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Our son is graduation on Dec 5th....any guidance/suggestions on dress for the day?  Our daughter will be attending with us.  Can't wait to see him!  Also, we've not heard from him, but it appears from the letter we got that he will leave the day after graduation for A School.....does anyone know if they get leave for that Friday (day of PIR)?  Trying to see if we can schedule a little dinner/lunch out somewhere....no word from our son yet!

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I've been through this before with my oldest son. We'll be sitting very cramped on bleachers, so dress comfortably. It will be cold at first, then warm as people crowd in. She may be able to tell you where she'll be standing so you can choose a bleacher sort of close by. My advice is to have her stay put and you go to her. Otherwise, you may lose each other in the crowd. She may not see where you are sitting, but you will definitely see her in her Ship.

I wore a bright red top and told my son ahead of time to look for red, but he still couldn't see me. He stood still when they were dismissed and I was beside him in just a minute. Good luck and enjoy the trip!

Thanks very much!

They will have liberty on that Friday evening.  He will know when his curfew is.

(Liberty is normal time off such as weekends/afternoons, leave is when they take and use their paid vacation days.)

Thanks --- that was another question we had!  Our son is not a huge letter writer, so we aren't sure we'll hear from him!!!

Hi Barb. Our son graduated in early fall 2011, so we missed the snow and cold weather. We are from California, so I was a bit worried about the cold. LOL. We dressed for fall weather. It wasn't cold at all. Not sure what it'll be like for you on Dec 5th. It's semi-casual dress. Pants are fine. You most likely will be climbing some bleachers. As far as your plans, I remember right after the ceremony, we were allowed to go with our sailor to a indoor "food court" area right on the grounds. We walked over. You aren't allowed to take any pictures, outside, though. We had a quick bite to eat and a quick, crowded visit with him and a lot of other families. He had to return to his quarters to finalize some paperwork . I think about moving out and into his school. (Is your son staying there for A school? or is he off to another city?) We went back to our hotel and waited for his call. He finally called in the evening and we picked him up and brought him and a friend back to our hotel. If it isn't too late, you may want to consider booking a hotel suite, complete with a mini kitchen. We stayed at Residence Inn in Waukegan.It wasn't super fancy, but we loaded up on groceries from a nearby Walmart and ended up making dinner for our son and his friend. Turns out my son was sooo tired and all they wanted to do was eat and sleep and go on FB and check in with their friends. Our plans to do a fabulous dinner at a nice restaurant were totally derailed. Haha. This hotel suite turned out to be the best investment. We actually had two suites booked and we  took the dining room table out of one and brought it together with the other to fit all our family together. It was such a relaxing meal. No traffic, no tips, no stress. Also, you may want to bring your sailor's favorite sweats or jammies to change into so he could nap. That was some great advice by another Navy mom. They boys did have to get back on base ON TIME that night, dressed properly. (My son forgot his reflective belt! We had to turn around.) My advice is to just be open to doing nothing. A lot of people celebrate by going to Navy Pier and seeing the sights, but if you're limited on time, you may want to consider having a dinner like ours. Best wishes to you and your sailor!!

Thanks so much!  All great advice.  We are driving in from Maryland and staying with some friends who live in Gurnee (only 10 minutes from the base).  Appreciate the tip on the dress...I was trying to figure out if I need to wear a skirt or dress...but since we'll be climbing bleachers (most likely)...think i'll stick to pants!  Appreciate all the advice.  We're so proud of him...no word yet though...!!!

How was the drive. I'm driving from VA.

I've made the drive from Cleveland more than a few times and it really isn't bad. I'm not sure how much longer it would take from VA. It takes about 6-6 1/2 hours from Cleveland, Ohio. Its a straight shot until you get to IL. And theres almost no traffic until you get to IL. One thing I would like to note... Your GPS may suggest you take 90 and go up through the city, it will take you the same amount of time, probably less, if you take 294. 294 is a Toll Road but personally, I would rather pay a few extra dollars to drive instead of sit in horrible traffic for god only knows how long. The city traffic really does stink. I've tried both ways more than once and I always take 294 now. Once you get more north it turns into 94. If you get off at 137 AKA Buckley Rd it will take you directly to base. The next exit is 120 AKA Belvidere Rd. This exit takes you right past a rather large complex with Walmart, Buffalo Wild Wings some fast food and a few shops. There are three hotels right around this shopping complex, SpringHill Suites,  Holiday Inn and Candlewood suites. (across the street from the Holiday Inn.)

If your rout takes you on a lot of toll roads, it may be worth it to get an Ezpass or Ipass. They do save time and its so much less of a hassle. I know if you rent a car you can also rent an electronic toll thingy.

Our son graduated in sept. 2013 - we left the base shortly after PIR - a quick tour around base and then the afternoon with him to hang out back at the hotel then went out to eat at Chipotle(he was thrilled) and then some time just being together at a nearby mall.  He had to be back to base by 8pm or so and was supposed to fly out that night.  However, we were excited to hear that his flight was delayed until Saturday night so we stayed an extra night at the hotel and had an extra day with him.  It really was wonderful!  We got to PIR early in hopes of getting a good seat, which we did(on the floor right in front of his division), but as people began piling in, we were completely squashed...very uncomfortable.  Our daughter will graduate this coming January and I think we will try the balcony level this time.  You will see all types of clothing from jeans and t-shirts to dresses...I say be comfortable.  I would guess we could both have pretty chilly days at our upcoming PIRs!  Enjoy!

Looking for the parents of a "Paul" on Ship 04 Div 038.  I am not sure if you are on this site but I would like to talk to you.  It looks like I will be adopting him for Thanksgiving and thought you could send a care package I could surprise him with.  If you are out here. Please private message me with last name to confirm for privacy reasons.

S/B - What is his RATING? Rating will determine if he stays at GL or flies out.

RATING = JOB

RATE = PAY GRADE

This trips up everyone.

Ours graduated Jan this year, we had to get to Chicago from CA in that arctic freeze - but we did it - I would have walked if I had to!! Dress layers and comfortable. Sit on the top layer of the bleachers, you can see so much more, our son saw us with no issues up there. His division will dictate where you sit, get there EARLY so you can get in the line and get a good spot in front of his division at the top. You will get a 'I'm a sailor' call, get all the info from him then. Ours also didn't write - ONE letter in 8 weeks!! At one point I wasn't sure he was still alive!! After grad, tell him to stay put, you will find him in the crowd - best option. Ours had paper work, so we just stood around until he got that done (ALOT of people), then left back to the hotel. Relaxed etc. Then went out for a nice lunch, back to the hotel. All he wanted to do was shower, get in his jammies, sleep a little, talk and contact his friends oh and steak meal. He had to be back on base at 7pm. The following morning we then got up at 4am and met him at the airport where they flew out that morning (make sure he knows which airport - important info and they often are not listening!). Have fun and take tissues, VERY emotional and SUPER proud day. Congratulations!

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