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We will be driving our daughter to Jacksonville FL  on July 23rd the day before she leaves for boot camp. I think but don’t know, that she must stay with other recruits that night.  Where do you suggest that we stay?  Thanks for all of your great information

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Stephanie -- So, She's in DEP right now correct?  She goes to MEPS in Jacksonville on the 23 of July, correct? 
If that is right, then Yes she will have a curfew that night and she Must stay in the hotel that night.  Normally the Recruiter will transport them from their home town to MEPS (Even if MEPS is close!) She should only take her clothes, good running shoes (Newer but not brand new!! Break them in a bit before she leaves!!!) Her Cell phone and charger, A black or brown wallet with a little bit of cash (I think the suggestion is no more than $20) Take her to Navy Federal Credit Union and have her open an account (She will need to take a copy of her DEP paperwork) and have her add you so you can put $ into it if needed.  If she has another bank account have her take her card for that as well.  She can take a small Bible or other religious text and make sure she has a card in her wallet with phone # and addresses.  Also a note of encouragement to be read when she NEEDS it (She'll know when that is) Otherwise leave EVERY THING else at home.(Buy a disposable tooth brush for overnight and use the hotel products otherwise. )
As for where you can stay.... At the Hotel of your choice.  They won't likely tell you in advance where she is staying (But it doesn't hurt to ask).  You should be able to go to MEPS to see her swear in and you Might be able to go sit with her at the airport but that is up to the airlines.  Take as little with you as possible if you do try and go! Have her leave a voice mail that you DO NOT listen to till after she leaves and only when you can't stand not hearing her voice!! (You'll know when that is!).  Once she's at the Airport, depending on their flight time -- she NEEDS to EAT and to call you!! She should also call when she lands in Chicago.  This will be your last time to visit before it all gets real.  You will get another phone call sometime after Midnight that is the Scripted "I'm here" call.... Just talk over her and tell her that you love her and are proud of her and that She's got this!!! Then be sure to come and Post on the Bootcamp Moms main Discussion page (You can get there by clicking on the "Back to Bootcamp moms......" up at the top of this post then keep scrolling down till you get to the Blank Comment box) and we will Laugh, cry or offer {{{{{Hugs}}}} as needed!  We have been where you are! Some of us didn't find this site till after our kids left and some found it before, some have needed very little support and others (like me) were a Hot Mess!! The one thing we all have in common is that someone we love very much has said "I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

We haven't lost a mom to Bootcamp (or MEPS) yet, we won't start with you!

I am new to this site and stumbled onto your post, my son leaves in August and this is some fantastic information and advice!

Thank you!!!

Stephanie - in our experience, we took our son to MEPS, but then they let us drive him to the hotel.  He checked in and then we were allowed to take him to dinner.  He had to spend the night at the hotel, and we would have been allowed to meet him at the airport, but once we said our goodbyes the night before, he wanted to be on his own.  

Make sure your daughter has a phone charger with her.  My son was at the airport for 6 hours before his flight, and then when he arrived at BC, he had to use his own phone to make the "I'm here" scripted call.  I was grateful that he had kept his phone charged so that he was able to make the call.

Thank you this is great information!

Thank you for all the great information!

Does anyone know, do they use the $20 to get a phone card at NEX (or whatever the store place is called as I am a new mom to all of this). I have seen references of recruits getting cards when they are there but not sure how they pay for it. Thanks for the info!

Lara -- Welcome!! At the TOP of this post you will see a blue hyperlink that says "Back to Bootcamp Moms (and Loved Ones)" That will take you to the Main Boot Camp page.  Near the bottom of that page you will see a chat box, just like the one you used to post here.  That will get your questions seen by more of our Boot Camp moms and may get you quicker answers.
It's also fine that you asked here but I wanted you to have the information.

As your SR (Seaman Recruit) completes P-days (Processing Days) they are given a gift card to the NEX (Navy EXchange -- Navy stores for all sorts of products, not just Uniforms but at BC it's more limited.) This may happen on day one or later that week, we are not told. They can use that money as they choose.  They are limited to hygiene products, Stationary, phone cards and replacements for "Missing Gear". That money comes out of their pay so if they don't use it all now it's still their money and they can use it later.  They DO have more than one opportunity to get a calling card but the RDC's do NOT require them to. (Encourage strongly but not require).
The First phone call, we call it the "I'm here" call, is made on their cell phones.  If they don't have a phone or the battery is dead or... They are to ask a "Shipmate" to borrow their phone to call home.  If they fail to do that they will be given an opportunity the next day, but they get chewed out for it. 
The Second phone call, we call it "The I'm still alive" call usually comes week 3 or 4. This is also about the time that mail starts to finally arrive to the SR's so it's not unusual for there to be tears on their end and a plea for mail. 
They can earn 2 more phone calls as a unit but they are not given.  There are as many reasons they don't call home as there are SR's so if you don't get a call, it's not a cause for panic.  If there IS a problem and there is a delay in training, they are REQUIRED to contact someone back home. This is why we say "No News is GOOD News!!"
The Last phone call we call the "I'm a Sailor" call.  They don't call it that but we do.  This call comes after they complete BS21.  They still have 2 weeks till PIR.  They may or may not call during this time.

Please read my blog to give you an idea of what the first few weeks may look like.. Welcome to the Navy... Everything will be ok!  The First part is some things to do before your SR leaves IF you Can, It’s NOT ESSENTIAL! There is a link to all the Navy Lingo! It is titled Navy Speak and you can find it here. We are here to get you through the “Great Silence” of the next 4 weeks (ish) and the 10 weeks of BC (ish). You will come to learn that No News Is GOOD News and everything is Needs of the Navy. You life will be Hurry Up and Wait and it’s ok to make plans but they are subject to change until after they have happened so it’s best to embrace the Motto: Semper Gumby!! (Always Flexible!!)


@Happynurse, how did your drop off go?  My son leaves via Jax next week and I'm curious if I should take him up there or only to the recruiting office.  

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