Navy Recruits Now Allowed Cellphones to Make Calls Home

April 3, 2024 4:00 PM
Recruits call home during their scheduled divisional phone calls at Recruit Training Command. US Navy Photo

Recruits at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., no longer need to memorize the phone numbers of family and friends.

Recruits will now be able to use their own cellphones to call home to family and friends instead of using Navy-provided payphones, according to a new Navy policy that began March 29.

Recruits will still be allowed five phone calls during their training. Those calls will just be made with their own devices. Pictures from Great Lakes show recruits sitting in phone booth cubicles making calls on cellphones instead of payphones.

The policy reflects similar policies among other services and the modern ways most people call home now, Recruit Training Command spokesperson Lt. Mack Jamieson told USNI News. It is an easy change that makes the lives of recruits easier while they are at Great Lakes.

“It just makes sense in terms of taking care of our people,” Jamieson said.

The change does not mean recruits have their phones on them at all times. Instead, phones are kept in lockers, which recruits can access during the phone time built into the approximately 10-week schedule. Eventually, the Recruit Training Command plans to have a way for phones to charge as well, Jamieson said.

Another reason for the change is to potentially cut down on recruit attrition, according to the Navy release announcing the policy.

The idea is that recruits are digital natives, with most growing up owning a cellphone, and the abrupt disconnection can cause physical stress, Lt. Eren Roubal, the clinical psychologist at Recruit Training Command, said in the release.

Through recruit training, the new sailors will get used to being without their phones, which reflects life aboard a ship where cell service is not always available, said Capt. Ken Froberg, commanding officer of Recruit Training Command.

It was also time to modernize, Froberg said in the release.

“Simply, I used a payphone and phone card calling home from overseas in 1994,” he said in the release. “We can do better in 2024.”

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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