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!
Go and hope it is available or stay in the hotel and watch the Livestream there. See hooyahsuzy's answer below.
Thank you this was very helpful
I have a question about PIR. Is there a limit on how many people my daughter can have at the ceremony? She has 3 sisters and a brother that are all interested in going (my youngest kids are 15 year old twins) plus her dad and myself and possibly a grandparent. I thought that if we knew the restrictions we might be able to plan a little ahead so she isn't stressed about how to distribute invitations later. Thanks!
Most likely she will have only the afternoon post-PIR until early evening as liberty. Then she is bused to the airport at zero dark thirty where you can meet up for a few hours if you are lucky.
Personally, I'd take a car. Unless she wants to go to the hotel immediately after PIR, having a car gives you more flexibility. What she wants to do with her limited time with you dictates the best choice.
These are all great tips. I would like to add a few of my own. My son just had his PIR on January 8th, so this is pretty fresh:
If you are flying into any of the local airports and need to rent a vehicle, please make sure you take advantage of the I-Pass. It will save you time through the tolls since there are many on the Interstates and you don't want to risk a fine if you miss one.
Also, when you get into the building, DO NOT sit in the first two rows of the bleachers. These two rows are reserved for current and retired military and their families.
If you get their real early and had no time to eat breakfast, they have for purchase: coffee, water, pastry, muffins and snack bars.
Good luck to all and enjoy this moment! It is wonderful!!
Laurie, thanks for sharing. Check your My Page.
Most find that the cost of the I-PASS is more than the cost of the tolls that they would pay and you can avoid toll roads in some cases, but yes, the cost of an I-PASS is less than the cost of a fine if you miss a toll and then do not pay it (you can send in the money for a missed toll if you keep track of the time and the location). See Saving Money PIR Weekend.
I have question, my daughter is staying in GL for A school and I will be taking her a few items, should I take them in her own suitcase or pack in mine and give to her, will she be able to keep her suitcase?
Lisa Lisa22, Have her bring her black backpack with her to take things back to her barracks. She won't have much room to store a suitcase. See PIR Day and Liberty during PIR Weekend to help you know how to plan your weekend.
I left info for you on your My Page.
Remember that not all veterans are retired military.