OK guys, when I first joined Navy Dads back in January my wish was for some timeline that I could use to anticipate the milestones of boot camp. So for all you new parents I would like to submit my timeline. I didn’t join N4M until after PIR to stay in touch with all the friend I made while I was there.
Executive overview.....3 phone calls and 6 letters in 2 months.
My son PJ left the house at 8am, 08:00, Jan. 10th. We got his I’m here and safe phone call at 00:35, or 12:30 am that night from his cell phone.
3 days later, on Friday the 13th we got his box with everything he took to boot camp, his cell phone and even his underwear and socks. I gave him a padded envelope, before he left, just the right size for his for his phone to include in the box for added safety. If the pant legs are rolled up it’s because there was no time to unroll them between being fitted for shoes and filling the box.
10 days later, really long, agonizing days later, we got his form letter and address, dated the 18th with a 2 sentence note on the back on Jan 23rd. I mailed him the 8 page daily journal I started writing the day he left.
This is the 2 week mark.
9 days later, on Feb 1st, we got his first letter, complaining that he hasn’t gotten any letters from us yet dated the 29th. 5 days after that. On 2/6, I got my surprise 5 minute phone call around 2 pm.
2nd letter came on Feb 9th, 3rd letter on Feb 15, 4th letter on Feb 24th, and 5th on Feb 29th.
March 7th. Was a Magical Day. We got his 6th and final letter from boot camp, and at 6:30pm GL time we got our “I’m a sailor call”. We were expecting it a day earlier on March 6th because he told us, in his letters, that BS21 would be the 5th. We started burning our blue candles on Monday morning, Tuesday was frantic ALL DAY AND NIGHT...waiting for the call that never came, good thing I bought a 50 hour candle. Finally, after work on Wednesday the 7th I got the call...and my good sailor called his Mom at work first... I was so proud I thought I would bust. Turns out that the Presidents day holiday pushed everyone back one day in training and no one was told about it.
Thursday March 8th at 9am, I flew to O’Hare and attended Sarge’s Meet and Greet that night. All the Div083 N4Ms wore yellow scarves, so when I saw one I knew that was a family with a kid in my division...it really helped make friends. Friday the 9th I attended PIR...Try and not get misty when they all sing Anchors Aweigh.
I got my hands on him at 10:30 and we stayed togeather till 8pm – he got liberty till 9 because Div 083 made Hall of Fame. At midnight, still the 9th, I checked out of the hotel and met him at O’Hare airport at 1:30am, where I gave him back his cell phone,and civilian underwear that he requested. We drank coffee, talked, watched the sun come up and I caught his cold, he texted his friends until he flew out at 11:30 am.
Here’s a tip, when you write them, place pictures in a MS Word document. The RDCs watch them open mail and make them share pictures and junk with the whole division. PJ thanked me for the printed picture letters because he could keep them private. I always closed with a hand written I Love you so it didn’t seem too impersonal.
The entire ordeal lasted one day shy of 2 months...It seemed like 2 years living through it, and now it seems like 2 weeks. PJ earned E-3 FN stripes, and a Sharpshooter ribbon on his dress blue uniform, and Div083 made Hall of Fame Division, which gave them an extra hour of liberty. I am so Proud.
It's been 10 days since PIR and my son is safely in Goose Creek SC. in an indocternation division waiting to "Class Up" for MM A school. He has his own bank account, credit card and bought a new Nintendo 3DS at the NEX...first thing. MM A school is 3 months long and we hope to see him on leave in June or July. Where we will go to Benihanna and celebrate in style.
My advice is...Patience is a virtue, no news is good news, repeat these two verses often. I very highly recommend Sarge's Meet and Greet...The colored scarves were genious....I depended on Sarge for ALL TRANSPORTATION while in GL, and he went ABOVE and BEYOND to make the trip successful. I can't give him higher marks, he broke the chart.
There is much more I could write, but I think I've been verbose enough. Except, I still remember the scared little boy and the tears when we sent him off to scarey Great Lakes, and in 2 months I can't believe how much he grew up, The polite and respectful young man I met at PIR, was still my son...but so much more. The change was truely incredible and totally worth the ordeal.
I hope this helps anyone going through this experience.
Thank you for writing this! It does help. I know it will be over before I know it, but it's hard to handle the day-to-day while in the middle of it.
One I forgot to add....I met a Dad, on Navy Dads...who never got the I'm a Sailor call...turns out his son had duty.....and he went to PIR anyway...ON FAITH....Everything turned out fine...Remember
Patience is a virtue
No News is Good News...if something bad happens they call you right away.
Repeat these as needed...they became my mantra
Your story was absolutely wonderful. My son Graduates March 30th. I am getting so excited I can hardly stand it. Just 10 days to go. So looking to my "I'm a sailor call."
Great TImeline, NDM!! Since our sons left for BC on the same day and were in the same great 083, I could have written a similar timeline to yours. As one of the "yellow scarf moms," I really enjoyed meeting you at Sarge's Meet N Greet and chatting with you - you are such a nice person. I am especially grateful for the water you purchased for me at the PIR!!
I agree with your advice about patience and no news. I agonized over the lack of information regarding my son for weeks at a time only to realize the truth of the "no news" adage. I, too, was pleasantly surprised at the increased maturity, focus, and respectful attitude that my son exhibited when we met up with him during Boot Camp weekend. My only other observation was that my son was seemed really tired that weekend - evidently the combination of BS21 and watch duty that last week contributed to a sleep deficit. Wishing you and your son all the best, NDM!
Harpest mom.....I need to thank you, when I went to get the water I got that beautiful dogtag medal that my wife just went bonkers over, remember I showed it to you and your mom...If I hadn't gone for the water, I never would have seen the tag. It's wonderful when thing work out like that.....I totally forgot about it with all the excitement of PIR
This made me cry, and my son's PIR was 26Aug11. Our timeline was just about the same as yours. And I have to agree, when they sang Anchors Aweigh, the tears just started to fall. But of course, I cried during the "movie presentation" prior to start, again as the door rolled up, and as they marched in. I found it hard to pick him out when they were marching, but my husband and younger kids found him immediately. Once I could see him, then I waved at him the entire time. I figured he would be aggravated, but he said he just kept looking right at me. His patience finally wore thin at O'Hare the next morning as I went into Helicopter Mom mode-"Geez mom, I'm not a baby!! Stop!". He's in C school now, and we have seen him a few times, and I can't get over how my 19 year old big baby looks like a grown man!
Thank you so much, this is very helpful. I keep telling myself that no news is good news.
We have just started our bootcamp journey. I am doing amazing compaired to how I was doing on the 13th when my husband had to walk away. Me bawling my eyes out, and him with tears streaming down his face, because he didn't want to have to walk away from his wife and daughter. Still hard to beleive it has only been 8 days. As I read your timeline it gave me hope, but oposite of most others, it was the following comments that made me tear up. Thank you for sharing your experience, and soon enough I will have one of my own to share. Glad your SR got the extra time with you :0)
--- Jessica D.
Thank you for sharing this. My son's PIR is next week and I can't wait to see him and "so much more" of a young man he's become.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this, though I must admit I cried. My daughter arrived BC March 20, just a day ago and I am going through the most excruciating pain myself, because we miss her so much! She actually left going to the final MEPS on March 19 and that was last time we saw her. She was already an incredible person before she left so I can only imagine how much more incredible she will be. We have been writing her everyday, even though we have yet to get an address with division # on it. We will continue to write to her everyday. It's good therapy for us to try and act as if we are in constant contact with her. I have been trying to absorb as much information as I can so I can stay in the know regarding what to expect, what is/isn't possibly going on. It's the only way we are able to function during this time.