Just completed PIR last week and we would have found the following information helpful: perhaps it's somewhere that we missed, or our son isn't the best at communicating, but anyway, we wish we had known:
1. BE EARLY. When they say the gate opens at 6:30 am, know there will be a LONG LINE of cars! There are 3 lanes that need to "zipper" and nobody directing traffic at the lights leading up to the entry The public street is not governed by the Navy so the local police would have to do it. We were in the far right lane: big mistake. Those in the left lane just whizzed by and the folks in the middle were stuck going nowhere as well, and this was 3 lights back.
We sat with the car (part of the time in park through 6 green lights) as the time ticked by (from 6:45 to about 7:45 getting nowhere) . I finally got out and walked in to save a seat for my husband and daughter. She went back out to trade driving with my husband, then parked the car and made it in at 9:00 am, just in the nick of time. Had they not delayed graduation she would have missed it.
2. Save the poor guy standing out in the cold having to repeat this a million time and HAVE YOUR GATE PASS VISIBLE IN YOUR WINDOW. It's cold out there and these guys would like to keep everyone moving smoothly.
3. When you get into the building, bleachers are on your right. Look to the left for portable signs that have your recruit's division number on them. That's the section they'll be in. You won't necessarily be able to see much of the actual ceremony if you're seated at the ends, but they do have big screens up so you can see those.
4. Do not stand up in the bleachers or climb over them: it's absolutely forbidden and you'll be scolded (firmly but kindly.) Walk to the end of the row and use the stairs.
And a side note... it's a long morning with an early start and no quick exit to the bathroom once the ceremony starts. Consider carefully if you want to bring small children. If you do, bring plenty to keep them occupied etc. It's a cool ceremony, but not very interesting for little ones who had to get up at the crack of dawn!
Enjoy and congratulations to the new sailors!
Does anyone know if the PIRs are posted on a Navy site so we can go back and rewatch it?
Good question... I feel like I heard something about DVDs but am not sure. My sister watched the live streaming, but that is beyond the capacity of the grandparents so a DVD would be nice. Hopefully someone who knows will respond! :)
Details on DVDs and photos can be found by clicking HERE.
Thank you! That had a lot of great info.
The Livestream becomes an online video a little while after PIR...but not sure how long it stays up. The PIR DVD is a great purchase to make!
Great info. Very helpful. Thanks so much and congrats to your sailor!
thank you so much for posting, we go in two weeks. What time do you think people started lining up that drove themselves, before 5 am?
Too early! Couple of thoughts: They delayed graduation by about 20 minutes, I suspect that is not unusual to do so, given the comments by the gatekeepers outside who made statements like "it's like this every time!" They know it's an issue and accommodate as well as they can.
We are fortunate to have family in downtown Chicago so drove up, arriving on Buckley Road near the medical center at about 6:45. I think if you were in the line, or at least in the right lane by 6:15 or 6:30 you wouldn't have the hassle: part of our problem was getting stuck in the far right lane all the way back with nowhere to go. The gate doesn't open until 6:30 anyway, so to be in line by 5 am is really unnecessary... don't worry, you won't miss it! I just want folks to know that they won't be just driving up and in with no delay. Any additional time needed to consider small children or walkers/canes/wheelchairs: make sure you factor it in.
Thank goodness for good weather! In rain or snow it'll be slower, but the great thing is, everyone is in the same boat and "they" (the Navy) seems like they totally are on board with the importance of this day to the families and are very welcoming and inclusive once you're on site.
katep: Interesting that the personnel made it sound like PIR has a delayed start every time because we have not heard that. I know there is an issue with traffic....but there was when we went too (almost 6 yrs ago). But PIR still started on time. Sometimes we tell people to stay to the left on Buckley and bypass RTC. Park at the train station (slight charge for this but reasonable) and walk back to RTC....short walk on sidewalks. But then someone said that they were trying to stop people from parking at the train station....not sure how they can do that, especially if the family plans to take their new sailor on the train right after PIR is over. I wholeheartedly recommend the shuttles for PIR. It avoids lots of issues!
Where do you get a shuttle?