We are going to the PIR Graduation on 4/3/20 and love all of the information on this site. Even after sifting through the different discussions and posts, I still had some questions. Our recruit is staying in Station Great Lakes for A-School, so we plan on spending the weekend with them following PIR.
We are flying into O’Hare Thursday morning and leaving Sunday night. We were planning on renting a car for the weekend. Do people recommend renting at O’Hare? Are there any problems or delays where it would be worth renting at another local location and just getting shuttled there? We have always used Enterprise and Budget due to prices and customer service? Does anybody have good coupon codes or suggestions?
We have our own ez-pass and gps. I saw where people were recommending taking route 40 to bypass the tolls, but when I looked up the directions it was saying that it would be 30 mins slower. How much are the tolls? When I researched it appeared that I wasn’t going to pay over $5 in tolls which I feel is worth the faster route.
We are staying at the Holiday Inn off of Lakehurst Rd in Waukegan. Is it worth taking a shuttle over driving and taking the short cut to the morning PIR? It seems to be 50/50 on people that do each.
What are some good restaurants to go to and fun activities around there? I am having trouble finding updated posts on here about these. We like to explore a lot and love good family/hole-in-the-wall spots to eat.
I am aware of Sarge’s Taxi and his Meet and Greet. Do people recommend the other Meet and Greets or is this the best one?
Any suggestions on where to get the best gear and gifts? Our whole family has military ID’s and was wondering what the best Exchange (NEX) was? I see where people have been saying that the NEX at the RTC is the best in terms of catering to Navy family clothing? Is this true? We love a good freebie, so did anybody stumble upon some freebies or neat hidden experiences?
In terms of our sailor spending two months after in Station Great Lakes, we plan on visiting them again during that time. I am assuming they have their cellphones by then so there shouldn’t be any problems with communication. Can people who have gone through this have any recommendations on stuff to do, how their liberty goes now that they are in A-School, and any other advice? Can you send them care packages then now that they are out of boot camp?
Any advice or links to advice would be awesome! I have been looking on NavyDads, NavyMoms, and NavyDep, but it honestly is overwhelming to try and find the good suggestions posts and comments. Anybody that is also going on this date is welcome to chat and become friends on here. Thanks.
Also, does anybody have advice on bring in your own camera/camera bag to graduation? How does the RTC / NEX PhotoLab work? I see people taking about how recruits can order division photos ahead of graduation.
You will be fine bringing in your own camera. This is info from the RTC website:
Q. What items can we bring or not bring to graduation?
A. All persons, articles and vehicles are subject to security searches. Metal detectors and other security devices are in use onboard Recruit Training Command. Expect a delay at the security checkpoints due to this added security requirement.
ITEMS PERMITTED INTO GRADUATION CEREMONY: Small bag/personal item (purse, satchel, etc…), small diaper bag, small camera bag, and personal wheelchair or walker. Strollers and car seats are allowed but discouraged due to space limitations (you may leave them in your car).
ITEMS NOT PERMITTED INTO GRADUATION CEREMONY : Large bags, backpacks, luggage, posters, signs/banners, gift bags of any size, and flowers. Alcohol, illegal drugs, knives or weapons will be confiscated by security. Any person found with these items will NOT be permitted to enter the ceremony. To prevent delays, please leave all extra items in your vehicle.
Additional information on ticketing is also available at www.bootcamp.navy.mil. (See http://www.bootcamp.navy.mil/faq.html#grad_ceremony.)