This site is for mothers of kids in the U.S. Navy and for Moms who have questions about Navy life for their kids.



Choose your Username.  For the privacy and safety of you and/or your sailor, NO LAST NAMES ARE ALLOWED, even if your last name differs from that of your sailor (please make sure your URL address does not include your last name either).  Also, please do not include your email address in your user name. Go to "Settings" above to set your Username.  While there, complete your Profile so you can post and share photos and videos of your Sailor and share stories with other moms!

Make sure to read our Community Guidelines and this Navy Operations Security (OPSEC) checklist - loose lips sink ships!

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."


**UPDATE - 2020**

Due to COVID there is no public PIR. The graduations are on Thursday, and the video of the graduation is posted on RTC's FaceBook on Friday at approx 3pm. Please keep in mind that a division may need to complete additional quarantine during training which will delay their graduation.

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.



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.





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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...

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. ~~~
My son has told us that since he is grad and go we can come out to the airport early Sat. morning and bring him his phone, ipod, laptop etc. to take with him to A school. Has anyone done this before? I read somewhere in here about needing a military pass to get out to his waiting area at the airport too. How do I go about getting this? Thanks any help would be appreciated. My son's PIR is 12-3-2010!
Hi Julsburd... My son was not G&G so I don't have any wisdom of experience to offer... However, the following comments from recent PIR attendees are responsive to your question about handing-off a cell phone at the airport:
If your new sailor waits by ticket counter for you, you can get in line to get a special gate pass to go through security with him/her and sit with them at the gate! If they are a G&G, you can also hand them their cell phone, ipod and laptop at the airport! ~~~
Since my son was grad and go to the Great Lakes A school, he had to check in with them and that took over 4 hours, however, we got to sign him out as a Libery Buddy and have him overnight - we had him til we had to get back to the airport the next day and now he can call whenever he wants. ~~~
We got to spend all day Friday with him after PIR, then we met him at the airport on Saturday morning (they use all three airports, so ask them to find out which one by PIR day!). He met us near the ticket counter, then we got in ticket line and requested special passes to go through security with him - which they will do for military families (and no, you don't need to be related or have same last name - just have your sailor with you and ID). We spent the next 4 hrs shopping and eating and relaxing at his gate - then watched the plane fly away. ~~~

Also, the following links have a lot more interesting commentary on what to expect and how to prepare for PIR. Most noticable to me is that rules and procedures seem to evolve over time and vary under different circumstances. And really, the only person who will know for sure what may or may not be permissible is YOUR SAILOR... Still, he or she must know the right questions to ask (smile) and knowing what other have (and have not) been able to do is certainly a good place to start gaining this understanding...!!!

Anyway, congrats on your upcoming PIR... it is a wonderful experience... still makes me misty-eyed just thinking about it. (((hugs)))
Wow Sassafras, that was a terrific response to my question! You are the best. I really got a lot out of the posts especially the part about letting your sailor just hang out and veg... don't plan to do much or anything at all. That was really good advice and something that I don't think I would have thought about. We were planning on remaining flexible but these comments really highlighted how important that will be. We will also have our son's bunkmate with us because his folks can't come so it will be really important for me to take lots of pictures of him for his parents. I am not a big picture taker but I will become one for the day. Both of these guys are Grad and go so we'll just have one short day with them. We used to live around Chicago so I am hoping they won't want to train it into town but if they do we'll go. Thanks again for your help. If I hadn't found this site I would have really been messed up on PIR day.
Thanks Julburd... I am very glad you found the info useful. We had one of my son's bunkmates with us for a day and it was like having another family member with us... Also, we took the train to Chicago and it was a real hoot since none of my kids (I had 3 of my 5 with me, counting our Sailor) had ever been on a train or to the Windy City... (((hugs)))
Hello siouxpermom.. (love the word-play of your name ). My Sailor-son is in A-school at Great Lake and I'm happy to share what we expereinced PIR weekend. Starting with 'the box' -

It took a couple of weeks for the box and info-letter to get to me (we live in Arkansas), even though the box was shipped just a couple of days after he started bootcamp, so yours should be arriving soon.

As to how much Liberty (time off duty when Sailors may leave the base), there are a lot of variables but given your Sailor does go to A-school at Great Lakes, you will (pobably) have Friday (after graduation until about 7pm), Saturday (8am/7pm) and Sunday (8am/7pm)... however I must stress that this is NOT the same for everyone and only your Sailor will know for sure... AND (for example) he may not know until Saturday morning what time he will actually be free to leave the base.

As my son explained, this is because there are jobs that must be done on base (even though it is PIR weekend), and somebody's go to do them . So, for example, on Friday he was with us from the time PIR was over (10:35am) until about 7pm when and took him back to the NEX (which is as far 'on base' as most 'visitors' are allowed to go) so he had time to walk back to his 'ship' and check-in before Liberty officially ended. On Saturday and Sunday we picked him up about 9am and took him back to the NEX by 7pm.

Even though he was staying in Great Lakes and not startig A-school until Tuesday, we would not have been able to see him again after Sunday, nor could we leave any of his personal possessions (cell phone, etc.) with him. However, though the 'rules' are the same for everyone, the 'procedures' that apply to each Sailor are somewhat unique so this may not apply to you.

Graduation is generally on Friday -and- a list of upcoming graduation dates is posted at

Also, a timeline of events at the graduaton ceremony is posted at

Both of which are pages on the Navy's offcial Bootcamp site, which has a lot of other useful informtion

About all of this, my only words of wisdom are: Get a motel that is as close to the base as possible. Folks (like me) who live in rural areas tend to forget that 8-miles in the country may be only a 15-minute drive, but in the city it can take 30-minutes or more...

Also, if you can arrive on Thursday earlier in the day so you can take some time to look around for restaurants and other stuff that you and your son will enjoy. Also, the Meet & Greet (Thursday evening) at the Ramada is supposed to be really kewl... however we drove all night Wednesday night and by the time we checked into our motel on Thursday we were too pooped to go.

One other thing... at the NEX there is a game room and we had a lot of fun there. This was a really good way to 'end the day' as we could sit and visit and play pool and when it was time for our Sailor to head back to his ship we were already on base and so did not have to 'rush' to get him back on time.

Anyway, hope this helps. Lemme know if there's anything else you're curious about... and relax . It will all work out and you will have a wonderful time...!!!

Hope this helps...
You're a wealth of information - Thanks for sharing the links - had no idea I could check online for the graduation date!!!
My daughter's PIR is 12/22/10 and she told me that she is able to take leave for 13 days before going to A school in Pensacola, Florida. Does anyone know when we are able to bring her home? Right after graduation or will she need to stay the weekend. I am not sure how to go about getting a flight for her or just driving.
ameew here is the link to your PIR group
Hello ameew... I searched around the forums to see if anyone had commented about leave time right before the December holidays, but I found nothing specific to your circumstance.. except one comment which sorta sums-up a lot of what you and your soon-to-be Sailor will be experiencing: "Everything depends on his command. Don't go by what they are saying just yet, orders can change anytime, Welcome to the Military!"

With that in mind, from other general comments and what we experienced, your Sailor will most likely have liberty righ after PIR ends... however 'liberty' and 'leave' are different. Having liberty is like when you work a regular job 40 hours a week and when you are not at work you have time to yourself. Leave is like vaction time. And though it would make sense (to you and me) for your Sailor's 13-day leave to start right after PIR... only your Sailor will know for just how things are going to work. Still, since all the regular bootcamp operations are somewhat suspended over the holidays, and since Sailors (who are not Grad and Go) do go on liberty immediately after the graduation ceremony concludes, I will keep my fingers crossed that your daughter's leave commences at the same time... but again, only she will know for sure and she may not know until the very last minute...

Thus my suggestion would be to make the most flexible arrangements possible . If driving is an option, it might be preferable since inclement weather can mess up air schedules pretty bad with no warning. At least if you're driving, you're together ... which would sure be a whole lot better than spending your Sailor's leave time sitting in an airport waiting for a snow-delayed flight. But then, I enjoy driving...!!!

Anyway, hope this helps a little. I know the 'not knowing' is nerve-wracking, especially when time together is precious and we want to make the most of it. Still, all we can do is make the best plans we can... and plan to enjoy whatever comes. (((hugs)))
One more thing.... I read on another forum that if your Sailor is going on leave after PIR and then traveling on to A-school, that you need to send a written itinerary of whatever travel plans you make to your recruit... no matter if he or she is flying, taking the train or even if you are driving, "they will need a written itinerary of their travel plans from Great Lakes to home and also travel plans from home to A school." Hope this helps... (((hugs)))
The sailors graduating right before the holiday are being offered the opportunity to take holiday leave. They do need an itinerary, driving is acceptable. They will have a list of rules to follow. One of these is commonly that she will not be allowed to drive. Makes sense, she hasn't been doing it for eight weeks. If you are driving her home, bring comfy clothes for the ride, and a garment bag to protect her uniform. She can change when she is officially on leave and far enough away from the base (wink wink says the old sailor). Save receipts, she will file a travel claim when she checks into her school.

She will be uptight after boot camp. Let her have her space if she needs it.

Do NOT lose her leave papers. THAT is big time trouble when she returns and tries to check in.


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