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."

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.

Format Downloads:

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.)

N4M Merchandise

Shirts, caps, mugs and more can be found at CafePress.

Please note: Profits generated in the production of this merchandise are not being awarded to the Navy or any of its suppliers. Any profit made is retained by CafePress. Para Familias

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



Things to Do in the Last Month before Your Future Sailor Leaves for RTC

As you prepare for your future Sailor to leave, breathe and take one day at a time.

Read OPSEC and PERSEC (Making Changes To Your Profile) within Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) and start practicing OPSEC and PERSEC now. You will most likely need to change the Privacy Settings for your My Page from "Anyone" to "Members" (or to "Just My Friends" if your future Sailor has a contract for a special ops or Spook rating) and there may be other changes that you need to make.

Your future Sailor may want to join to learn the ins and outs from the DEP point of view. There are also flash cards to assist with learning the info for the DEP PQS online at, (type Navy DEP in the Search box), and other sites. Quizlet has a free App that your future Sailor can use on some Smart phones. Encourage your future Sailor to study the DEP START Guide and complete his/her DEP GUIDE PQS and get and stay in shape. The NAVY FITNESS & NUTRITION GUIDE will help him/her to know what to be doing to prepare and will give the standards that s/he must meet.  A recruit can be advanced to E-2 (or to E-3 if s/he entered as E-2) by successfully completing the DEP GUIDE PQS, passing a written multiple choice test with 80% or above at Recruit Training Command (RTC), and passing the PT-Baseline (the first PFA) with a SAT-MED. Completion of the DEP GUIDE PQS will be confirmed and documented by the Classifier at MEPS. (If the recruit does not have the signatures within the DEP GUIDE, s/he may still be able to be advanced by passing the test and initial PFA in some instances.) Working out ahead of shipping can help to prevent injuries while at RTC as well as helping to insure that the future Sailor is able to pass the PFA. (See Prevention of Stress Fractures for Those in DEP.) The YMCA in some areas and some health clubs and fitness centers offer free or reduced rate memberships to those in DEP.

The Navy does NOT teach recruits how to swim; some remediation is provided for those who need it, but it is not swim lessons. Recruits need to arrive at RTC with basic swim skills and the ability to float. Have your future Sailor practice in a pool before shipping.

It is very important that your future Sailor be physically fit prior to shipping to RTC and that s/he be able to pass an initial run test. "The initial run standard is evaluated on the 1.5 mile run of the first Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at boot camp. The initial run standard for male recruits will be 16 minutes 10 seconds and 18 minutes seven seconds for female recruits."


A MUST READ for All New Navy Parents within has some good info for future Sailors and their loved ones.

Make sure that your future Sailor stays healthy and injury free, especially in the last month, because even a small cut or blister on a hand or foot when s/he reports to MEPS can cause a future Sailor to be delayed in shipping.

A website that will have a lot of information for you and your future Sailor is There are tabs for you and your future Sailor. 

Here are some things you need to do in the last month before your future Sailor leaves:

  1. Assist your future Sailor in getting his/her slim black wallet ready. (Buy one in the men's department,

      even for the gals. We have seen recruits be able to keep other conservatively colored wallets and

      even a green wallet, so if your future Sailor already has a thin wallet that s/he is comfortable with, then

      use that because s/he will be less likely to send it home.) Tell your future Sailor to KEEP the wallet

      unless s/he is told specifically/personally to put it in the box.

      a. Driver’s license and DEP photo ID. [Check to see that your future Sailor's driver's license will

          not expire during boot camp. This is especially important for those with a contract for Aviation

          Boatswain's Mate - Fuels (ABF), Equipment Operator (EO), Master at Arms (MA), and Religious

          Program Specialist (RP). Sailors with contracts for those ratings have had to remain in holding

          in GL and have not been permitted to go to "A" School due to an expired driver's license. Some

          had to get a contract for a different rating or for one of the PACT Programs when a new license

          was not obtained by a specified date. Those with a contract in the Nuclear Field also need to have

          a current driver's license, but not having it does not cause delays until "A" School, so those with a

          contract for NF should also make sure to have it.]

      b. SS card—not a copy (Recruits have been put on hold when the SS card was forgotten and did

          not arrive at RTC by a specified date. If the SS card is lost, order a new one as soon as it is

          discovered to be lost.)

      c. a small amount of cash ($10-$25) Your future Sailor will be given a voucher for meals, but it's

          nice to have a little bit of pocket money. $10-$25 would not be enough if your then recruit is

          delayed in shipping and has to spend extra time at a hotel or airport due to storms or some

          other cause. The Navy picks up the tab for the hotel, but not always for food beyond what the

          voucher covers. Some recruits have received an additional food voucher, but others have not. If

          you check the weather and suspect that storms in Chicago or another location may delay your

          then Recruit, then you might want to be sure that s/he has $50-$60 to cover meals for up to two


      d. stamps (they can be purchased at RTC, but it is good not to have to)-- Don't send stationery

          as it takes up room and besides they get stationery, including

          envelopes, to use at RTC. I typically only suggest sending pre-addressed stamped

          envelopes if the recruit has relatives in another country since postage is higher and the recruit

           may not know or have the correct postage or if your recruit requests that you send some after a

          few weeks due to running out of RTC stationery.

      e. a few Band-Aids and a couple of strips of moleskin (make sure s/he knows how to use it to

          prevent/treat blisters; they can get these from medical, but it is good to have them early)

      f. Decide if s/he is going to use Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) (I suggest that s/he does.) or

          Armed Forces Bank or his/her own financial institution. S/He will need to have form 1199A

          completed at his/her bank (the bank has the form) if s/he will use that and put the form in

          his/her wallet and/or take a blank check. Recruits/Sailors are paid a day earlier if they use

          NFCU than if they do not—we have been seeing deposits to some other institutions also arrive

          a day early—and there is a branch located at most places where your future Sailor will be

          stationed. They also have the active military account which will reimburse your future Sailor for

          up to $20 on ATM fees every month.

          Your future Sailor can set up an account with NFCU prior to leaving for RTC by calling

          1-888-842-6328 and get the 1199A Direct Deposit Sign-up Form online at

          If your future Sailor has bills that s/he wants to set up to pay by allotment, have him/her take the

          information to set that up during P-days. S/He will need the name of the company/person, the

          phone number, the address and the account number or if the allotment is to be made to a

          person's bank account s/he will need the Bank routing number and the account number as 

          well as the person's name.

          (Paydays are the 1st and 15th, but recruits must be at RTC at least 3 full weeks to be paid

          on a pay day, so if you will be paying bills for your recruit, it is best to have enough back ahead

          of time to cover one to two month's bills because although your recruit will be paid from the first

          day, it could take 3 or 4 pay days for the pay to settle in to what it will be. If you are the spouse of

          a recruit, know that BAH has been paid in the first pay period for some, but others did not

          receive it until near the end of boot camp or after PIR, but it will eventually be caught up. If you

          are unable to put enough money back to cover the bills for the first month or so, then speak with

          the creditors and see if the bills can be suspended or payment delayed for a month until a

          deposit has been made. Payment on student loans may be deferred while the recruit is at the

          RTC. Not all institutions will defer the payment so have money put back and a plan in place for

          making the payments if the loans are not deferred. For more information on pay and BAH, see

          When Will the Recruits be Paid? and Information for Spouses.)

          Some recruits have had their bank accounts compromised while in boot camp so be sure that

          your recruit lets the bank know that s/he will be in boot camp in Great Lakes, IL and the

          approximate dates so that the bank will flag any charges during that time and call a designated

          person to check on the charges. If you are not already an authorized user on the account, this

          may require a POA from the bank specifying that you are to be contacted for this purpose.

      g. a list of addresses and phone numbers of those s/he will contact during BC—include the info

          of people s/he may need to contact for security clearance as well as friends and relatives. S/He

          would be able to keep a small address book, but the list in the wallet is better and less likely to

          accidentally get put in "the box." Now that most people have cell phones many do not have

          important phone numbers memorized. (Have him/her give you a list of email addresses or phone

          numbers for his/her friends and/or access to his/her fB account so you can pass on his/her address

          once you get it.)

      h. Activated calling card or calling card numbers.

          If you choose to purchase a calling card, be sure to activate it and write down the info on

          the back of the card before putting it in the wallet so you can add more minutes if needed.

          If you or your future Sailor has a PennyTalk account, your recruit can use that account to make

          calls from RTC. Calls within the USA and some other countries are 1 cent per minute. This

          may be a good option if your future Sailor has people to call in other countries. See

 (Note: A 49¢ connection fee is charged each time a call connects. A

          99¢ monthly service fee applies to all accounts. A 90¢ payphone surcharge applies to each call

          made from a payphone, which is what your recruit will use at RTC.) See Phone Cards and

          Phone Calls.

          Make sure your future Sailor knows how to use the calling card. Practice before s/he leaves.

          Calling cards are available for purchase at the NEX at RTC, but it is good not to have to

          activate a calling card before making any calls.

          Your recruit will need a calling card to make any calls other than the "I'm here!" call, which is the

          last call your then recruit will make from his/her cell phone before putting it in "the box" to be stored,

          or calls for information or if there is a problem. All other calls are made from a payphone.

          Recruits are not permitted to keep their cell phones at RTC.

       i. small photo/s (no nudity or questionable content)

       j. Slip a short encouraging note into his/her wallet from you and/or other loved ones so s/he will

          be able to read it in the days/weeks before s/he will receive mail. (Also encourage him/her to

          write a note to you either before leaving or on the way to BC and slip it in a pocket or shoe for

          you to read before you get mail from him/her.)  If your future Sailor will have a birthday within the

          first 4 weeks after arrival, then slip a sealed birthday greeting in his/her wallet to open on that day--

          perhaps a small card (such as a gift insert card) that does not openly advertise the birthday and has

          no glitter.

      k. a small calendar if your future Sailor wants to mark off the days until PIR (know that some

          RDC's do not permit calendars so your then recruit may have to tear it up)

      l. gallon sized zip-top clear plastic bag. Your recruit can use it to keep the items together that s/he is

         allowed to keep and can use it to keep letters together in his/her A/B drawer once s/he is in his/her

         permanent ship.

    m. Recruits shipping during COVID-19 may also take a personal entertainment device with no

         camera and / or two books to be used during the 14 days of ROM. Personal entertainment

         device means a handheld, non-cellular equipped, non-camera equipped device with a primary

         purpose of personal entertainment, such as an e-reader or gaming device. Tablets, laptops,

         gaming consoles, and any device with cellular capability are not allowed.

  2. S/He will be able to keep a small Bible if s/he wants to take one or s/he can get a New Testament and

      Proverbs at MEPS prior to shipping or at RTC.

      S/He will also be able to keep a small religious medal if s/he wants (it must be silver in color and

      smaller than his/her dog tags). Some will send them back though, so make sure your future Sailor

      knows to keep it. Some have taped the religious medal in the wallet since many have not been able to

      keep a chain if worn on a chain to RTC.

      S/He will be able to keep and wear a wristwatch, if desired. It is best if it is water resistant and black

      or silver in color, but recruits have also been able to keep watches with a navy blue or brown

      wristband. One that costs less than $20 is best at RTC and after.

      Married recruits are able to wear a plain wedding band.

      Anything s/he takes that s/he is able to keep must be able to fit in his/her "valuables sock" (a tube

      sock that s/he will carry) during P-Days. Everything else will be put in "the box."

  3. Help your future Sailor decide what s/he will wear to MEPS and if s/he will take a change of

      clothes or not. Remember that your future Sailor will be taken to a hotel the day before the ship

      date for MEPS and will stay overnight at the hotel. S/He must have clean underwear (boxers for

      the guys and full-coverage underwear and sports bra for the gals) and socks at MEPS. Old

      clothes are permitted, but be sure that your future Sailor is not wearing clothes with holes and

      know that sandals or flip flops without a strap around the back are not permitted at MEPS. Future

      Sailors have not been able to ship when they have shown up in clothes that are not allowed. Recruiters

      or parents have made trips to buy suitable clothing the night before swearing in at MEPS. Be aware

      and be sure that your future Sailor is dressed appropriately.

      Also discuss his/her options of putting the clothes in the box, trashing them, or donating


      My son took a change of underwear that he changed at the hotel and threw the others away there.

      He shaved with a disposable razor and used the hotel toiletries. He also wore his least favorite

      clothes and trashed them at RTC.

      If you are going to MEPS to see him/her sworn in, s/he can take a backpack with his/her toiletries

      and a change of clothes for the hotel room and give it to you when s/he sees you.

  4. You need to determine if you are going to MEPS and the airport and find out from the Recruiter

      when you should be there if you are. Some MEPS require that the recruiter submit paperwork

      ahead of time in order for you to attend the swearing in. This is especially true if MEPS is located

      on a military base because you will need a pass to get on base. If MEPS is located on a military

      base, you will need current ID for everyone in the vehicle and current vehicle registration and proof of

      insurance in order to drive onto the base. Your recruit will have to be with you at the airline counter to

      get a gate pass if you plan to wait with him/her. Some airlines consider a recruit who is shipping to

      Boot Camp to be under orders and will permit loved ones to obtain a gate pass and accompany

      him/her past security and others do not. If you intend to accompany your then recruit to the airport,

      check with your future Sailor's recruiter to see what airline will be used and call to check to see if you

      will be able to accompany your then recruit.

  5. Talk with your future Sailor about how you want to handle any bad news. My Sailor told me he only

      wanted to be notified if his father, sister, or I were to die. He asked that news of any other deaths

      or hospitalizations, even grandparents and close friends, be kept from him until after PIR.

      Fortunately, we did not have to face that.

  6. Decide if you need a Power of Attorney.

      There are 2 main types, a general Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney. You may need

      these if s/he has bills or personal property that you will need to take care of or if s/he were to be hurt

      while at RTC. You can get the forms to do both kinds of PoA for free online and customize them to

      your needs and then have them notarized. You can find a general Power of Attorney online has a Medical Power

      of Attorney form. You only need a PoA if you will need to take care of financial matters or

      personal property for your recruit. The MPoA is only needed if your recruit is incapacitated;

      otherwise, the HIPAA form or medical information waiver form is all that is needed.

      A durable PoA that will cover both is best drawn up by an attorney and most will charge less than

      $50 to do so. Be aware that a durable PoA may not be accepted by some institutions because it may

      be seen as being too broad.

      Keep a photocopy of your future Sailor's driver's license with the power of attorney. Some states

      must have both in order to use the PoA. Some banks will only accept their own PoA that must be

      signed at the bank, so check with your financial institution if you will be taking care of any banking

      business for your future Sailor. If you will only be taking care of matters dealing with a vehicle, you

      may only need the form that can be obtained from the license bureau or DMV.

  7. For those of you with exes, speak with your Future Sailor about who s/he should send the form letter.

       to. The recruit decides who that is mailed to, not anyone at RTC. It is good to know ahead of time

       how this is going to be handled because the form letter will indicate the address and PIR date and

       will include the Security Access Form to be completed with the info on those who will be attending

       PIR so they can receive their tickets. If both parents are going to PIR, then the one receiving the form

       letter will need to share the information in that letter with the other parent, but everything in the form

       letter and the Security Access Form can be found on this site in several places as well as

       at and

  8. Help him/her determine the names of up to 4 people who s/he will be submitting to receive tickets for


      Your recruit will be permitted 4 guests unless s/he ends up in a large TG. Plan ahead of time who

      will attend if only 3 guests are permitted. Everyone ages 3 and older must have a ticket to attend. 

      Those ages 2 and under are able to attend without a ticket. This is very important since only those 

      with tickets will be able to enter RTC. Your then recruit will have the final say as to who will 

      attend. Those names will be submitted on the Security Access Form.

      During COVID there is no PIR. Guests are not permitted on RTC.

  9. Call and put his/her cell phone on military hold/suspension while s/he is at BC beginning the day

      after you expect him/her to arrive at RTC or a day later than that in case s/he arrives in the wee

      hours of the morning. Set it up so that you can call the day before PIR and remove the Hold so that

      s/he will be able to use his/her phone on Liberty and once s/he gets to "A" School.

      If your future Sailor has a vehicle, you may also want to have him/her removed as a driver on the

      insurance and look into having the vehicle changed to a "pleasure vehicle" if someone will be

      driving it every now and then or to "in storage" if it will be parked to save money on the insurance.

10. Have him/her help you decide what to do about the things in his/her room. Also, have him/her set

      aside the things that s/he will want you to bring to GL with you to have on Liberty and at "A" School.

      Things to take PIR weekend, which must be able to fit in his/her black backpack (obtained at RTC),

      include: favorite underwear, laptop, cell phone charger, and one set of clothes--some choose a favorite

      T-shirt or 2 and have the jeans sent later. Now that "the box" is not sent home some pack a

      SMALL backpack with these things so that they have them once they get their box after

      graduation so they have them at "A" School. Be sure it and the clothes worn will fit in a

      14x14x14 box. Things you will be able to send later, depending on the "A" School and its length may

      include: additional set/s of clothes, gaming system, musical instrument, a few favorite pictures...

      (You can check on the site for his/her "A" School to help determine what is and is not allowed and

      how soon. If you don't know where your future Sailor will go for training, go to Ratings, A School

      Locations, and Links to Groups.)

SCAM ALERT: If your future Sailor has any bank cards or credit cards, have him/her call a week or so before the ship date and let the bank or issuing agent know the dates that s/he will be in BC and provide a contact number of a loved one that they can call if there are any charges made on the card from any place other than the NEX at RTC. There have been reports of charges being made while the recruit is in BC. Sometimes the charges are not able to be reversed if they are not discovered until after BC. There have been some reports of credit cards being maxed out before the charges were discovered.

Although your future Sailor is covered by Tricare health insurance from the day s/he swears in at MEPS on the way to RTC, I suggest that you don’t drop your Future Sailor’s health insurance until after PIR. If something happens and s/he is sent home, s/he may have trouble getting health insurance, so this is one case where I say to plan for the worst case situation when I typically tell loved ones to plan to attend PIR on time and don't think about the possibility of being sent home or a delayed PIR. Check with your agent to see how easy it would be to add him/her back on if s/he were to be separated and if your policy allows dependents to be added at any time, then you may be able to remove him/her from the policy once s/he has sworn in at MEPS and is on the way to RTC. Being separated from the armed services is not a qualifying condition that allows a person to be added on outside of the regular enrollment time for many policies.

Females should get their hair cut in the last week before leaving if they wish to do so. Have her go to a good stylist and have her hair cut well above collar length and she should be fine and may not even need another haircut until A School. (See New female recruits are permitted to keep long hair if they wish and are taught how to properly wear their hair in a Navy regulation bun. Female recruits who wish to have their hair cut may still request to do so. Hair pins and barrettes that match the hair color may be permitted. Corn rows that are uniform in size and distance apart and do not include beads or other adornment have been permitted for some as long as the length is above the collar for those females with hair that would better be styled in that manner. There are some videos on youtube that discuss appropriate hairstyles for females while in Navy BC and afterwards. Your future Sailor's hair should be her natural hair color when she ships because she will not be able to do any color touch ups during BC. Recruits with unnatural looking hair color, including highlights, have been required to dye their hair, so it's best to address that before shipping. Your future Sailor will need to remove any nail polish or fake nails on both hands and feet before reporting to MEPS and should not wear makeup to MEPS or to RTC.

Females who are on birth control pills prior to shipping should take their birth control pills with them along with a signed and dated note from their physician. The recruit will either be permitted to keep them or they will be tossed and something will be prescribed from the pharmacy. All female recruits are offered the option of birth control during boot camp.

Earrings are not permitted at Boot Camp except for graduation photos and PIR and those must meet Navy standards and can be purchased at the NEX.

Males with facial hair should shave prior to shipping to make the first few shaves at RTC easier.

Relax and enjoy the time you have together. Don't start missing your loved one before s/he leaves. Make the time together good for everyone.

If your future Sailor wears contacts, make sure that s/he wears glasses or takes glasses and a contact case to RTC because s/he will have to remove contacts upon arrival and it will be several days before the eye exam and new glasses are given and s/he will not have any eye correction during that time. In fact, your recruit could be without correction for nearly a week if s/he does not take/wear glasses to RTC and it could be longer if your recruit is held in P-days for some reason. (The vision exam is on P-3 or P-4 and glasses are received that day, but there is no processing on the weekend, so it is usually about a week or longer for most recruits from the time they arrive to the time they receive their glasses. See Those who wear glasses are able to keep and wear them until after they receive their new glasses, then they must put their civilian glasses in their A/B drawer and can wear them for pictures and PIR if they meet Navy standards. Some recruits have been able to keep contacts in a case along with a small amount of solution. They must put them in their "Valuables Sock" and then A/B drawer and can wear them for pictures and PIR. You will be able to send contacts to your recruit to wear for the graduation pictures and for PIR.

If your future Sailor wears a retainer, s/he will be able to keep it at RTC as long as it was declared in the paperwork; a waiver may be required for some ratings. Recruiters sometimes tell future Sailors to remove them, but your future Sailor should respectfully refuse and ask that the retainer/s be documented. If your then recruit wears the retainer/s to BC, then it will be more likely that s/he will remember to keep the retainer/s and not accidentally put it/them in "the box" when packing it. Permanent retainers may be a disqualifying condition for some ratings, so if there is a choice between permanent or removable retainers, then choose removable retainers.

If you accompany your future Sailor to the Recruiter’s Office prior to his/her shipping out, walk a few steps behind and be alert as you approach the recruiter’s door. Your future Sailor will have to stop and request permission to enter. You don’t want to accidentally walk into your future Sailor as s/he is executing the salute before entering.

On the day s/he leaves, remind him/her to drink plenty of water because s/he will be drug tested at MEPS or soon after arrival at RTC and DO have him/her take his/her cell phone and charger because s/he can call/text you along the way and will be able to make that last call to you from it. Let him/her know to call once s/he gets to Chicago before getting to RTC so you will have a little more time to talk because the next call will be a scripted 15-30 second call and there will not be time for chitchat. There are no longer phone banks to make the "I'm here!" calls from, so your then recruit must call from a cell phone, either his/her own or a borrowed one.

There have been reports in the past of people taking cell phones and/or watches prior to the recruits getting to RTC. Let your future Sailor know that at no time prior to packing "the box" should anyone ask for those or other personal items--if it happens, they need to respectfully decline the offer and then get the name of the individual and report it. Anything that a recruit cannot keep will be packed "the box" and held for them until later and they will put anything that they can keep in their "Valuables sock" and keep it with them.

See, and  These documents are also available in other forms at

A video that may be helpful: What To Bring to Boot camp.

I hope that helps.

Check out the discussion Arwen posted, Your recruit's final MEPS experience - an overview of their last ho...; but be sure to read my reply concerning the statement about not eating for a day or two--Recruits DO eat. I also suggest that you join the group, Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones), and start checking out the Pages (found under the pictures of the Members) there; Arrival and What Happens at RTC will let you know what happens at RTC and what to expect.

Make sure to join the group for the month that your future Sailor leaves to connect with others with loved ones who may be leaving the same day/week and may have PIR with your Future Sailor. Each of the following is a clickable link.

DEP-Leavin' for Boot Camp in January                     DEP-Leavin' for Boot Camp in February

DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in March                          DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in April

DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in May                             DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in June

DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in July                             DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in August

DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in September                   DEP - Leavin' for bootcamp in October 

DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in November                    DEP-Leavin' for bootcamp in December

You may also want to check out »» Welcome to the MEPS and DEP group ««.


Some have asked about the blue candle tradition and have wanted to include blue candles as favors at an "Anchors Aweigh" party, so check out Blue Candles.

If you have a young child and would like a book to help explain about Daddy (or Mommy) being away at boot camp, then check out Hooyah Daddy!!: My Daddy's in Navy boot camp Kindle Edition available from at*Version*=1&*entrie....

The Page, What does ??? mean? (A Guide to Navy Abbreviations and Terminology), will help you with many of the new terms you will come across.

After your loved one has shipped:

  • If your loved one is on your auto insurance, you can take him/her off of the policy. When s/he is home on leave your Sailor will be able to drive your vehicle and be covered without being added back on if you give him/her permission to drive the vehicle. (See the info in number 9 above concerning your recruit's vehicle.)
  • Call and put your recruit's cell phone on hold. (See number 9 above.)
  • Check out What is it like during the 14 days of ROM?
  • Check out the information in Arrival and What Happens at RTC to know what is happening and what to expect. 
  • Join Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) if you have not already done so.
  • Try to be be patient and to remember "No news is good news!"
  • Join your PIR group once you receive the form letter. PIR groups are posted in Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) and in the DEP groups.

The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.

Discussion updated  08/01/2020

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Well done on this article lemonelephant! really good piece of info

Thank you for that.

Hello my only child graduates high school in May. She will ship August 11th! Thanks for the info.

Thanks for the great information.  We have done many of these things already.  One thing I don't see on here is Passport renewal.  My DEP has a card passport for (cruise) and we would like to get a true passport.  I know he will need another picture, but when, or should we do this before he leaves for bc?

If you are handling it, do it beforehand.  Otherwise, once he is in A school, he can apply on base (PSD, or personnel).

Where  is the cruise going?  Although he is not yet active duty, be aware certain parts of Mexico are off limits to our military, and yes, that includes a few cruise ports.  So while he can go before he joins, it is best to double check with the recruiter.  Just to be cautious as "foreign travel" is a security clearance issue and must be disclosed.  You may have already, yes?   

The cruise was last year's vacation.  We went to the Bahamas in May before he went to MEPS and was in DEP program.  The recruiter did say to check with them before any vacation.  We let the kiddos pick a small vacation this year (due to planning a trip to Pensacola to visit son while in A school).  They wanted Disney World.  We told them that isn't a small vacation! Second choice was Smokey Mountains.  We can handle that.  They really just want to spend time as a family and not have plan activities.   

Back to the question at hand...

I think we will get him an updated passport before he leaves for bc.  We will probably do get it after high school graduation, but before bc.  You know, that very small window of time when everything else needs done too!  haha!

Cool. If he has a valid passport when he gets his orders after school, it can expedite going to his ship if it is underway when he has to report.  Having one is a bonus in some liberty ports, and can be a real asset if there is an emergency and he need to travel home from overseas.

Still, I feel good about my post because some readers may be considering cruises as family time or honeymoons,  It can throw a kink into works for sure!  

Thank you very much. This is very helpful information. My son is shipping Tuesday! I appreciate this forum and best to all of your sons and daughters. 

thanks for all the info

Thanks so much for the information.


Just wanted to let you ladies know that this list was invaluable as we have finished things up. What an amazing blessing! I cannot thank you enough for putting this together. It made things go very smooth through this tough transition. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!



Thanks you my daughter ship date was this past Tuesday May 12, 2015


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