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.
Check out Arrival and What Happens at the RTC within Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) and it will let you know what is happening. Join that group while you are there and check out the other Pages (found under the pictures of the Members). If your boyfriend’s mom is not a member of N4M, let her know about this site. Sharing info with each other will help both of you to be closer and to get through this easier.
(Group names within this reply are clickable links.
You are very welcome. He will probably make the "I'm here!" call to his mom, but if not, be sure to let her know.
Check out OPSEC and PERSEC (Making Changes To Your Profile). You may want to change your profile picture (change 4 at the bottom).
You are very welcome.
I don't know exactly when they changed from using pay phone banks, but I am told the new recruits no longer have access to them for that first call.
Did she bring her cell phone? If not, she may not have been able to use another recruit's phone before they ran out of time. They are given only a minute or two (literally) for the entire company to call. Anyone without their own phone either has to hope that they can use another recruit's phone, or they miss out.
I'm getting goosebumps as I begin to type this. My phone rang at 2:09 a.m. this morning for "the call"; it was very scripted. We live 190 miles north of St. Louis and I had driven him to the recruiter on Wednesday, then on to the hotel where I also got a room. A friend of his who lives outside St. Louis joined us for dinner. It worked out very well. I was the only parent at the swearing in ceremony and got some great shots; it was definitely worth it. Glad we'd spent so much time hugging previously, though, because that was where we said a very rushed good-bye. They flew him to Chicago and I received several texts from him while he was at both airports. Refrained from voice calls, though, once we had said our physical good-bye, until he made "the call" in the middle of the night. I can't help but wonder if he got any real sleep at all before today's schedule began. Does anyone know exactly when they get to lay in their racks for the first time?
See Arrival and What Happens at the RTC within Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) and that will let you know what is happening. Your Recruit will be in his rack on the USS Pearl Harbor tonight sometime between 8 and 10 p.m. and probably had little to no sleep last night. Today is P-1.
Thank you for this information!
You may wish to join the group, DEP-Leavin for bootcamp in June. 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 the RTC. 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.
You may also want to check out Women in the Navy, Mom’s of Navy Daughters, and Mom's of Daughters 2.
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 her to some good links on there.
(Group names and the link within this reply are clickable links. To join a group, click on the group name and when the group page opens, click on "+ Join..." in the upper right.)