This site is for mothers of kids in the U.S. Navy and for Moms who have questions about Navy life for their kids.



Choose your Username.  For the privacy and safety of you and/or your sailor, NO LAST NAMES ARE ALLOWED, even if your last name differs from that of your sailor (please make sure your URL address does not include your last name either).  Also, please do not include your email address in your user name. Go to "Settings" above to set your Username.  While there, complete your Profile so you can post and share photos and videos of your Sailor and share stories with other moms!

Make sure to read our Community Guidelines and this Navy Operations Security (OPSEC) checklist - loose lips sink ships!

Join groups!  Browse for groups for your PIR date, your sailor's occupational specialty, "A" school, assigned ship, homeport city, your own city or state, and a myriad of other interests. Jump in and introduce yourself!  Start making friends that can last a lifetime.

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...and visit - America's Navy and to learn more.

OPSEC - Navy Operations Security

Always keep Navy Operations Security in mind.  In the Navy, it's essential to remember that "loose lips sink ships."  OPSEC is everyone's responsibility. 

DON'T post critical information including future destinations or ports of call; future operations, exercises or missions; deployment or homecoming dates.  

DO be smart, use your head, always think OPSEC when using texts, email, phone, and social media, and watch this video: "Importance of Navy OPSEC."

Please note! Changes to this guide happened in October 2017. There are now tickets issued, and there are no longer parking passes for PIR.

Please see changes to attending PIR in the PAGES column. The PAGES are located under the member icons on the right side.

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America's Navy STEM

Today's Sailor can contribute to exciting innovations by pursuing an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Learn more here: Para Padres

Visite esta página para explorar en su idioma las oportunidades de educación y carreras para sus hijos en el Navy.



Arrival and What Happens at the RTC

Your recruit arrives at the Recruit Training Command (RTC) at Camp Moffett. The new recruits begin processing within The Golden Thirteen, Building 1405, the Recruit Inprocessing Center (RIC), at Camp Moffett. There is no sleep for the new recruits from arrival until TAPS the following evening when they are in a temporary Ship, the USS Pearl Harbor, where they sleep during Phase 1 or Processing (P-days) before moving to their permanent Ship. During Phase 1, days begin around 4 am and end between 8 and 10 pm. (Read First 24 Hours for more in this article from the PAO.)

Your recruit will most likely make a very short scripted phone call soon after arrival at the RTC. "I made it. I'm here. I'm fine. Look for a box in a few days and a letter in about a week. I will try to call in about 3 weeks. Love ya. I gotta go." (Sometimes they say 2 weeks.) You may be able to get in a quick "I love you." before your recruit hangs up. Calls of 15 seconds or less are common. Recruits are sometimes given 2 minutes for this call, but even then some recruits stick to the basics they are told to share and cut the call short. This call can come at any time, even in the wee hours of the morning for some depending on the flight or bus schedule. This call may be from the recruit's cell phone or a borrowed cell phone from another recruit arriving at the same time since there are no longer phone banks available upon arrival. If your recruit took a cell phone with him or her, then this will be the last call from that phone before you receive it back in "the box" a few days later. See Phone Cards and Phone Calls for more on that.

The new recruit will pack "the box" (a 14"x14"x14" brown corrugated cardboard box) soon after arriving and beginning Phase 1. It most likely will arrive by FedEx within a few days to a week (occasionally, it takes up to 2 weeks, but 3 to 4 business days is typical) after your recruit's arrival at the RTC, but it could arrive by USPS if it is addressed to a PO Box or if you live in an area that FedEx hands off packages to USPS or if you do not live in the continental US. FedEx typically delivers "the box" on weekdays, so keep that in mind. (FedEx does deliver on Saturdays in some areas and does make deliveries on Saturdays in December due to Christmas deliveries in most areas, but seldom at other times of the year.) (Some have saved "the box" and used it to store letters from the RTC and other mementos of their recruit's/Sailor's time in the Navy.) You may be able to leave a signed and dated note for FedEx to leave the box without a signature, but you may need to have the form from FedEx that indicates it is permitted. You can also go to and set up the delivery options. FedEx used to leave the box without a signature, but since most of them contain a cell phone now, they must have a signature unless directed to leave the box without a signature. Other loved ones have been able to go by a FedEx office and sign a form that permits the driver to leave a box arriving from GL or Waukegan, IL without a signature. If there is nothing on file with FedEx, the driver will leave a note on the first delivery attempt that has a place for you to sign if you want the driver to leave the box on the next attempt without a signature. Some recruits trash or donate the clothes that were worn to the RTC rather than paying for sending them home, but if your recruit took a cell phone with him/her, you will receive "the box" or you may receive a large padded FedEx envelope rather than a box. (Look for the cell phone in one shoe and the battery in the other shoe or in separate pockets.) Many recruits have put the empty envelope in the box that they took their paperwork to the RTC in--sometimes it has had paperwork in it and that is fine since it is an extra copy. Although this envelope has an address on it (RTC ATTN: Student Control Dept. and an address on Kansas Street), this is not an address for you to use to send mail to your recruit, you must wait on the form letter for that. Also, do not use the address on "the box" to send letters; you must wait on The Form Letter for the address for your recruit. If your recruit was the group leader for those leaving from the same MEPS, then there may be another brown envelope or a piece of paper that contains the names of all the recruits in his/her group and sometimes even airline ticket stubs or boarding passes. Some recruits include their underwear and some trash those. Some females have been able to keep their sports bra if their size is not available during inprocessing. If your recruit was wearing long pants/jeans, the legs will most likely still be rolled up; this is because the recruits must roll up their pant legs before having their feet measured by a foot scanner before getting their New Balance running shoes and they don't have time to unroll them before packing the box. You may notice an S type mark on the top of "the box"; recruits are instructed to make that mark to indicate that "the box" has been sealed and not opened and re-taped since it would be hard to match the lines on the box with the lines on the tape. For the next 7 to 10 weeks, your new recruit will be known as Seaman Recruit (SR) or simply Recruit. During boot camp, s/he will wear a ball cap that says RECRUIT until s/he passes Battle Stations-21 (BST) and then participates in the capping ceremony to follow and exchanges the RECRUIT ball cap for one that says NAVY.

Your recruit will send The Form Letter once Phase 1 is over and s/he has passed the first PFA and has officially been assigned to a ship and division. (See When to Expect Your Form Letter and  Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) for more information.) Those in an 800 Division mail the form letter while still in Phase 1. (See 800 and 900 Divisions.) The form letter arrives in a standard white envelope. Your recruit will fill in the blanks on the form letter, put the form letter in the envelope, seal, and address the envelope to the person of his/her choice. Some recruits are able to quickly add a short note, but most won't be able to and there are no longer lines at the bottom of the form letter to remind a recruit to write something. The form letters are then put in a box and someone at the RTC takes care of mailing them. The form letter arrives by US Mail about a week to 10 days after you receive "the box." The form letter can arrive as early as the same day for one with a loved one in an 800 division. It is now seldom less than 9 business days after arrival for most and can be up to three weeks after arrival for some, especially if the recruit had to retest on the first PFA. The form letter is very important, so keep it in a safe place. (You can find a copy of the current form letter in the Page, The Form Letter.)

There is a Security Access Form that is sent with The Form Letter that must be completed and returned to your recruit in order to obtain tickets for PIR. Complete the Security Access Form with the info for up to four guests who will be attending PIR using the info on the ID that will be used when picking up the ticket/s. Each guest over the age of two years of age must have a ticket to enter the RTC and attend PIR. To see the brochure that is included from MWRGL, go to

Recruits are actually assigned to a ship and division upon arrival, but they do not move there until Phase 1 is over and sometimes things happen during Phase 1 or due to the first PFA that result in a recruit being moved to a different ship and/or division than the one that was assigned upon arrival. This is one reason not to send letters until you get the form letter. See Letter Writing & Fun Stuff/Questionnaires to send to your Recruit for more on that. Once you know your recruit's PIR date, watch on the main page of this group or go to and join the group for it once it has been created.

On about their fifth business day at the RTC (excluding any HOLD days), the new recruits are tested on the 1.5 mile run of the first Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at boot camp. The initial run standard for male recruits will be 16 minutes 10 seconds and 18 minutes 7 seconds for female recruits. See Navy Sets New Physical Fitness Standard to Start Boot Camp. Those who pass continue with BC. Those who do not pass are moved to FIT and will be retested in 48 hours and must pass in order to continue at the RTC. See Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) for more information.

No more stalking the mailman. To get Informed Delivery™ from the USPS, go to and put in your ZIP Code and see if it is available in your area. If it is, then Sign Up. With this service you can get images of the mail that will be placed in your mailbox each day. Black and white images of your actual letter-sized mail pieces, processed by USPS® sorting equipment, will be provided to you each morning.

You may want to check out, (This has the Day by Day, but it is off a bit with the change that occurred beginning in January 2018 to having the run for the first PFA on about the fifth business day after the recruit's arrival at the RTC.),,, and for more info.

When using the Day by Day, realize that Week 1, Day 1 Day of Training (1-1 DOT) can begin on any weekday once the division forms and is on their permanent ship. Brother Divisions train together and will be on the same DOT. There is some training on weekends and federal holidays, but those do not count as a DOT. Recruits have “holiday routine” on Sundays. Federal holidays are hold days and are treated as a Saturday or the recruits may have "holiday routine" depending on the holiday. (See 2018 Federal Holidays.) On those days, they have “free time” from about 7 am to 1 pm CST to attend worship services, take long showers, shave (for females), write letters, catch up on studying, do ironing or other tasks, and get to know their shipmates and help each other with the things they are learning among other things. If you want to follow along more closely with what is going on with your recruit, write and ask him/her to date a letter with the calendar date and the DOT. Be sure to ask your recruit when Battle Stations-21 (BST or BS-21) will be. You can then PM others with loved ones in the division and/or Brother Divisions so they will be informed as well, but do not post BST dates openly on the web. There is more on that in Battle Stations-21 (BST). Another thing to remember when using the Day by Day is that each division has its own Master Training Schedule (MTS), and only that division's brother division will have an MTS that is the same or nearly the same. The Day by Day is the closest thing we have to what happens at the RTC, but some things may happen for your recruit on a slightly different schedule than what the Sailor posted concerning his experience in 2009. We know that there are now just four regular P-days rather than the previous five and that the first PFA is on about the fifth business day after arrival instead of on 1-5. We know that most recruits get additional immunizations on or about 5-2 DOT and that is not mentioned in the Day by Day. Your recruit will be offered the opportunity to donate blood while at the RTC. Blood donations are carefully timed so that they will not interfere with the recruits' training.

To further explain DOT, if your recruit arrives on Monday evening or in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, then P-1 begins around 4:30 am (awakened around 4 am if s/he managed to sleep) on Tuesday. We give 5 days for Phase 1 (P-days), but they can be longer than that if your recruit has to wait for additional recruits to fill the division or as few as 4 days. The schedule would go like this: Tuesday: P-1, Wednesday: P-2, Thursday: P-3, Friday: P-4, Saturday and Sunday: P-HOLD, Monday: P-5, Tuesday: 1-1, Wednesday: 1-2, Thursday: 1-3, Friday: 1-4, Saturday and Sunday: HOLD, Monday: 1-5, Tuesday: 2-1... If any of the days is a federal holiday, then it also becomes HOLD, and the count begins where it left off when the HOLD is finished. Again, the best way to know the DOT is to write and ask your recruit to date a letter with the calendar date and the DOT. If your recruit writes something like "3-4 Hold" for the DOT, that means that 3-5 DOT will be the next weekday that is not a federal holiday. There are 6 weeks of training. Once your recruit has BST, s/he is a Sailor and time is spent preparing for PIR and things are not as intense as they had been.

Training days begin between 4:30 and 6 am (awakened about 30 minutes earlier) and end at 10 pm. HOLD days begin around 5:30 or 6 am and end between 8 and 10 pm. When a recruit has additional P-HOLD days to wait on more recruits to fill the division, the P-HOLD days usually occur after completing regular P-days, but they can also be after the recruit ships "the box" and has received the items needed at BC; this happens more for those who have 10 Fridays at the RTC. P-days can be as short as 4 days to as long as 17 days, but are seldom over 11 days.

What do recruits do while in P-Hold? While in P-Hold, your recruit will be stenciling items that s/he has so far with his/her last name, identifying number, and division number; learning to iron, fold, make his/her rack, and polish his/her boots/shoes; cleaning his/her compartment on the USS Pearl Harbor; studying the info in the Trainee Guide; sitting on the floor; getting to know his new shipmates; learning the correct way to stand in line, to stand at attention, and to respond to those in command....doing any or all of those several times. They also eat three meals a day.

To guesstimate the PIR date, count 9 Fridays, after your recruit arrived, including the Friday of the week that your recruit arrives at the RTC, to get the most likely PIR (graduation) date, but then know that it could be the week before if s/he is one of the last to fill a division from the previous week and is in a "Push Division" (this happens more for those arriving on Monday or Tuesday, but even those arriving on a Wednesday can end up in a Push Division if there were delays in shipping recruits to the RTC) or the week after it if there are only a few arriving to start a new division (this happens more for those arriving on Wednesday or Thursday or in the wee hours of Friday if the RTC skips a week and does not have PIR, which happens most often around the Christmas and New Year's holidays, but it can happen anytime; it can also happen if there were storms that caused flight delays anytime during the week, which changed the arrival dates for some and/or resulted in some recruits who are bused in to receive an earlier ship date thus increasing the number of recruits arriving that week; it happens often for recruits arriving in June, July, August and September when a lot of recruits are shipped who signed up prior to or at the beginning of their senior year of high school). It is more likely for a recruit to be at the RTC for 8 or 9 Fridays than for 10 Fridays. Counting Fridays until PIR may also help to make the time pass more easily than counting days.

PIR is usually on Friday. It can be moved up to Wednesday or Thursday if there is a federal holiday at the end of the week. PIR Thanksgiving week is on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The Navy graduates approximately 38,000 Sailors annually from the RTC, currently the Navy's only basic training location. (See

The recruits will spend some time on board the USS Red Rover during Phase 1. (See to learn more.) 

There are three Camps at the RTC. Camp Moffett is across the street from the other two Camps. It is all RTC.
~ Camp Moffett is the main in-processing area. This is where the recruits will arrive.
~ Camp Porter is the main recruit training area where most of the training takes place.
~ Camp John Paul Jones is mainly for housing of the recruits.

This PowerPoint by Craig that will show you where everything is and will give you more information on the RTC.  (Craig is retired Navy and runs and is also on this site.)  Although you are not able to take any outside photos when you go to the RTC for PIR, the information at is within the public domain and is allowed to be posted.


Fun Fact: When passing under the tunnel that connects Camp Moffett and Camp Porter in full divisional formation, divisions must sing "Anchors Aweigh" whether they are marching or walking at ease.

Naval Station Great Lakes is a large base and contains many commands. The two commands that we hear the most about are the RTC - Recruit Training Command and the TSC - Training Support Center, where some of your newly graduated Sailors will go to "A" school or other training prior to going out into the Fleet. The TSC is about a mile up the road from RTC on the other side of the street. The RTC portion of the base is considered a "closed base" and can only be accessed with a ticket that is obtained the day before or the day of PIR and is only good for PIR weekend, or by those assigned to that command who have the authorization to be there. Those with military ID or a sponsor are able to enter the Main part of the base on the other side of the street at any time.

Videos that explain Boot Camp in 2018 (An overview of Boot Camp by an RDC)

Arriving and First Week of Boot Camp 2018

Road to Graduation Boot Camp 2018 

Navy Boot Camp Video Breakdown


There are lots of interesting videos on N4M. Click the Videos tab above and then View All under the Featured Videos at the top of the page when it comes up.

You may find these Blogs informative as well:  Welcome to the Deep End, Treading Water, and Time to Paddle. That is not an official Navy site (and neither is N4M), but it does have some good information.

Remember in the Navy "No news is good news!" Here are some things that you do know: s/he is safe; s/he is physically fit or will be getting there; s/he is learning new things that will help him/her throughout his/her life; s/he is being fed well; s/he has any medical and dental needs taken care of; s/he is making friends; and you know where s/he is since s/he is at the RTC. If there is a problem, you will be called and that is not a call you want to receive. You have placed him/her in the best hands of all--those of God and the US Navy.


This is one of my favorite quotes from a Navy Mom concerning BC: "Gosh, waiting on PIR is almost like being pregnant again! never gonna get here and don't know what kind of kid I'll have when I finally get to see him...." (Thanks crystaldj1972 for posting that on February 5, 2010.)

The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a Sailor.

Last updated 06/01/2018


You need to be a member of Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) to add comments!

Comment by lemonelephant yesterday

Jackie, many of the recruits in Divisions 331 and 332 did not arrive until the week of 2 July. It is now the norm for the "I'm still alive!" call to come during the third weekend after arrival (or early in the week after), which will be this weekend. They should have had holiday routine for the first time on Sunday and would have been able to write "real" letters then, so you should be getting a letter any day now.

Comment by Jackie yesterday

Hi moms,

whats going on with the 331 division? Still on personal mail or phone call. Feeling sad.

Comment by lemonelephant on November 13, 2017 at 8:12pm
jayne, post cards are fine, but many choose not to send them since they often get read aloud. See the info in the Letter Writing page.
Comment by jayne on November 13, 2017 at 6:46pm

When we get our form letter and my son's address can we send post cards or would that be a bad idea?

Comment by lemonelephant on July 20, 2017 at 2:36am

Momof4gkids, recruits can have as few as 4 P-days to as many as 17, but seldom over 11. I suggest using 5 P-days plus 2 HOLD days for the weekend when following along until you receive The Form Letter and can write and ask her to date a letter with the calendar date and DOT.

Comment by Momof4gkids on July 19, 2017 at 11:34am

My daughter left yesterday 6/18/17 how many P days are typical before they start training?

Comment by Tffytat on July 19, 2017 at 3:22am

I came home to one of the best surprises after working a 16 hour shift. "The Box" arrived today! My SR has been gone and I am missing him like crazy. Who knew one could have so much joy from a cardboard box. (insert smile here)

Comment by lemonelephant on July 10, 2017 at 10:34pm

DragonMom, you are very welcome.

Comment by DragonMom on July 10, 2017 at 9:56pm

Thank you!

Comment by lemonelephant on July 9, 2017 at 10:40pm

DragonMom, The link is above. (This has the Day by Day.)

Comment by DragonMom on July 9, 2017 at 8:53pm

Is there a guide we can use to kick d of follow where our SR is in training?

Comment by lemonelephant on December 6, 2015 at 12:58am

DREW7062, it's great that you have facetime.

Comment by DREW7062 on December 4, 2015 at 12:57pm
LEMONELEPHANT: Thank For the advice as usual you always make me feel better. UGH...trying not to get depressed I got his Xmas gifts all wrapped..ill just hold them until he comes home. He did call me on my IPad and we face timed the picture was so clear! Like he was just in the other at least I can see him...once I get up the nerve to get on the plane I'm going there... Thanks again lemonelephant as always you're great and have a great holiday with your family.....
Comment by lemonelephant on December 4, 2015 at 1:57am

DREW7062, I Skyped with my Sailor when he was in Japan. I also got used to calls at strange times of the day or night when he was there. He had a Skype account and could call me on my phone, so that helped. Yes, holidays apart are hard. I didn't have my Sailor at home for any holidays the whole 6 2/3 years he was in. I went to him the last two years in December, in 2013 for Christmas and in 2014 earlier in December for his surgery and we had Christmas then. He managed to be home for the month of August most years after he was in for two years, but he didn't come home in 2009 at all. He had PIR in October 2008 and was home after "A" School for ten days in December, but left before Christmas.

Comment by DREW7062 on December 3, 2015 at 5:30pm
CHASEMOM : Lemonelephant is on PONIT! She's absolutely correct, when my son was in BC (lol, seems like yesterday) Without Lemonelephant and all the admins also the other moms, I think I would have been crazy. My son is now in Yokosuka Japan and I think it's worse now than BC as far as missing him. He just told me he won't be home for Xmas yep I was heartbroken - he says he turned in his Chit to late plus he has mandatory training to co,plate before he can take leave. No, I won't be Going to Japan unless I can drive lol no 13 hour plane ride for me. I'm so proud of my boy and ALL the kids. I know you're proud and you should be but it dose t stop us from missing them. Good luck to you and yours and please stay on this site it is truly great folks here. I went to the corpsman site now I'm also in the Japan moms site.
Good luck(((HUGS)))
Comment by lemonelephant on December 3, 2015 at 4:55pm
Chasemom, you will get used to the new normal. Once you are able to send letters and begin to make plans for PIR, then you will feel more in control and once you actually hear from him and know that he is fine then that will help. I didn't cry when my son went off to BC, but over the years that he has been gone there have been times when something would hit me and I would tear up or worse and I would have to remind myself of how proud I am of him and that he is doing what he wants. You raised a fine young man and it's his time to go off and pursue his dreams. You didn't expect him to be living with you when he's thirty after all. Communication will help. For now, hold him in your heart and prayers until you can hold him in your arms. You have placed him in the best hands of all--those of God and the US Navy.
Comment by Chasemom1 on December 3, 2015 at 2:10am

My only child left today. I am so very proud of him, he is an amazing young man but I just can't stop crying. Does it get better?

Comment by lemonelephant on September 17, 2015 at 11:05am
Barbiesmom, welcome to the next part of the journey.
Comment by Barbiesmom on September 17, 2015 at 7:45am
Just wanted to say thAnks so much for this site and info. Really easing the sting of my only girl heading off to become a sailor. I had the honor of spending time with her and some of her boot camp brothers and sisters when they shipped out of Columbus yesterday (9/16). Brilliant young people starting a new adventure. And although I am missing her awful (even before she left, lol) I am so excited for her and all of them. Blessed to be a Navy Mom.
Comment by lemonelephant on August 19, 2015 at 10:32pm

Rhonda, (This has the Day by Day.)

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