Navy Dads

I'LL TRY TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS I'VE SEEN HERE BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE THIS WEEKEND:

 

CELL PHONES:

LET'S GET THIS ONE OUT OF THE WAY. CALL ME OLD-SCHOOL BUT I'M NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO CAN'T TIE THEIR OWN SHOES WITHOUT A SHOE-TYING  APP ON THEIR "SMART" PHONE, BUT THAT'S ANOTHER DISCUSSION ALTOGETHER. THE SHORT ANSWER TO THE BURNING QUESTION IS: YES, THEY CAN HAVE THEIR CELL PHONES FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD.

 

MOVING ON...

 

RENTAL CAR:

WE GOT THE ACE RENTAL AS ADVERTISED IN THE BROCHURE. WE GOT A GOOD DEAL ($89/DAY) ON A SWEET DODGE DURANGO RT. IT WAS EQUIPPED WITH ONBOARD GPS. AT O'HARE, ALL THE RENTAL SHUTTLES WERE AT BAGGAGE CLAIM EXCEPT ACE, WHICH WAS ACROSS THE STREET BEHIND ANOTHER BUIDLING - THE ONE WE WERE FACING WHEN WE WALKED OUT OF BAGGAGE CLAIM. WE FLEW ON UNITED; YOUR ACE SHUTTLE LOCATION FROM ANOTHER AIRLINE TERMINAL MAY BE DIFFERENT, SO ASK ACE FIRST (IF YOU USE ACE, THAT IS). A NICE GUY FROM ENTERPRISE RENTAL ACTUALLY DROVE US AROUND THE CORNER TO THE ACE SHUTTLE AREA. THANK YOU, SIR...

 

HOTEL:

WE STAYED AT THE RESIDENCE INN IN WAUKEGAN. I HAD ORIGINALLY MADE RESERVATIONS AT THE RED CARPET - SOLELY ON PROXIMITY. MY WIFE CHANGED IT TO THE RESIDENCE INN - DUE TO ROOM CONFIGURATION - AND I'M GLAD SHE DID. IT WAS NOTHING SPECIAL, BUT AFTER DRIVING PAST THE RED CARPET (WHICH I BELIEVE IS A MOTEL RATHER THAN A HOTEL) IT WAS PROBABLY A GOOD CALL - IF A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS. THERE ARE SEVERAL NEWER, NICER-LOOKING HOTELS JUST A COUPLE MILES NORTH IN WAUKEGAN/GURNEE: RESIDENCE INN, HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS, AND CANDLEWOOD SUITES. THERE ARE SEVERAL DECENT RESTAURANTS, A BOWLING ALLEY AND A HUGE WALMART RIGHT THERE. IT'S ALL VERY CLEAN AND LOOKS RELATIVELY NEW.

THE DRIVE TO/FROM IS MINIMAL AND A STRAIGHT SHOT EITHER DIRECTION - SOUTH ON WAUKEGAN ROAD AND EAST ON BUCKLEY (OK, THAT'S 2 STRAIGHT SHOTS). THE RESIDENCE INN HAS A POOL, A BASKETBALL COURT WITH LOANER BASKETBALLS, A BUILT-IN GAS GRILL YOU CAN 'CUE ON AND THEY LENT US A DECK OF CARDS - WHICH WE PLAYED UNDER THE GAZEBO BY THE GRILL. GOOD TIMES!

 

TRANSPORT TO/FROM PIR:

IF YOUR SAILOR IS STAYING AT GREAT LAKES  FOR 'A' SCHOOL: TAKE A CAB OR SHUTTLE. THE RESIDENCE INN DOES NOT HAVE A SHUTTLE, BUT THEY ARRANGED A CAB FOR US WHEN WE CHECKED IN (WHICH WAS AFTER MIDNIGHT DUE TO OUR PLANE BEING DELAYED 1H:45M OUT OF SACRAMENTO). WE GOT TO THE PIR AT 0715. THE PATRIOTIC CABBIE* DIDN'T CHARGE US FOR THE RIDE TO SEE OUR SON! TRAFFIC WAS NOT NEARLY AS BAD AS I EXPECTED GETTING IN; WE COULD HAVE DRIVEN RIGHT THROUGH. BUT, THERE WAS A GOOD LINE OF CARS TRYING TO GET OUT, HOWEVER. (FOLKS ARRIVE OVER SEVERAL HOURS DEPENDING ON HOW EARLY THEY HAD PLANNED TO GET THERE, BUT APPEARED TO ALL BE LEAVING AT THE SAME TIME). WE GOT INTO A CAB RIGHT AT THE FRONT AND GOT OUT INSTANTLY. THIS WORKED OUT FINE BECAUSE: AFTER GRADUATION ENDED AT 1030, WE WALKED ACROSS THE FIELD TO THE RECRUIT NEX FOR SOUVENIRS (AND MORE HUGS) AND OUR SON HAD TO CHECK BACK IN/OUT OF RTC AT 1130.

 

IF YOUR SAILOR IS LEAVING GREAT LAKES FOR 'A' SCHOOL ELSEWHERE: I THINK I WOULD DRIVE TO PIR. IT APPEARED THOSE SAILORS HAD MORE TIME IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING PIR TO CHECK OUT - AND MAY HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO LEAVE WITH THEIR FAMILIES SHORTLY THEREAFTER. TRAFFIC SHOULD BE THINNED OUT BY THEN. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO SIT IN LINE FOR A FEW MINUTES, PUT IT IN PARK AND GET YOUR HUGS ON SOME MORE. AT LEAST YOU'RE TOGETHER NOW!

 

PIR:

THERE ARE SIGNS ON THE FLOOR OF THE HALL SHOWING WHERE EACH DIVISION WILL BE FORMED UP SO YOU'LL KNOW WHERE TO SIT. THERE ARE 2 LEVELS OF SEATING: LOWER AND BALCONY. GET THERE BEFORE 0715 IF YOU WANT LOWER. WE HAD BALCONY SEATS WITH A GREAT VIEW - AND IT DIDN'T TAKE THAT MUCH LONGER TO GET DOWN TO SEE OUR SON. BY 0815, FOLKS WERE LOOKING PRETTY HARD FOR SEATS, ESPECIALLY SEATS FOR 4 PEOPLE TO SIT TOGETHER. I BROUGHT A PAIR OF SMALL BINOCULARS AND WAS GLAD I DID. I KNEW MY SON WAS A "STICK" (MEANING HE WAS CARRYING ONE OF THE UNIT FLAGS), SO IT WASN'T HARD TO FIND HIM. BUT, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HIS FACE CLEARLY W/O THE BINOCULARS. THEY WERE MIGHTY POPULAR WITH THE FOLKS SEATED NEAR ME TO WHOM I LOANED THEM TO FIND THEIR SAILOR.

 

LIBERTY AFTER PIR:

STAYING AT GREAT LAKES: AFTER 1130 CHECK-OUT FROM RECRUIT TRAINING ON FRIDAY, SAILORS WILL BE BUSSED TO THE MAIN BASE ACROSS THE STREET TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE PIR ENTRANCE GATE BY THE MUSEUM AND VISITOR CENTER TO CHECK IN TO THEIR NEW COMMAND. IT'LL TAKE A FEW HOURS, SO GO BACK TO YOUR HOTEL AND/OR GET SOME LUNCH IF YOU WANT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE VISITOR CENTER FOR PICK-UP. 

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHECK IN AT THE VISITOR CENTER. PARK IN THE VISITOR CENTER LOT AND WAIT ON THE LAWN BY THE MAIN GATE. THERE IS A PEDESTRIAN GATE THERE. (I DON'T THINK YOU CAN GO IN W/O YOUR SAILOR UNLESS YOU ARE ACTIVE MILITARY YOURSELF.) GROUPS OF CHECKED-IN SAILORS BEGAN MARCHING OUT TO THAT GATE AT ABOUT 1430-1500HRS. THEY ARE DISMISSED ON LIBERTY FROM THERE.

YOU HAVE TO GO BACK IN TO THE BARRACKS (SHIPS) WITH YOUR SAILOR TO SIGN HIM/HER OUT AND TO SIGN THEM BACK IN EACH DAY, INCLUDING WHEN THEY ARE FIRST DISMISSED. AFTERWARD, I PICKED MY SON UP AT ABOUT 0700 SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MORNING AND RETURNED HIM AT 2145 EACH NIGHT. ONE THING I FOUND OUT WHILE WAITING: YOUR PIR PASS WILL ALLOW YOU TO DRIVE YOUR SAILOR BACK TO THE BARRACKS EVERY NIGHT! YOU CAN'T GO ON BASE WITHOUT HIM/HER, SO YOU'LL HAVE TO DO PICK-UP AT THE VISITOR CENTER. FOR EVENING RETURN, PUT YOUR PIR PASS ON YOUR DASHBOARD. HAVE YOUR LICENSE AND REG/INSURANCE HANDY AND YOUR SAILOR WITH THEIR ID OUT. THE GUARDS CHECKED THE PASS, MY LICENSE, AND MY SON'S ID AND ALL WAS GOOD. THIS WILL BE HANDY IF YOUR PIR IS IN THE WINTER, I IMAGINE. I WALKED MY SON BACK IN TO CHECK HIM OUT THE FIRST TIME AND IT WAS QUITE PLEASANT (PERFECT WEATHER). I'D BEEN WAITING A LONG TIME TO TAKE THAT WALK, MY FRIEND!

 

LEAVING GREAT LAKES: I THINK ONCE THEY ARE CHECKED OUT OF RTC AND RECEIVE THEIR NEW ORDERS AND TRAVEL PAPERS, YOUR SAILOR IS FREE TO LEAVE WITH YOU UNTIL YOU HAVE TO RETURN THEM TO THE AIRPORT - ON SATURDAY ACCORDING TO MOST FOLKS AS I FOUND OUT IN CONVERSATION. SOMEONE IN A PRIOR POSTING MENTIONED THAT YOU CAN GET A PASS FROM THE USO OFFICE ON BASE THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO ACCOMPANY YOUR SAILOR THROUGH SECURITY TO THE AIRLINE GATE SO YOU CAN WAIT WITH THEM UNTIL THEY GET ON THE PLANE. I BELIEVE THIS IS TRUE, SO ASK.

 

OTHER INFORMATION:

THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN DRIVE ONTO THE BASE WITH YOUR SAILOR IN THE CAR. WE TOOK OUR SON TO THE MAIN BASE NEX TO GET SOME THINGS FOR HIM AND SOME PROUD NAVY DAD/MOM/BROTHER/SISTER STUFF. HE WAS ABLE TO GET AN ALARM CLOCK AND WE BOUGHT HIM A PORTABLE DVD PLAYER AND SOME MOVIES. THEY CAN HAVE THESE TYPES OF THINGS APPARENTLY.

 

TO GET TO THE MAIN GATE/VISITOR CENTER: THE RECRUIT GRADUATION GATE IS RIGHT OFF BUCKLEY NEAR THE TRAIN OVERPASS AND IS CLEARLY MARKED AS SUCH. FROM THAT GATE, GO EAST UNDER THE OVERPASS AND YOU'LL CIRLCE AROUND. STAY IN THE RIGHT LANE AND GO TO THE RIGHT AT THE INTERSECTING STREET. THE MAIN GATE AND DRIVEWAY TO THE VISITOR CENTER WILL BE RIGHT THERE ON YOUR RIGHT - IN THAT ORDER.

 

* THE CABBIE'S NAME WAS LLOYD. IT WAS A RED ON BLACK MINIVAN (DON'T REMEMBER THE CAB COMPANY. THE HOTELS SHOULD KNOW). GIVE HIM SOME BUSINESS FOR BEING A PATRIOT AND TELL HIM THE GUY WHO GAVE HIM "THE COIN" SENT YOU. HA!

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Great info.  My son's PIR is this Friday 6/14/2013.  I can't wait. 

Thanks Steve. Awesome info. My boy is on ship 12, Div 313. (PIR 8/23/13)

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