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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.

Link to Navy Speak - Navy Terms & Acronyms: Navy Speak

All Hands Magazine's full length documentary "Making a Sailor": This video follows four recruits through Boot Camp in the spring of 2018 who were assigned to DIV 229, an integrated division, which had PIR on 05/25/2018. 

Boot Camp: Making a Sailor (Full Length Documentary - 2018)

Boot Camp: Behind the Scenes at RTC

...and visit - America's Navy and also Navy Live - The Official Blog of the Navy 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."

Follow this link for OPSEC Guidelines:



**UPDATE 4/26/2022** Effective with the May 6, 2022 PIR 4 guests will be allowed.  Still must be fully vaccinated to attend.

**UPDATE as of 11/10/2022 PIR vaccination is no longer required.

**UPDATE 7/29/2021** You now must be fully vaccinated in order to attend PIR:

In light of observed changes and impact of the Coronavirus Delta Variant and out of an abundance of caution for our recruits, Sailors, staff, and guests, Recruit Training Command is restricting Pass-in-Review (recruit graduation) to ONLY fully immunized guests (14-days post final COVID vaccination dose).  


RTC Graduation

**UPDATE 8/25/2022 - MASK MANDATE IS LIFTED.  Vaccinations still required.

**UPDATE 11/10/22 PIR - Vaccinations no longer required.


Please note! Changes to this guide happened in October 2017. Tickets are now issued for all guests, and all guests must have a ticket to enter base. A separate parking pass is no longer needed to drive on to base for parking.

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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Navy Speak

Click here to learn common Navy terms and acronyms!  (Hint:  When you can speak an entire sentence using only acronyms and one verb, you're truly a Navy mom.)

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


After one long year of DEP, 8 long weeks of boot camp at RTC that I thought would never end, one very long night of staying up burning my blue candles for Battle Stations and the most wonderful phone call from my new Sailor that lasted all of 10 minutes because he was so tired after Battle Stations, PIR weekend was FINALLY here!!!

First some advice, as soon as you get your form letter from your recruit telling you their address and their PIR date make your hotel reservations immediately.  You can always cancel them should they get ASMO'd, but you do want to make sure you have arrangements for the hotel you want - they all do book up pretty full each weekend.  Second piece of advice, there are TONS of hotels in the Waukegan/Gurnee area.  Don't just look at the ones that will come on the flyer in your packet.  Go to or and search hotels in Waukegan, Gurnee, Lake Forest, Libertyville, etc...  and definitely ask if they offer a Navy Graduation discount when you call... definitely call them directly, don't book online you won't get the discount.

We decided to stay at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Waukegan/Gurnee.  It is in the Fountain Square area surrounded by a Super Walmart, Chili's, Chipotle's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Denny's, McDonalds, etc...  you could walk to any one of these places with no problem if you are tired of sitting.  I cannot say enough about the Springhill and their staff.  The hotel is very new, I believe about 3 years old.  We booked a two-queen bed suite, which had two queen sized beds, which were separated by the living area by a desk with glass sliding windows you could close for a little bit of privacy.  The couch in the living area pulled out into a sofa bed, which worked out great when our new Sailor came back Sunday morning and just wanted to nap but his younger siblings were still snoozing away in their beds.  The living area also has a mini-fridge, coffee maker and a microwave.  The bathroom is divided into two parts.  One room of the bathroom has a shower, which has three separate spouts with two focused on your back, and it also has a sink.  The other room of the bathroom has the toilet and the sink.  Both rooms close with sliding doors.  This was very convenient as we ended up with an extra sailor who didn't have family with him over liberty weekend so the boys could use each facility at different times and still have their privacy.  The staff was beyond wonderful!  They were always willing to answer questions helpfully and with a smile.  Their bartender Chuck, who actually works at Great Lakes, gave so many helpful hints - like how to get to GL RTC the backway without encountering all the traffic on Buckley Road.  (Take Lewis Road!)  The overnight maintenance staff actually opened the breakfast bar and got milk for my daughter at 1 a.m. because they didn't sell milk in their market.  They also let our group take over the pool & patio area for a pizza party for our sailors on Sunday.  I highly recommend this place!  You will definitely not be disappointed if you stay here.

After driving 7 1/2 hours for what should have been just over a 5 hour drive, we went on over to the Ramada for the Meet & Greet.  I cannot stress enough how awful this place was.  This is NOT a N4M only M&G, this is open to any & all Naval families which is wonderful, but I was only interested in finding the moms/wives/girlfriends/dads from N4M that had literally become my Navy Boot Camp Rock over the past 8 weeks.  These people have become like family to you... you have shared your concerns, your fears, your tears, your laughter, and sometimes have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with you burning blue candles for Battle Stations for your recruits to become sailors and praying that they have passed their PFA's, Academic Tests and ultimately Battle Stations.  All you are going to want to do when you walk through the door to the M&G is to find these people who now carry a piece of your heart with them and give them a great big hug.  There is no other feeling in the world like hugging someone who has lifted you up during these 8 months.  It's like you've found your long lost friend, and I did not get that experience while at the Ramada.  It was so dark I couldn't even find my own daughter and mistakenly took another child by the hand.  This M&G is held in a bar, has a distinct moldy smell, had broken glass all over the parking lot (no wonder someone from our group got a flat tire while there!), and over priced drinks.  $2.50 for a soda!  After spending 45 minutes there literally arguing with people who were not N4M who were taking friendship pins & lanyards we made for our N4M family we left and went to Anastasia's Restaurant to meet more N4M members for dinner.  This place was lovely.  They put us in their private room, which isn't huge but was nice, and we all had dinner, drinks, and could actually sit and talk and hear and see each other.  It was wonderful!  Yes the service could be a bit slow - I think we overwhelmed them with the number or people and orders, but the food was good, and their prices were reasonable.m If your PIR Group is looking for a nice place I would recommend contacting Nick or Katherine from Anastasia's and set your Meet & Greet up there.  Flanagans also has nice facilities for hosting M&G's, but I didn't eat there, just stopped and peeked in so I could inform future PIR Groups of their options.  We are not sheep, and do not have to do what the previous PIR Groups have done.  Do your own M&G and make it yours, and make it memorable!  You do have options, the Ramada does not have the patent on the M&G.

Now for the really important part of the weekend - PIR!!!

Friday morning!  I know I didn't sleep a wink all night - I was like a child waiting on Santa!  I kept peeking at the clock, just willing 5:30 a.m. to come rolling around so I could wake my husband and three other children up!  I was so excited I could barely contain myself.  We were all up, ready and met the rest of our party down in the lobby.  I had threatened everyone that if they weren't in the lobby by 6:20 a.m., I was leaving without them.  We all were in our cars by 6:20 a.m. because we were all so excited to get going and see our new Sailor!  We left the hotel parking lot around 6:25 a.m., and there was a line of people waiting on the hotel shuttle.  We decided not to take the shuttle because we had so many people in our party, and because I have two little ones still in car seats.  We rolled through the gates of RTC at 6:40 a.m., were directed to park right next to the little building that houses the check-in desks (attached to the NEX) and were in line to get checked in.  That took no time at all, they were very efficient at checking your ID's and getting you out to begin your walk to PIR Hall.  We were in the bleachers right on the floor about 5 or 6 rows up just after 7 a.m.  Even when we got there, there were already a ton of people in the bleachers.  Unfortunately we didn't get the coveted top row, but I was so happy we were in the right division so we could see our Sailor clearly once he came out.  There are no words to describe the actual PIR Ceremony, and I'm not going to ruin the surprise of the ceremony itself for those that haven't experienced it.  It will literally take your breath away.  Bring lots of kleenex, and if you wear mascara be sure to wear waterproof!  The tears will come!  Make sure you have your cameras and your batteries are charged and your memory stick is inserted.  Between the 11 of us, we had 5 cameras and had some really nice pictures.  Do play with your camera before the ceremony starts to make sure you are getting good pictures.  Some point & shoots have pictures that come out really dark if you keep it on the automatic setting.  I used both P&S's and an SLR and after playing with the different options I found landscape worked the best.  Also tell your Sailor to stay put with their division on the floor so after liberty is called you can run to the floor to find him or her!  It's the only way to find them with the thousands of people who will all be rushing towards the floor.  After liberty is called you will only have 15 minutes to take pictures in liberty hall - so be quick!  When you are ushered out the door do NOT take any more photos.  Outdoor photos are forbidden, please follow this rule!  It's in place as a security measure to keep our sailors and everyone stationed at Great Lakes safe.  The rules are all in place for a reason.  It will take some time for your sailor to walk back to their ship to pick up their graduation photos, wallets, liberty pass, etc... so be patient.  But also be respectful of everyone else around you waiting for their sailors.  Always remember there are a lot of families there with young children, so control your language.  I was appalled at some of the things being said right over my children's head.  Also remember this is a formal ceremony, not a picnic by the lake.  Short skirts & short short's are inappropriate today... nobody wants to see your business.  Dress respectfully, but comfortably.  You will be sitting, and walking a bit.  It is really cold in PIR Hall, so if you get cold easily bring a sweater!

Once your Sailor comes back, it's time to go have fun!!!  But remember your Sailor has been under a lot of stress and constant commands for the past 8 weeks.  All they may want to do is go back to the hotel and chill out.  Bring them some comfy clothes to lay around in.  Don't be surprised if the first thing they want to do is take a long, hot shower by themselves.  They've been taking 5 minute showers with 80 other people for the past 8 weeks, a shower is a luxury right now.  Don't be surprised if you ask what they want to do and they have no clue!  Again they haven't been able to make a decision for themselves for a long, long time and go into social shock when they have the opportunity to make a decision.  All my Sailor wanted to do was visit with family, see a movie, hang around the hotel and eat some food.  His PIR was actually on his little sisters birthday so he let her pick the place to eat.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory in Lake Forest off Milwaukee Road and had a great time celebrating PIR & her birthday!  Then all he wanted was to go back to the hotel to relax and catch up with his facebook, email and visit with family.  He kept checking his watch every 2 1/2 minutes, which also wasn't much of a surprise.  They are told to be back at X time for muster, and they want to be early so they don't get their shipmates in trouble, which will result in a loss of liberty.  Unfortunately Friday night we had 2-3 Sailors who were late for liberty so our Sailors lost 2 hours of liberty for Saturday night.  So please have your Sailors back on time.  As much as we've missed them and want every minute we can get with them they are now accountable to the Navy and their shipmates.  They can and will lose liberty which isn't fair to their new shipmates who are following the rules and being responsible.

Saturday morning he told me to be in the same parking lot we parked in for PIR, which is between the NEX and the Chapel.  I was there at 7:30 a.m., and got to see new recruits marching into RTC, as well as PIR Groups still in bootcamp marching and singing their little chants.  Then in the distance, I see our new Sailors in their "Peanut Butter" uniforms marching in formation signing their chants and marching so nice!  They even did a little performance march once they reached the cross walk.  This is an experience not to be missed!  You will get the gist of what they've been doing watching them march to the parking lot, get there early so you can see this and go stand on the grass as close to the sidewalk as you can get!  Once they are dismissed you can now take your Sailor.  Right around 8 a.m. we were in the parking lot letting some other Sailors use our phone to call their families and very faintly in the distance you hear the National Anthem being played.  Immediately our Sailors stood at attention, or if in the car sat at attention, it was amazing to watch!  Several of them had been in the middle of a conversation and immediately stopped, stood at attention and didn't move an inch.  Then you heard a buggle and as soon as the bugle stopped, they immediately picked the conversation back up where they left off without missing a beat.  I was SO impressed with this!  My point in mentioning this experience is to let you know it will happen, and to please be respectful when it does.  So many people around us continued to talk, or drive their cars.  If you are driving, roll down your window so you can hear it and immediately stop your vehicle.  After leaving base, we went back to the hotel and again they wanted showers.  I had an adopted Sailor Son with me who had no family in town for PIR, and he also took a shower and laid down for a bit.  After resting, all they wanted was a movie and chinese food.  So back to Lake Forest area we go and they went to a Regal Cinema right off Milwaukee to see a movie.  Then over to North Brook we went to PF Changs for Chinese Food.  They had to be back to base at 6:30 p.m. for Muster, so they didn't have much time with us - but we enjoyed every minute of it.

Sunday morning you have the option of going to religious services with your Sailor.  Mine did not want to go, and the weekend being all about him I was fine with that.  Back to the hotel for yet another shower (see a theme here), and then to run errands to get his laptop replaced, and to get a cell phone since he needed one for his A-school.  There is a T-Mobile right in the Fountain Square area and they have the cheapest monthly rates and highest Navy discount of any carrier I've found.  I drove my Sailor there, but let him do all the talking.  He was SO proud of himself doing this very "grown up" thing all by himself getting a cell phone and broadband plan without mommies help!  It was a kick to just sit there, shut my mouth and let him do it!  After that we headed back to the hotel where we met up with a group of moms from N4M that had Sailors in my sons division.  All us moms got extremely close during boot camp, and it was invaluable to us to get our Sailors together for a quick pizza & pool party at the hotel.  They all sat around eating their pizza and telling us all their amazing stories from boot camp.  I highly recommend doing this with your N4M friends.  It was a memory none of us will ever forget.  The rest of his afternoon was spent just lazing around the hotel, playing on the computer, teasing his brothers & sisters and telling his stories.  It really surprised me because he talked about wanting to go into Chicago, but then when PIR Weekend came he really didn't want to do anything much at all other than hang with us (awe!) without the distraction of playing tourist or trying to keep us entertained.  Take the clues from your Sailor!  The PIR weekend should be all about them because they've earned the right to call all the shots.  Unfortunately it seemed the weekend went by all too fast, and it was time to bring my Sailor back to base.  On the way back he asked me if we'd consider staying until Tuesday since he was moving over to A school at Great Lakes on Tuesday and would be able to get his stuff from us then.  Luckily we could since we had no work or school commitments, and we got to spend almost 3 hours with him during his liberty on Tuesday after he checked into A School.  If your Sailor is staying at GL, I would highly recommend being flexible and sticking around.  That extra little bit of time was so precious to me.  I got him basically all to myself without grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc... eating away some of my time with him.

I've tried to share my experiences to help future PIR groups plan their trips,  I found this site invaluable leading up to my sailors PIR.  I would be happy to answer any questions for anyone who has them.  Above all enjoy the experience.  It really is a once in a lifetime event that you will cherish forever.  Congratulations to all our new Sailors!

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you so much for sharing this experience. My son just left on Oct. 5, I still don't know when his PIR will be or have an address or anything. I did get "the box" last Friday. This is all so new to me, I don't even know which questions to ask. And you went ahead and answered them anyway! Thanks again.

WOw this was so wonderful to read........I will for sure share this with our PIR, especially about the M&G... This is not the first post I have read about Ramada not being very nice place and your right... this is OUR sailors and OUR  M&G and will make this as memoriable as possible....

Hi - I've just joined N4M and see that your SR is in the same ship & div as my SR. Is there a separate group for each ship & div? Is it all by PIR (02/11/11)? Looking forward to hearing from you!
MomofAhouseful   here is the link to your PIR group

Here is another discussion with lots of useful information on PIR.

I have summarized information on where to stay:

From Andie3 on December 14, 2010
We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Gurnee. It was fabulous! They have a pool/ hot tub, a great breakfast is offered for free and different hot things every day. Gurnee is about 10 minutes from the training center and full of places to eat and shop. My son spent a ton of time at the outlet mall and Target buying boxer briefs and Starbucks! He also bought a DS for his flight to his A school. *giggle* Your son should know before hand if he is grad n go. When is his PIR? Do you have enough time to write and ask him?

From PattiM-proud mom of sailor Alex on December 11, 2010
Hampton Inn in Libertyville is very nice and includes morning breakfast, pool and hot tub. We had 2 Queen size beds and a pull out couch, refridge and microwave . We did not know in advance that we would have our son with us for the entire weekend, so our extra space worked great for sleeping and conversation. Libertyville has some good restaurants too and is 15-20 minutes from the base. Took the train into Chicago for sightseeing $7.00 per person for unlimited trips on the weekend( free for those in military uniform-the water taxi in Chicago took us to the Navy Pier -also free for those in uniform). We actually drove into Chicago on Sunday and parking was $14.00 for the day and traffic was no problem.

From cheryllynn-proud mom of a sailor on November 4, 2010
We stayed at the Courtyard, Marriott in Waukegan. Very nice hotel. Very helpful and pleasant employees.
Breakfast is served in the lobby area each morning. You can order buffet or menu and you have to pay.
There is a shuttle taxi service that you can sign up for at a charge of $6.00 a person each way. I think it may be a little cheaper for the Sailor. They will also bring your Sailor back to base in the evening if need be. We decided to use the shuttle in the morning to PIR, even though we had a rental car, just to get there easily and find our bearings. We did get dropped off at the opposite end of the entrance to the hall so if you go in the winter prepare for a walk to get in. Dress warm. I believe any shuttle service has the same drop off spot so you will have to walk.

From Dillions Mom *Sailor* on November 6, 2010
we stayed at Springhill Suites, it was very nice, clean, staff was friendly. I would not recoment taking a shuttle to the PIR, we waited for this lady to come and she drove a mini van, she didnt do it that often so she was confused where to drop us off, it was a ways from graduation and we walked completly around the base to get there. she is usually a school bus driver and her van only held 7 people at a time. if we had to do over, we would of drove.

From Sassafras Proud Mom of a Sailor on November 7, 2010
We stayed at the Days Inn in Waukegan -- which was basically an okay place to stay... clean, refrig & microwave, but no pool or spa and no great restaurants nearby and a LONG/SLOW 8 miles to the base. On the other hand, Gurnee and Libertyville seemed to have LOTS of interesting things to do. ~~~

From Sassafras Proud Mom of a Sailor on November 7, 2010
About accommodations: If it's in your budget ($170+ per night for 2 adults + 2 kids), this place in Gurnee looks like a hoot. They have an indoor waterpark... which we found out about on our last day in town... so I really know nothing about it other than what's on their website... still, I guaratee you, had we stayed at the waterpark hotel we would likely not have done anything but swim and play the whole weekend...

From TRea’s Mom (ship 09 div 015) on December 6, 2010
Just stay away from the Super 8 in the 600 block of Green Bay Road in Waukegan. The prices are reasonable, but we stayed there and it's on my list to not repeat that mistake. The cops had to be called the last night we were there for a party across the hall that got very loud and profane. Not good!

Also from TRea’s Mom on December 4, 2010
But we did come upon a couple of experiences in the Great Lakes area that I would like to pass along. First, regarding choice of a hotel, DO NOT stay at the Super 8 on Green Bay Road. We chose it first and foremost because of the price. We just couldn't afford to spend a lot on accomodations, but for what we got, it was way overpriced. The showers were terrible, not much water pressure and the water temperature was all over the scale, first hot and then cold, without touching the control. Also the shower curtain was hanging by a very loose set of screws and we had to be careful not to pull the rod off the wall. The hotel is generally rundown and they are obviously not investing anything in it. The beds were okay at best. But the worst was the very loud party that took place across the hall from my room, and I do mean loud!! There was music so loud the floor was vibrating and then the party spilled out into the hall with people yelling curse words. Finally the police were called and they arrested some people. When I talked to the hotel manager about taking something off my bill for inconvenience, he said they handled it the best they could and would not be giving any discount.

From Joshuas PROUD MomofaSAILOR on December 16, 2010
Hey Y'all - I've only been on here a few times since PIR (10/29/10) - I just found this discussion and didn't see any mention of the Navy Lodge - which is where we stayed. Only $65, per night NO taxes - and we had a very decent room. It's a no frills place, but we had a room with a small kitchen - stove top, microwave, coffee maker and fridge. The staff was WONDERFUL! We had arrived about an hour and a half prior to check in time, but the manager allowed us to go ahead and check in (I guess we looked as exhausted as we were after our all-nighter of driving!). It was just down the road from the graduation hall, and there was an NEX express just around the corner (They were mainly like a convenience store - with gas pumps).

From Tee-1sailor’s mom on October 2, 2009
We stayed at the Residence Inn, Waukegan. It was wonderful. We got a AAA discount so I booked a 1 br suite. Full kitchen, (everything but an oven). If you are there on Thurs. night they have a free dinner buffet, and hot breakfast every day. The staff is also very helpful with directions, etc. We told them we were going to PIR and they had a packet of information for us.

My son wanted to mostly hang out and eat. There's a Walmart and several eating places really close. The Mall is about 20 minutes away. We went to the movies there and if you want to shop, it's nice.

From Heloisa on July 3, 2008
I stayed at the Quality Inn, in Waukegan. It was very nice. They let us have a room with two double beds, and when we told them we were bringing our daughter, they charged only $10 more for her to stay in the room. They also have a huge poster board in the lobby, with pictures of more than 500 Navy graduates, and a banner congratulating the graduates. The rooms are nice, and they fold the towels in the bathroom in a format of flowers. They are about 5 minutes away from the Base by car, and they offer Continental breakfast.

From Sheryl on July 3, 2008
We stayed at the Homewood suites in Linconshire last weekend. It was Very nice, totally worth it...Be sure to ask at the front desk how to get to the base taking the side road, its a very easy drive and that way you miss the tolls and all that traffic on 94!!!

From Georgia on July 4, 2008
I checked out a bunch of hotels when visiting my son at the Great Lakes, IL Navy base, and I found the Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Waukegan/Gurnee ( They are listed in the Navy brochure. It is the best hotel ever! We checked in and they gave us a ton of information about the graduation, shuttle information and a huge "Navy Family" welcome packet. It had directions to everything you could think of plus Chicago transportation info and tons of restaurants and things to do in the area. When we came back from graduation, the hotel had a huge color poster put out "congratulations graduates" with cookies and their free fresh fruit water/coffee & tea they have out every day. The staff was more than accommodating. I never travel but I felt at home with the staff and the very comfortable, clean non-smoking hotel. The hotel was not a party hotel like most hotels in the area, it was very quiet and as a single woman I felt very safe. It was very modern and more upscale than any hotel in waukegan/gurnee and has beautiful marble floors in the lobby. Anyways I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this hotel and it you want a nice place to take your graduate back to, this is the place!

From 209mikesmom on April 26, 2010
Just got back from PIR this past weekend! What an experience! We stayed at the Residence inn. We had a 2 bedroom suite. It was really nice. It had a full kitchen. We were able to use points cause my husband travels a lot. We also used the shuttle service. Everything went smooth. New moms hang in there. Keep writing, they love getting letters. your turn will be here before you know it. Good luck to all of you and your sailors.


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