The day before your recruit is due to ship out s/he will report to his/her recruiter's office, for yet another drug test, weigh-in, and another round of paperwork. Then the recruiter will drive him/her to a hotel near MEPS, where recruits get a meal ticket and a room. They cannot have ANYONE in their rooms, even spouse/children, and must be in that room by curfew. In many places they are told they may not leave the hotel, even to have a last dinner with the family, but there is a lounge/restaurant at most hotels used by MEPS to house incoming recruits.
In the morning all recruits at MEPS (all services) will be picked up at about 5:30 am, either by a bus/van if there are a lot of them, or by their recruiter, and taken to MEPS.
When s/he arrives at MEPS he/she will take a final physical exam, another weigh-in and drug test, then wait to be called by a processing clerk. When recruits finally get their turn at the desk, they provide IDs once again, sign a thick packet of papers, then sit in a waiting area to wait for all recruits to finish.
When everyone is finished with paperwork (at this point recruits are mixed - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard), they are all taken to a special room where they will be sworn in. This can take place anytime between about 9 a.m. and noon. If family members are waiting in the MEPS waiting room, they can be there for this part. They often do two ceremonies, one ending with "So help me God" and one finishing with "I do so affirm," as preferred by each recruit. It's a very crowded little room, with almost no space for an audience, so pictures are difficult. Many MEPS officers, who lead the oath, will recreate this ceremony with individual recruits for family members to take pictures.
Then the recruits go back to the office, each is given their file, recruits are separated into small groups according to their service/destination and given meal vouchers to eat at the airport. One recruit will be put "in charge" of the group. They will be loaded onto a van, charter bus or are given subway/train tickets to the airport. At this point they will be expected to stay with the group but are not supervised.
You CAN go to the airport (separately) to meet your recruit, you may be able to get a gate pass to sit with your recruit at the USO or the gate if there is time before the flight. A better option is to make sure your recruit has his/her cell phone to call and chat while waiting. They cannot use their phone at MEPS or on the plane, but they can call from both the originating airport and the Chicago airport.
When your recruit arrives at the Chicago airport, they can take an hour to get a meal if it's not already really late. They should make it a big meal - they have a long night ahead of them. Then they report to the airport USO office, where they wait for a bus to pick up them up and take them to RTC.
Once they step on the bus they must turn their cell phone off. Those who have cell phones will get to make a 10 second call from their phones a few hours later, it could be 5 p.m. or 1 a.m., depending on how late their flight gets in. Within an hour of that call, the recruits put their phones in a box with all of their other belongings (even their underwear!) to ship home. Usually the battery is put in one shoe and the phone in the other.
For more information about what happens next, you should watch the video Navy Racks: Boot Camp. It's a little bit dated, the uniforms are different now - but it gives an excellent overview of what their experience will be.
Caffeine is a diuretic - it makes you have to pee. That's how it dehydrates. It's not good before an athletic activity, but it's great if you want to make sure you can pee in a couple of hours.
I still think water is better than drinking something with caffeine, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. The recruits will do what they will do regardless of what we say.
Tattoo: 5 minutes before Taps; the call to signal to go to quarters and prepare for bed. At the RTC at 9:55 p.m. the loud speaker inside the barracks building sounds, "Tattoo, Tattoo; lights out in five minutes. Stand by for evening prayer." This is the same call sounded on ships in the Fleet.
For other unfamiliar terms, see What does ??? mean? (A Guide to Navy Abbreviations and Terminology) within Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones).
I see you have joined (¯`'•.¸ NAVY MEPS & DEP FAMILIES ¸.•'´¯); you may wish to join the group, DEP-Leavin for bootcamp in August. You will meet others with loved ones leaving that day/week who may be in the same TG and have PIR together. Be sure to check out the discussion, Things to Do in the Last Month Before Your Future Sailor Leaves for.... I also suggest you join Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) and New Members Stop Here and check out the Pages (found under the pictures of the Members) and Discussions there.
Your future Sailor may want to join http://www.navydep.com to learn the ins and outs from the DEP point of view. Craig runs that and will steer him to some good links on there.
(Group names and the link within this reply are clickable links.)
Went through MEPS today! This is exactly what happened. I would only add that you need to be prepared to wait. Pace your emotions through the morning. The waiting rooms were very comfortable - even had a pool table. We actually got to see more of our SR than I expected. Have your cell phone video camera ready (all sounds off). The actual swearing-in ceremony only takes about 45 seconds! The staff there could not have been more professional and supportive of all our questions. When you do get back home - take a nap!
And then 8 weeks later on March 22 we went through PIR! This is a life changing experience - all for the good. The positive changes in everyone are amazing! The support from this site was life saving :) Go Navy Moms!
Thank you so much for the info. Our son leaves on February 12th and he is very excited and ready to go. I am trying very hard to stay composed. I just have so many mixed emotions of happiness for him and sadness that I will miss him very much. We have a very close relationship.
My son leaves next week, the 19th. How did today go? I didn't expect to start the emotions so soon, yet, here I am....
I think we all need a support group as the day gets nearer we all start to tear up everytime we look at our sons or daughters. My son leaves on the 4th; hang in there friend we are all going thru this together.
Thank you so much for this info, trying to get info out of my son is pointless. I am in no way a mushy person but I find myself tearing up on this site. My son leaves on March 4, 2013 5 days before his 19th birthday. Hope he does well in bootcamp and in Nuke School. I'm trying hard to win the HDTV Dream home in South Carolina; if I win it will be turned into a Nuke School retreat for my son and his fellow Nukes!
My son also leaves on March 4 and is heading to Nuke school. His 20th birthday is 19 days after he leaves. I saw the HGTV spot and I thought about entering, just haven't done it yet.What a great idea!! You're not alone on trying to get info. I'm pretty sure that's a boy thing. I'm trying hard not to get all weepy as I've had the months he's been in DEP to get used to the idea, but sometimes I just can't help it.
My son is departing from Richmond Va. Where are you all from. Oh its nice to hear from someone leaving the same day as my son, and going to Nuke school. Hopefully they will be friends and look out for one another. I am getting more nervous every day. Had a dream I went screaming after him at airport not to go. This is my only son! I do have 3 daughters to keep me busy at home. But he will always be my special baby boy. I'm going to have many trips to S.C. glad not staying in great lakes I hate the cold weather. :]