Navy Dads

A bit of background before I get to my questions.

My son just arrived boot camp on 3/19, so exact details of when his PIR is are still forthcoming. I have read a lot of the post on flights, hotels etc. but have never planned a trip before. I am also on a pretty tight budget.

My questions mostly revolves around getting a rental car, and what airport to fly to.

Do I absolutely need a car? Or is it just a nice convenience to have. I understand there are other transportation options as well, ie: train, cab, shuttle. I'm not very savvy when it comes to public transportation. As I understand it, my son will need to be back at the base every night, regardless of what/when his future travel plans are.

My current plan is to arrive in time for the meet and greet and depart for home on Sunday. I will be traveling from the west coast.

Any help would be appreciated.

On another note, if I am not able to make the PIR, is there a way to get him his cell phone immediately after PIR?

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I would wait Ryan as the Recruiter's info may not reflect any changes at RTC. There is often some movement between Divisions and Ships....

Which airport and hotel is closest / cheapest.
Super tight budget.

Thanks Tom. I'll wait for the letter.

Airports: O'Hare, Midway, or Gen. Mitchell International in Milwaukee


You will receive a Hotel Guide in the Form letter with pricing and telephone numbers. Many choose the Navy Lodge as it is nearby to RTC and very reasonable. There are a number of good places to stay. Read the posts on this site for reviews/suggestions. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott and loved it. May I also suggest looking into Sarge's Meet & Greet where you can meet other parents and gather a wealth of knowledge and assistance....


We're booked at Navy Lodge in Great Lakes for PIR this Friday. $71 per night and I've heard good reviews for it. It's about a mile or two from the base from what I'm told. Rooms go fast so if you decide to stay there, book your room as soon as you know your daughter's PIR date. 

We just got back. The Navy Lodge is really great for the PIR venue at $71 per night and no taxes if you tell them your SR's name. There are several different food style restaurants that deliver to the lodge. I suggest Wild Berries for breakfast and it is close by (the do not deliver.) The NEX is close by as well.

Sarge's meet and greet is the shitzles from what I understand. We didn't make it but he gave us the low down. Contact him and he will send you a detailed briefing that covers all the things you need to know and a Check Off list. Sarge will take good care of you!

We decided to stay an extra day and The Navy Lodge had no problem extending our stay in our room. My wife called AA to change out tickets but they wanted $1,900 for the two of us. My wife mentioned this to Sarge, so he looked at booking a flight and he was told it would be $142! He told her to call and book a new flight instead of changing the flight. She called and told them what Sarge did and they changed our flight home for free! Sarge knows the system and he loves military families!

We flew into O'Hare. It depends on where you are flying from and the carrier as to which is the cheapest. Call around and see or use Orbitz or something similar.

As per Tom L, just have to wait for that form letter.  When I was pricing airfare rates, I basically just counted 8 & 9 weeks from his boot camp arrival date while waiting for the form letter.  PIRs are held on Fridays but apparently not every week, so waiting for the form letter is the deal as far as making flight/hotel reservations.  Pls note his first week is processing and if you didn't get any calls from him, then you can assume things must be in order.  One important note on P-Week, if you are divorced as I am, have as much info on your ex's status as possible, especially if communication is far and few between. If you're ex is out of the picture, then at least have a ctc number or email addr that the processor can direct any queries.  My son must have called me at least 3-4 times trying to get info during P-Week..  Each time required me to track down his mom simply because I didn't have info at hand.  I suppose this last tidbit could suffice for another forum..

Just got the form letter from my SR confirming a PIR of 5/16. And was able to book a room at the Navy Lodge for $71 a night. Now on to airfare. I believe I already hate shopping for airfare! Lol.

Update for anyone following this thread - Call Sarge BEFORE you book anything!

I am a rookie at booking trips to anywhere, especially with renting cars. I booked through Orbitz for airfare and car rental... only to read the fine print later, that you absolutely need a credit card to finalize the transaction. Which can't be finalized until you get off your flight and to the rental company.

If you read this post from the start, you know I got the call Sarge message right away. I was a bit reluctant to call a perfect stranger for travel advice. Don't be like me.

I spoke with Sarge for about 15 min. and he had me squared away with options, including car rentals that don't require a credit card, what his company charges and stories of rescues he has performed for people like me, who didn't CALL SARGE 1st!!

So... CALL SARGE if your not sure about anything at all!

Sarge let me use of his wheelchair free of charge and he turned us on to WildBerries, which great! He was our personal tour guide and appointment setter!

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