Topics: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark McFarland, JR Motorsports
Todd H. Willebrand, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs
February 3, 2006
U.S. Navy Story NNS060203-06
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Recruit Training Command (RTC), Naval Station Great Lakes, welcomed a visit from Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jan. 25.
Earnhardt, owner of JR Motorsports, was making his first stop celebrating his race team’s partnership with the Navy in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Accompanied by the driver of the Navy number 88 car, Mark McFarland, and Rear Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Earnhardt enjoyed a hands-on glimpse of what Navy recruits undergo during their nine-week indoctrination to military life.
“Our partnership with the Navy makes a lot of sense,” said Earnhardt. “Taking a race team and instilling the kind of teamwork and work ethic that is imparted on the Sailors is an ideal situation for a race crew.”
Fowler noted the great opportunities for the Navy in partnering with JR Motorsports, as well.
“It affords the Navy wonderful exposure nationwide as sports, and NASCAR in particular, are an excellent way to reach the public and make our potential recruits and influencers aware of the U.S. Navy,” said Fowler.
Fowler said that the partnership allows the Navy to reach young men and women, their teachers and others in their spheres of influence.
Fowler compared NASCAR and the Navy. Fowler stressed that individuals involved in NASCAR have to blend together, form a team and use that teamwork for the overall good of the mission.
“When you look at the similarities, you have a NASCAR team that is high speed and high tech,” said Fowler. “In the Navy’s case, all our ratings have to work together as a team, just like a race crew, for our mission to be successful and we depend on them to come together and form a world class winning Navy team, identical to the NASCAR goal.”
Earnhardt and McFarland followed Sailors from check in to clothing issue, initial haircuts, fitness training and Special Warfare Challenge, firefighting, weapons training, Battle Stations, and enjoyed some bantering with recruits in their galleys and barracks while seeing different divisions in various phases of training.
McFarland, Earnhardt’s pick as the driver of the Navy 88 car, has high hopes for the car and year ahead.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this opportunity to see how the Navy trains their Sailors. My hope is to gain the respect of all the Sailors and gain a fan base. I feel like I now work for 350,000 personnel and I want to make every one of them proud,” McFarland said.
Both McFarland and Earnhardt enjoyed their interaction with recruits and Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs) and remarked on the professionalism.
“It was really interesting seeing what recruits go through as they progress through training. We saw recruits from day one on through graduation, and I emerged with an understanding of how important that part of the process is, how they turn these men and women from all over the U.S. into one unit of Sailors. This experience really opens up your eyes to what its all about," said McFarland.
For related news, visit the Navy NewsStand at http://www.news.navy.mil/.