US Navy Boot Camp - Wow! these are four of the most powerful words us parents will read. Our children have chosen a career in the United States Navy. How proud we are to know that we have raised such unselfish children that made the decision to serve their country and protect our freedoms. Boot camp is were our journey begins.
Our children's first journey of many during their career in the Navy will be boot camp at Recruit Training Command ( RTC ) Great Lakes, Illinois. This is were they will change your child from civilian to Sailor in the most powerful Navy in the world. It's time for us to let go of our children and put our trust into the Navy. Naval Station Great Lakes has more than 25,ooo military and civilian personnel training, working, and living there. RTC is an environment were training occurs 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. This historic facility has put out the Navy's finest Sailors.
Naval Station Great Lakes simple mission is to deliver highly skilled, technically proficient, disciplined and motivated Sailors to the fleet.
We as parents have feelings such as nervousness, anxiety, concerns, fears and such when our child leaves for boot camp. These are normal emotions many of us parents have experienced throughout boot camp. So you are not crazy! These are perfectly normal thoughts running through your head. Being a concerned parent is not a bad thing. Always know that you will not be alone in this journey. We parents that have experienced the days of boot camp will be glad to help with any questions or concerns you have. Knowledge is power and we are willing to share.
Let's start with the day they leave for boot camp. If you can follow your child to the airport to see them off, take advantage of this oppurtunity. It will be 9 weeks until you will be able to see your child again. Send your child off with prepaid phone cards. They recommend not bringing their cell phone. It is up to you. A phone card will share the same purpose. They will send the cell phone home in the infamous box if your child decides to take it. When your Sailor lands in Chicago they will be able to sneak a call home by cell or phone card while walking to the USO to report in. If they have no cell phone then this is were the phone card will first come into use. They cannot call a cell phone collect from a pay phone. I learned this the hard way. We missed our son trying to call to let us know he had landed safely. A missed opportunity to speak with him one last time.
When your child reaches RTC the Navy will give them the opportunity to call home. This will be a quick 30 second phone call. Hi Mom and Dad I made it here safely, love y'all, can't talk right now, will call in a couple of weeks. Wow! you've got to be kidding! that's it! Yep that's it. On their way to becoming a Sailor. In reality that next phone call will come in week 3 or 4. That phone call will have to be made by a phone card. The Navy does not supply the recruits with them. So it is important to send your child off with a phone card with plenty of minutes if you want them to call home when they get the chance.
The first week of boot camp your child will be processing in. Your job is to contact their recruiter and get the valuable information you will need. Their recruiter will know their ship #, div #, and address long before your child will be able to send that information home. This will give you the upper hand in writing letters and getting them in the mail. Mail call is the one thing the recruit has to look forward to and it keeps them going. If only a line or two get a letter mailed off everyday your child is there. It is a must.
The infamous box also know as (kid in a box) should come in around week two of boot camp. This is the dreaded box us parents get the pleasure of unpacking. It will have all of your child's civies ( civilian clothes ) and personals in it that is sent home from boot camp. It will also have the ship #, div #, and address. But you already have that info and your letters have already been mailed. Right?
You will want to send your child off with a journal. Before leaving home they should write in it the address's of the people they will want to write while there. They will also use this journal to write their experience's of boot camp. They can bring a bible or writing of scripture. They can have up to 25 dollars in cash on them. The Navy does not recommend them wearing a watch to boot camp but will let them keep and wear it while there. My son wishes he would have worn a watch with a stop watch on it to boot camp. The timed run is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome to graduate boot camp. The stop watch would have come in handy during the training for the timed run. It would have given him an idea on the pace he needed to run.
These are some of the things that I wish I would have known before sending my son off to boot camp. No matter how we prepare our children or ourselves it will be tough on us both. I assure you they are in good hands with the fine instructors the Navy have put together to train our children to become Sailors. We both will go through highs and lows during the 9 or more weeks of boot camp. I promise that boot camp will end and the day will come of their PIR ( Pass In Review ) . It is a proud moment as a parent to see the child you sent to boot camp standing in front of you all grown up and now a United States Sailor. It is an awesome feeling. Well this is the very small start of your child's career in the Navy. This is were your journey and theirs begins. Good luck to you and them as well.
Like a very wise women once said " May God Sail With Our Sailors "
Sincerely, E.G. - Navydads Creator