Bumping up for new members/update to an instruction. This is written with the Christmas holidays in mind, but much of the information applies all year.
With the holidays fast approaching, I see more and more moms who are stressed about whether they can see their sailor or not. Entirely understandable! But I know that the recruits in boot camp are quite confused also, many of them are new to all of this Navy stuff too, and haven't got the hang of the lingo, the paperwork and the inevitable Hurry Up and Wait and No Matter What You Plan, the Navy Will Change it.
Leave is earned time off. Every sailor earns 2.5 days a month, which adds up to 30 days a year. To take leave, the sailor puts in a special request form, aka a chit, and has it signed off by his immediate chain of command. Once the sailor receives leave papers from Personnel, he then can travel out of the immediate area. SOMETIMES, sometimes a sailor can borrow forward on his unearned leave. This is called "going in the hole". Most commands frown on this, as the sailor won't have leave on the books later. The sailor then has to decide when taking leave is going to be to his best advantage. If the sailor is stationed in the U.S., and they plan to leave the country, they must have permission. Parts of Mexico are off limits, so have your sailor check with their Chain of Command before booking cruises.
Liberty is regular time off. This is normally weekends and holidays, not to exceed 72 hours. Four day weekends are 96 hours, the sailor must have special permission to take all four days depending on their command and duty rotation. Sailors cannot leave the immediate area while on liberty. Each base/school/ship sets different definitions of local area. I've seen as low as 50 miles and as high as 400. Plane trips on liberty are a big no-no. The sailor must be able to return to their command if recalled during that time. There is something called an out of bounds chit, but the details on those vary by command and the sailor's situation.
The liberty limit for PIR weekend at Great Lakes is 50 miles.
All federal holidays are liberty days, unless the sailor has duty. Easter is not a federal holiday.
In general, Leave and Liberty CANNOT be combined. You get one or the other; you can't take that three day liberty weekend and stretch it into leave on Tuesday through Friday after. Nope, leave would start on the Friday before. (Some commands allow sailors to check out on the phone, but school commands never do so.) Sailors returning from leave may check in on a Friday, and have the weekend off as liberty, but must be physically present in the area of their command/homeport.
Boot camp ... there is no liberty or leave DURING boot camp. At PIR that's different, SOME sailors must go check in or get on a plane to their new command immediately, others have Cinderella Liberty where they must check back in at a certain time. Used to be that others had unrestricted liberty and could stay off base for the entire three days but that policy is NOT in effect anymore. Generally, boot camp CANNOT grant leave, that's done by the A school the sailors report to. For Christmas Eve graduations, the divisions do get to take leave, the procedure will be explained to them in boot camp. For those in boot camp over the holidays, they will have a nice dinner, maybe with a church group, and will have a relaxed routine. The Adopt A Sailor program only applies to those close to graduation and is subject to change year by year.
I do have this from the General Discussion forum on holiday graduation from Navy for Moms Admin:
***I have some updated info for sailors who will have PIR and then coming to GL "A" schools during Nov and Dec time frame:
The sailors will be allowed to take the holiday leave, they will fill out a leave chit and sign a page 13,
stating they understand that they will go in the hole with leave days. When a sailor goes in the hole with leave days, if something happens later on (before they earn the leave days back) it will be hard to go on leave. Also if the sailor does not earn the leave days back prior to transferring to their next command they will NOT be allowed to go on leave between "A" school and their fist duty station.
New: Thanksgiving PIR liberty for Wednesday graduations: For those staying in Great Lakes, they will check into TSC barracks on Wednesday afternoon, then have all day liberty on the holiday and weekend, returning each evening. Technically Friday is not a holiday, but any duty would be unusual. For those departing to A schools in other locations, Wednesday afternoon/evening liberty, then Thanksgiving Day liberty. Departure will usually be on Friday, with a few going on Saturday depending on flight availability.
A school ... generally, NO leave is granted during A school, except during holiday stand downs. There is sometimes leave after A school, which depends on the next reporting date for C school or the new PCS orders. This is often a time when if a sailor has gone in the hole on holiday leave, they will not get this leave granted. Now and then sailors on hold waiting for orders are allowed to take leave, but this is very much on a case by case basis and not to be expected.
Liberty is subject to duty status, if a sailor is on duty, they must remain on base and must muster (roll call) several times a day, and possibly stand watches (think guard duty on the quarterdeck). As a sailor goes through A school, they may earn more privileges and have more liberal liberty policies, such as wearing civilian clothes. Sailors must have a liberty buddy (a group of three is the latest I have heard) to leave the base at Great Lakes, or be checked out by immediate family. Married sailors may put in a "live ashore" packet requesting to live off base with their spouse (depends on the length of the school, ~20 weeks, mostly AECF/nuke/SECF/AV can do this).
Great Lakes A school liberty policy (other training commands have the same policy, more or less):
C school ... same as A school, basically. No leave during C school except for the holiday stand down, but possible before or after. Possibly the liberty buddy is in effect, but it may depend on paygrade.
The fleet ... all depends on operational needs of the Navy. A sailor may have leave on the books, up to 60 days, but if the ship needs him, he can't take leave. MOST of the time, sailors are encouraged to use their 30 days... some times in two week blocks, sometimes longer. The command doesn't want their sailors to lose their leave by not using it and will provide options and times when leave would work best for the ship/command. The more senior sailors may get the better dates. When a sailor changes commands, a PCS move, that is generally when leave can be taken also. If stationed overseas, the sailor will get a plane ride home to the home of record between duty stations. Holiday leave in the fleet? That varies by ship and command. They do not stand down like the schools, although they may have a relaxed liberty policy during that time. Who gets to take leave? It depends, the chain of command looks at which jobs must be covered, operational needs, who went on leave last holiday period, who has leave which needs to be used or lost. The new guy often gets the leftovers, as do the ... let us say, the sailors who don't shine.
I'm not even going to touch emergency leave (death in the family) or convalescent leave (after surgery) or any of the other special leaves. There is even paternity leave now! Do note all the terms I used ... sometimes, usually or generally. Every situation can vary for every sailor!