident, he tries to find redemption by taking command of a misfit bunch of raw recruits at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. He finds solace when his company is given an opportunity to compete for the Double Salute which could resurrect his career. In the quest to exercise the demons of his past sins, he must overcome the advances of Lexi Althorne, an old flame determined to snuff out his marriage to her ex-roommate, Cathreen Jeffries. Alex faces stiff competition for the Double Salute from Rod Peach, a Company Commander he once called friend and now bent on his destruction. Drawing upon Naval traditions of the past, Alex Sievers weaves together a strategy with his assistant John McCarthy to overcome the rigged competition. However the final test, the mass conflagration drill could spell certain disaster when he is informed he must lead his company into the flames.
Meet The Characters Of Double Salute
ET1 Alex Sievers - Alex is an Electronics Technician First Class. He has been in the Navy for seven years on his second tour of duty. His plans are to become a commissioned officer and eventually command a ship. He was unable to pursue a commission after high school graduation, because of low grades. A friend suggested he pursue his dream by enlisting and apply for a commission.
Alex is from Kansas and comes from a large family of farmers. His father instilled him a sense of honor, duty and love for his country. Alex is torn by his love for his job and his wife, Cathreen which often come in to conflict due to the aggressive pursuit of his dream to become an officer.
IC1 Rod Peach - Peach as he is known to his enemies is a smooth talking, schemer everybody loves to hate. He lives his lives on the misery of others and with ease he obtains what he wants through coercion, bribery and guile. He has an extreme unfounded hatred for Alex and puts all his effort in to making Alex's life as hard as possible. He is the perfect thorn in Alex's side.
Alexis Althorne - Lexi is the sultry ex-girlfriend of Alex Sievers. In her attempt the first time to ensnare Alex she used tactics that instead of drawing him to her pushed him away. Vowing to right her wrong, she makes a second attempt to capture him in her web.
BM2 John McCarthy - Boatswains Mate Second Class John McCarthy is Alex's assistant Company Commander. He is a tall, fat man with a tough sense of humor. A recent believer in Jesus Christ, he attempts to find balance in his faith and his old Navy habits. He keeps Alex grounded by providing a higher prospective and show him a path to the Messiah.
PN2 Cathreen Jeffries (Sievers) - Personnelmen Second Class Cathreen Sievers is Alex's wife of five years. At one time she was Alexis Althorne's room mate. In the aftermath of Alex and Lexi's breakup she became Alex's friend and later his wife. Inner turmoil over the shipboard incident, Alex's grueling schedule and finding out she's pregnant puts tremendous strain on their relationship setting up for an inevitable showdown.
Navy Firefighting Training
Double Salute Plot Note: Firefighting
Double Salute pivots on a shipboard fire incident. Alex was burnt in the incident and has developed a fear of fire. When the new Captain requires Company Commanders to lead companies in Firefighting Training he is confronted by this fear. He must face this fear as he leads his company into the Mass Conflagration.
Battlestations and Graduation
In this video you get to experience the final testing phase of Navy Boot Camp called Battlestations 21 and the graduation ceremony. These are pivotal events in the life of a recruit at Recruit Training Command.
In my book I describe a climatic scene called the Mass Conflagration it is similar to the Battlestations drill, but I based it more on a what if situation.
The passing in review is one of the most exhilarating things I've done in my life and it was a tremendous honor when the Admiral snapped Company 197, my company the Double Salute.
Double Salute Plot Note: The Tunnel
The tunnel connecting Camp Moffett to Camp Porter where recruits pass through daily used to have a sign that stated all recruits were to sing Anchor's Aweigh when they pass through.
A Refueling A Sea, A Dangerous Evolution
Double Salute Plot Note
The above video is an actual refueling at sea. This evolution is used by Navy ships to keep ships supplied and ready for action at all times. An average refueling takes about 45 minutes.
In my book Double Salute, the opening sequence revolves around this evolution. This video will give you the feel for the scene.
United States Navy Boot Camp Today
The above video is a depiction of Navy Boot Camp today, but Double Salute plot is set in the 1980's and is written from my perspective of when I attended in 1982.
The video is meant to give a feel for what recruit do in their training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois.
What Is The Double Salute?
In the course of Recruit Training, each company competes against other companies their Division or Graduation Class. Each class consists of 10 companies. The companies consist of about 80 souls and they must learn to work together as a team in drill, athletics, scholar and military excellence. Points are accumulated and the end of the training the best company is named Color Company. At the passing in review ceremony, the reviewing officer may snap a second salute to the smartest looking company.
In my book I use the Double Salute like the Color Company award. I chose to do this because when I attended boot camp another company was awarded the Color Company for political reasons instead of our company. The reviewing officer an admiral, did not agree with this and on graduation day flashed us the Double Salute.
Recruit Training Command - History
The mission of Recruit Training Command is embodied in the Recruit Division Commander's Creed.
"These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained sailors. I will instill in them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standard of Honor, Courage, and Commitment."
In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt approved the founding of Naval Station Great Lakes. At the time, it was unheard of -- and many people were astounded -- to have naval training be done more than a thousand miles away from any ocean. And it was a novel idea, at the time, to train enlisted Sailors before they got to the fleet. Before 1881, enlisted Sailors joined the Navy and went directly to a ship. All their training took place underway.
With Capt. Albert Ross directing and supervising, Navy civil engineer Lt. George McKay and noted Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt joined forces to plan and design the original 39 buildings of Naval Training Station Great Lakes.
Great Lakes opened its gates July 1, 1911. Two days later, the first recruit arrived - Joseph Gregg, of Terre Haute, Indiana. When he graduated with the first class of 300 Sailors, President William Howard Taft was there along with Capt. Ross, Mr. Hunt, Lt. McKay, and 10,000 civilian spectators.
In 1917, the United States entered World War I. At Great Lakes tent cities sprouted up, while Sailors with skills in construction helped civilian workers build housing and training facilities.
By the time America and its allies won the war, over 125,000 Sailors had been trained at Great Lakes.
Through the 1920s and early 1930s, Great Lakes had only an air base and a radio school. Recruit training slowed to a crawl, and was even halted for a time.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Fleet. At the time, there were just about 6,000 Sailors training at Great Lakes. Six months later, there were 68,000. By September, over 100,000 Great Lakes Sailors were in training.
Between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the surrender of Japan Aug. 14, 1945, more than one million Sailors were trained at Great Lakes.
By 1950, the Cold War was well under way. Very quickly, Great Lakes was as busy as it had ever been. In one week in 1951 the base graduated 98 companies of recruits, matching its record in WWII.
New RTC barracks, mess halls, classrooms, and staff offices, costing upwards of $8 million were built over the next decade. Those buildings served for nearly half a century before the current RTC rebuilding began in the late 1990s.
Navy SEALs began finding new people at RTC. The first experimental company of 37 recruits graduated in December 1967. They were chosen from 250 volunteers and given special recruit training to prepare them for the more rigorous SEAL training to come at Coronado and beyond. Many, perhaps all of them, served in combat in Vietnam
In 1987, RTC cut the ribbon for the Golden 13 Recruit Inprocessing Center, which now greets every new recruit who joins the Navy.
In 1993 -- in the wake of the drawdown after Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm -- the Base Realignment and Closure commission decided to shut down Naval Training Center Orlando and NTC San Diego.
As a result, in 1998 began the RTC Recapitalization Program, the most ambitious building program at Great Lakes since its founding in 1905.
On Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed again. Here at Great Lakes, RTC continues to do what it did in WWI, in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, training new Sailors with a sense of purpose. Supplying the fleet with top-quality, basically-trained Sailors ready for follow-on training is why we are here.