We arrived at Great Lakes mid afternoon on Thursday prior to PIR. We picked up our tickets at the Welcome Center. It was busy but we only waited about 5 minutes to get our tickets. The best part was that the divisional group photos were displayed so we got our first glance of our new sailor!
We did attend Sarge's Meet and Greet. The food was excellent and there was plenty to go around. Sarge said he would get everyone through the line in less than an hour and he did! The line went really fast! The meet and greet was just kind of neat knowing the pride that all of the families in attendance had and how excited everyone was for the next day. I would recommend attending.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Waukegan on Lakehurst Rd. It was a nice and clean hotel. The staff was very pleasant. We signed up for the free hotel shuttle to PIR upon arrival. We chose the 5:45 a.m. shuttle. The morning of PIR we boarded the shuttle and arrived at the gates shortly after 6. There was already what appeared to be quite a long line of cars waiting to enter the gates. The shuttle was able to by pass the line and drop us off at the walk in entrance. We were permitted on base around 6:45. We had a long wait until the ceremony started... but I was glad we got there early and that we took the shuttle.
The ceremony was outstanding. There is nothing better than hearing your sailor's division # called and seeing them march in front of you. Such an emotional morning. After the ceremony we took a few pictures and our daughter had to head back for a briefing. We waited at the NEX for her to finish up. Since she had to go to holding before A school she was able to take her phone with her to the briefing. We met back up with her shortly after noon and rode the FREE Holiday Inn Express shuttle back to our hotel.
Because our daughter was placed in holding due to a medical record issue we were able to spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday with her. Of course she had to be back each evening at 8:30. But we were able to pick her up again at 6:30 the next day. Some fun things we did were eat giordano's pizza near the Gurnee Mall. Saturday we drove down to Navy Pier. We arrived around 10 a.m. which was nice because the crowds had not yet arrived. We also walked along the Green River.
Another great Chicago restaurant to visit near the Gurnee Mall is Portillo's. Gurnee Mall was about 10-15 minutes from our hotel. Our hotel was about 10 minutes from Great Lakes and a very easy drive. If I were to attend another PIR ceremony I would do everything the same: -arrive Thursday afternoon, attend Sarge's Meet and Greet, rise early to catch the 5:45 shuttle to the PIR, stay at the Holiday Inn Express Waukegan, and eat Giordano's and Portillo's and visit Navy Pier.
Thanks for sharing! This was very helpful! Fingers crossed, I'll be attending my sons PIR end of Sep. Being late to anything brings on anxiety for me, I would rather be too early than 5 mins late. My husband thinks he can be 5 mins late and it's OK. :(
The Navy will teach them, early is on time and on time is late!
That is exactly what my step father would say! He was a CW3 in the Army. And you would think my husband would know this since both his mom and dad were in the Navy.