INTRODUCTION: A place for parents and others who have attended PIR and graduation weekend to share comments, suggestions and ideas that will hopefully make it easier and more enjoyable for other familes who are preparing for their own PIR events.
WHAT TO DO: This is an 'interactive' forum, with each person encouraged to start new topics (by posting your comments in the 'blank' at the top of each page) -and- respond to individual posts (by clicking 'reply' on that particular post).
ALSO: Over time, I will be organizing some of the posts herein as a sort of 'guide' which will be static -- that is, there will be no new posts to that discussion... thus it will not actually be a 'discussion' but more of a factual and flowing narrative that takes the reader, moment by moment, through happy hours of PIR, covering the basics with good recommendations about what to do, what not to do, and how to do (or avoid) doing it.
To get started on this process, it would be very useful to hear from you regarding which posts and/or particular information do you think should be included? Sincerely, I look forward to hearing from you and transcribing our collective wisdom for those who will attend PIR soon.
Prior to graduation I found the site where we could re order Division t shirts and such...the ones with the creative division design, but now I cant seem to locate it....PRI date 6-28-13...any suggestions?
The info on that is within Division T-Shirts, Graduation Photos, The Keel, and DVD of PIR.
That is an awesome review!! My son graduates 9/20. Thank you for the insight!!
We were just at PIR last weekend, 9/13/13. What an incredible experience. We had our own vehicle to get around town but we took advantage Sarge's services. Sign up for Sarge's meet & greet and get what information that will apply to you. That is the way to go. His drivers know exactly where to drop you off and pick you up. If your hotel has a shuttle take advantage of it. There are wall to wall people and I could not imagine what the parking was like. Our driver picked us up about 6:20 at our hotel and got us right over there. We were about 20 or more in line at the beginning of the line, walked to the center to check in then waited up close by the door for it to open. Once inside you just scramble for your division sign and sit in front of the sign.
It is just such an awesome experience. You do walk a lot. After we picked up our daughter for her liberty on Friday we just went to the hotel and visited in the quiet so we could hear her stories. On Saturday we went exploring in downtown Chicago and to Dairy Queen for a blizzard - that was her request. Just getting to see her was the highlight of our trip. I wish we would have had a little more time with her. Having to get back home to work on Monday made our trip a little short since we had to get back. We did not get to see her on Sunday so our goodbye on Saturday night was the saddest. Now I wish I would have taken Monday off. Hind sight.
Cherish each moment you have with your sailor. I didn't care if I saw anything outside that hotel as long as I got to see her and hear her voice. We did hit some hot spots & ate Chicago Pizza!
God bless your new recruits coming up. Have fun with your sailors. When they first leave for bc it seems like a lifetime away to hear from them and get to see them again. At about the halfway point the time starts to fly by and then the actual countdown seems to snowball. Before I knew it I was in Chicago sitting in the stands watching her march by. Lots of tears. Watch the graduations on the sight to get a feel for what to expect. Oh, I have to quit I just keep rambling but it was the best experience I have ever had. Enjoy!
Hello from a Texas mom. Mine graduated 11-8-13. He is on hold at Great Lakes until January for damage control. We went to Sarge's meet and greet. In fact, David his partner,picked us up from the airport. We stayed at Residence Inn. We got the suite with a kitchen. The hotel
had a van that will drive you within 3 mile radius at no charge. He took us to Walmart for food. They had a grill that my husband cooked steaks. On saturday, the van took us to Buffalo Wild Wings and the Nex off base, at no charge...very nice we did tip him.
At the time Sarge's company couldn't drive onto the base just for 30 days and other cabs took us. From your hotel, plan on $15 there and $15 back. Thats $60 a day. The kindest was red and black taxi...Topi is the driver. Very kind and your sailor can walk to the gate, Topi can drive you back to the "pier" and you can walk to your sailors barricks. The first guy we had, didn't have a card,so I had to walk to the barricks, sign my sailor out and walk back. It took a good 30 minutes. I didn't know the same guy too our son back and he had to walk in the dark back on friday after he graduated. Soooo..make sure whatever cab you use can drive on base. Of course, your sailor has to be in the cab in order to drive on base (through the gate) in the first place.
One driver Cal was extremely rude, practically yelling at me because my sailor didnt sign out with a buddy. He didnt know anybody first of all. He even yelled at my son when he got into the van. He said get your seatbelt on, (he barely had even sat down). My son, said yes sir. Cal replied.."My name is Cal not sir don't call me that. Right when I got in to ride to the base, he started in"why am I taking you?" etc. I was almost in tears. I wish I could report him, but just don't use him.. Topi is the best and sweetest and he charges $10 one way instead of $15. Also, those cabs parked at the pier, you can get them to take you to the gate if perhaps you drove your car and had to walk to the barricks, they charge I believe $3 and it would be well worth it. David is Sarge's partner. He is very kind and happy to help you. I told Sarge how rude this Cal was, they apologized and made up for his rudeness. Other than jerky cab drives "Bigg" James and Cal both drive white vans ..we had a great weekend..just ended too soon. We had to check out by 1 so, David took us to train station, met Topi there and he took us to the pier and we spent 2 1/2 hours with our son. Topi was there when it was time to leave and he took us back to meet David. Sarge and David do take care of you. Btw, we flew Southwest from Dallas to Midway. I still think the cabs are cheaper than renting a car. Have a wonderful weekend with your sailor.
It's very easy. When you check in at the NavyLodge, their staff is very helpful. They will provide you withe a map of the graduation area of the base with directions on the best access. In your sailors letter for graduation there should be instructions on how to print your base pass for your vehicle. You will not see your sailor until Liberty Call at end of graduation. When you arrive in the hall, there wil be sailors on the main floor with a sign for where each division will stand for graduation ceremony. Sit in the corresponding bleachers. Plan to arrive early enoguh to proceed through security checks. You will be able to get coffee or a snack from refreshment stands on the floor while waiting and there is a large video screen showing a film about the Navy History to pass the time. The sailors will parade in by division, divisions arrive in numerical order so it will be easy to tell when to pay closer attention. When Liberty is called, guests are invited to the main floor....your child is like a magnet... even in a crowd of 2,000 you will find him easily. Best wishes to your family. Bring binoculars if you have them...the sailors all tend to look a like from a distance haha.
Marsha, there is info on your My Page to help you plan for PIR.
We drove as it is very close and that way we were on our own time table.
There is some walking involved and there are elevators to the upper deck of seating. The upper deck gives a better view when looking down for your sailor.
If you can't walk far, drive onto the RTC. See the info in PIR Day and Liberty During PIR Weekend.
That was great that the extras were allowed to go to the chapel and then to the balcony to watch.
Others, know that extras are to wait in the hotel and watch the Live Stream from there. They should only go to the RTC when staying at the hotel is not an option, such as when loved ones drive in from within Illinois or Michigan or the surrounding area and are not staying at a hotel. This has also been an option for loved ones with additional children that could not stay alone at the hotel, but then someone on the Access List had to go to the Chapel with the child/children. (Email the PAO ahead of time if you have a legitimate need for this and don't assume that this option is available for every PIR.)
diannep contacted the PAO at the RTC about this in the fall of 2013 when this was started and here is the answer she received:
We would like extra guests to stay off base to watch the PIR live streamed. If a guest absolutely needs to be on base and is not on the guest list they will go to the Chapel.
Brian E. Walsh
Public Affairs Specialist
Recruit Training Command
Public Affairs Office
USS YORKTOWN (Bldg 7330)
Great Lakes, IL 60088
Office - (847)688-2405
Fax - (847)688-6268
Email - email@example.com
She also confirmed that there is a Live stream of PIR in the Chapel.
We had a couple of guests who were supposed to be on the list, but we couldn't reach the sailor to confirm that changes had been made. Our sailor actually wasn't on the lists of 2 tables. Had to go to a third area to verify our guests and ID's. Both guests were prepared to leave if they had not been added.
I believe that may occur when recruits make last minute changes to their lists.
Sailors don't submit the names for the Access List until 3 to 10 days before PIR, so there are no "last minute" changes to the Access List. The names on the form letter are for loved ones and have not been submitted to anyone at the RTC. It is important to let the SR know who will be attending before the last 2 weeks of PIR so that there are no surprises and everyone is aware of who is on the Access List and who should wait at the hotel.