Hello hello! We drop our son off at MEPS tomorrow afternoon; it sounds like we can hang out with him at his hotel room downtown until late in the evening and then we will be saying our goodbyes. I assume tomorrow we will learn his travel plans and times, as he doesn't seem to have that info yet, aside from reporting to MEPS Tuesday morning to swear in, he doesn't know what happens at what time afterwards. All of our questions are about ROM time, lots of conflicting info out there, the recruiter is saying some different things than what I find most recently online. We are curious what he can expect when he arrives at McCoy, are they bussing from Chicago all the way up there? When they first arrive is it the same as when they first get to RTC with packing the boxes, making the call home, etc? Does anyone even know? Plus, with the awful low temps right now, I am a little more concerned, we have zero experience with that kind of weather, our lowest temps here in the winter are occasionally down to 35, and it is even worse up at McCoy than in Great Lakes. How are they handling those kind of extremes? What should he wear to travel on Tuesday to be comfortable until they issue him clothing? Do they issue winter gear, coats, etc?
Has anyone sent their SR with a game device to ROM and can confirm they were allowed to use it?
These are the kind of concerns that are making me such a mom right now. Thank you all for being here! Our recruiter has not been very helpful, I get the impression he's not well informed on the current COVID changes.
Welcome! Big Hugs to you as your son goes to Boot Camp! We’ll all be here to support you! He can take a handheld gaming device but not a Nintendo switch. It needs to be a WiFi free device like a DS. Your son will be issued the clothes that he’ll need for the type of weather conditions that they’ll have. They’ll be completely outfitted so he should go in clothes that are comfortable. With it being chilly I would have him wear jeans and shirt and jacket. When they get there they also get a “Visa card“ to get all of the essentials that they need including a calling card. So all he’ll need is a small backpack with things for a one night stay.
Were you able to watch the videos on the main page? It should give a little bit more details and please come and introduce yourself on the Boot Camp page. You will receive a lot of helpful information. BNMH! Big Navy Mom Hugs!
Thank you! I am pretty sure I watched all the videos. To be honest, I feel really confident about boot camp for him and I'm not very worried about it, which might sound strange, but the unknowns and conflicting info about ROM is driving me crazy! We purchased a virtual phone card last night, and he's only taking a few essentials with him tomorrow. We have an old school gameboy so I'm having him pack it and hopefully it's allowed.
Sounds like he’s good to go! The old school game boy is perfect! Good luck to your son on his journey and to you and your family as you go through this together. Big hugs!
My son arrived at boot camp in August. We dropped him off at MEPS on a Sunday and he did not actually fly out until Tuesday - they kept him an extra day. We had many phone calls in those two days. I gave him instructions to call me as soon as he landed in Chicago, which he did. We hung up while he was in line at the airport to get food. The next contact was the "I'm here" call. It was 45 seconds because I asked how I would get his mailing address. Otherwise it would have been 25 seconds. He said "I'm here, I'm safe, it's pretty harsh, I love you and you will hear from me in 4-5 weeks". I later found out he got yelled at for getting the food. He went to quarantine, known as ROM (Restriction of movement) - then it was at a hotel. He had one roommate who he did not bond with. They watched TV until they got their TV cord taken away for trash in their room. It was accidentally not returned for 4 days. My son was glad about that as he studied, and was later promoted to a leadership position because he answered more questions right than the other SRs (Seaman Recruits) that were being considered.
Most parents do not hear from their sailors when they arrive at boot camp after the 14 day ROM. After their first week (check-in, testing and evaluations) they get assigned a ship (not really a ship but a barracks) and then they write a form letter that is sent home. It has the address where you can write to them. Many parents, families and friends have already been writing and saving letters to mail to their SR once the address arrives. My son sent his form letter but it NEVER arrived to me. I was told that as long as I waited 5 weeks, I could reach out to his recruiter to get the address, which I did. Another mom had the same problem, but her son's recruiter had shipped out!! He was the only one that could have given her the address, and she was blocked (privacy laws) from getting it any other way - calling RTC did not help. She ended up sending copies of letters to EVERY male barracks so her son would be sure to get it. Anyway, my son wondered why all of his barracks mates were getting letters and he was not. Of course, I explained all that in the letters I sent.
There are some great tools and suggestions on Navy4Moms for letters and fun things to do to help keep your son's moral up. They NEED your letters. Do not send fat letters, colored envelopes, musical cards (you do not want attention called to your son). Just letters that are less than 4-5 pages. Number your letters and keep copies. Send stamped self addressed envelopes. Know they are very busy and don't have much time to write home (due to leadership position, my son had even less time than everyone else). I sent my son the fill in the blank letters (that I modified). I found them on Navy4Moms. Around 5-6 weeks they get a phone call home from a pay phone. Sometimes they earn an extra call. My son told me he got to talk to me for an hour, but then 25 or so minutes into was told his time was up. So the entire time my son was at boot camp, I got one letter and his cousin got one letter (with instructions to share it). I got 3 phone calls, one "I'm here", one short one in the middle, and the "I'm a Sailor" call after Battle Stations (the final test). Remember, they are busy and NO NEWS IN GOOD NEWS.
Did I say, the most important thing to remember is NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS, especially for the first 4-5 weeks. If you get an extra call, he is having a problem. Didn't pass a fitness test or physical, or got exposed to covid.... If they get removed from their "ship" to go to ROM, you get a call. A very sad call where many moms heard their child cry. You don't get updates, you can't send vitamins, you don't even know when they get released from ROM. ROM can be the hardest part, they bond with the other sailors in their barracks but if someone gets symptoms, the ring of fire (everyone directly around the sick SRs bunk) all get quarantined for 14 days and then get put in to a new barracks and take up training where they left off but with a new group. This can happen 1-3 times during their 8 weeks of training and is devastating. I think knowing in advance it is possible may help.
For my son, it never happened. He finished on time, but someone got covid symptoms the morning of PIR (graduation ceremony) and the corpsmen did not make it on time to clear the entire rest of the group (even the ones that were NOT in the Ring of Fire), so they all completely missed the ceremony - but he as still as sailor, just did not "March" :(
Send moleskin for blisters. My son said his feet were unrecognizable! But he actually did not use the moleskin and gave it to someone who needed it more. You may want to find the photo order form on Nex (Navy Exchange store) website or on Navy4Moms to discuss what photos you want to receive. My son bought almost $1000 worth of photos. It was wonderful. He spent his first paycheck on it and gave it to me for my birthday, which was during boot camp. He said it was a very hard day for him, knowing he was missing my birthday. Anyway, you may want to help your son decide in advance what to buy.
My son actually loved boot camp and was totally prepared to be yelled at and work his butt off. He went with the right mind set. Some others struggle quite a bit. There will be good days and bad days but the Navy will help your son grow into a man!
I found the first 2-3 weeks were the hardest. I had to put all my sons clutter away as seeing it made me cry. Then, I built him a shrine, but photos, an anchor, blue candles, navy decor. It is still prominently displayed in the family room.
Navy4Moms is a wonderful support group and will be your lifeline throughout the next several weeks.
About week 4, they take a couple photos (one serious, one smiling) in uniform. You don’t get to choose which uniform. My sons group wore the “working uniform” green camo. Some get to wear their dress blues.
Your SR gets the chance to order packages and/or individual photos and group photos of his entire division. Can also get a PIR graduation ceremony DVD, photo ornaments & photo mugs. My personal favorite is a dog tag with his photo on it that I ALWAYS wear. They also sell challenge coins.
Here is a link for more info https://navyformoms.ning.com/group/pir01252013/page/photo-keel-dvd-...
My son ordered a package, additional photos, coins - spent a boat load as I told him to get everything. I had no idea what that meant but it made him feel good to shower me in photos! I never meant fir him to spend so much tho. Funny thing is, he didn’t get mugs, ornaments or the dog tags. I spent a couple hundred more getting those for myself and as gifts for family.
Hi Materfamilias - am just a few days ahead of you in this process....I know chipmunk is right, that everyone's experience will be different, but this is how is worked for us 5 days ago....
we drove our son to MEPS on Wednesday afternoon - we were told to arrive by 5:00pm and we made a really bad wrong turn that made us have to recalculate our route and we lost 45 minutes of driving time, the net result was that we arrived at 5:10 - which was very problematic because we had to wait for someone to return to the hotel to check his temp before they would officially check him in and we had to wait over 2 hours - so, my advice is leave PLENTLY of time to get there - give yourself a HUGE buffer and do not be even one minute late!
once he was checked in, he could come and go as he pleased - we went out to dinner and he came to our hotel for a bit - we dropped him off at 11:00pm - but it wasn't as if anyone was checking on him - he was not told what time he had to be in.
They woke him up at 4:15 for breakfast and then they took him over to MEPS. He texted us at around 9:00AM to let us know he was about to be sworn in and then texted us just after. The oath ceremony was posted on the MEPS facebook page within approx 30 minutes - it was WONDERFUL to see it. He was able to text us on and off from MEPS. He did not receive his travel info until about 10:30 that morning and he was able to text us the info. We were able to go to the airport and spend time with him before he went through security (part of me wanted to kidnap him and take him home LOL). He was given a check from the Navy for $23.00 for food - it was some kind of a bank check, that the food vendors in the airports accept. He spent it all at Subway - he got 2 sandwiches - one he ate and one he saved for later - we were told that was a good idea to do.
he had a layover at Dulles and then flew to Chicago. We were able to talk and text the whole time. His instructions when he landed at Chicago were to get something to eat and get to the bus. There were no other recruits on his flight to chicago, but I assume that there others met up at chicago.
Since we live in the northeast, he left wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and a winter jacket. I do not think they get their navy gear until they arrive at Fort McCoy - so i would have him wear the warmest things he has - you are right - it is FREEZING there - the temps are in the negative digits. Have you checked out the Fort McCoy FB page? There are pics of the navy recruits walking to their meals - they look to be wearing very weather appropriate gear - heavy jackets, gloves, hats etc....
We did send him with a Nintendo Switch, as we were told he would most likely be able to keep that with him during ROM, but we don't know if he was able to our not....
The best piece of advise I received from his recruiter was to have him call you as soon as he lands in Chicago - he will most likely have a few minutes to do this - we spoke with our son for at least 15 minutes. He will call you when he arrives at Fort McCoy - but it will most likely be hours later (for us it was about 5 hours later - 2:00AM!!) - when he makes that call - there will be a lot of commotion and yelling in the background..... It is a hard call to receive - your son most likely will not sound like your son, and you will not be able to have a conversation - just let him read his script and tell him you love him.....I looked at this call as my first test as a Navy Mom -
I feel for you, I really do - this is hard stuff - and you will cry a lot - but these moms on here are amazing - they will get you through it. I trust their intel WAY more than the recruiters.
Enjoy your last night home with him - take lots of pictures! Good luck!
materfamilias, welcome and Big Navy Hugs. My son only took his wallet, phone and charger so I am absolutely no help there. However I am from Northern Wisconsin so I can help with the clothing. We dress in layers up here, lots and lots of layers. A stocking hat that covers your ear lopes a must, it is suppose to be negative 25 and any parts of the extremities can get frostbite in less than 30 minutes. Good pair of gloves and wool socks. They will provide winter clothing and boots when he gets there. I hate the cold and nothing is worse than being cold and hungry, so this is coming from a Mom that sits in front of the wood stove all winter. Praying for you as you drop your son off.
Ladies - Thanks for your replies as I was busy earlier and not able to respond to materfamilias.
materfamilias - as you can see there are conflicts with the information I posted on your My page versus what these ladies shared whose sons were at BC more recently than mine - at least regarding electronics. You do want to make sure he has a phone card that will work for a pay phone. I am not familiar with the "virtual phone card" you mentioned.
It is very important for your SR to used his food voucher in one place and get extra food, especially if he is going to be on a connecting flight. My son did not use his voucher when they left our airport, their plane was delayed and then they were scrambling in Chicago to get food before they had to meet the bus. Poor guy, I am not sure how fast he snarfed that food but I am sure he was starved. They had fed them at our MEPS before transporting them to the airport but not sure how all of them work.
Some people recommend you put a small encouraging note inside his wallet for him to read until your letters can arrive. Let him know he may not get a letter until week 6!! And he might leave you a voice mail message. If your son does have to call home for some reason such as security information and knows his ship # & Div # be sure to let him know he should give you that information. We have the rest of the address that we can give to you but you need to know the ship# and div#. - FYI.
As for the recruiters, No most of them have not received updated information. We are constantly trying to glean from the recent new sailors, via our moms on here what is the "new normal."
materfamilias -- Welcome!! Please read my blog to give you an idea of what the first few weeks may look like.. First Things First-- The Quarantine Edition Up and to the Left 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!!)
The Expected timeline will look like this
Day 0 -- Travel, Arrival and "I'm Here" scripted phone call
Day 1-14 -- ROM (Restriction of Movement/ Quarantine-- Lots of studying and waiting)
Day 15-21 Arrive Onboard RTC and begin P-days (P-days- Initial Processing Days) including 2 days of P-hold (Weekend)
Day 21-- Complete P days. (Initial PFT & Run)
Day 22-- Begin training and mail form letter out. Look for it to arrive around 1-2 weeks later)
All of this is assuming no exposure to COVID with additional ROM
Training typically occurs Monday - Friday but we have heard rumors that Saturday’s are now training days as well.
Normal PIR will be 10 Fridays after departure from Home but it can be less by 1 but it can be extended by ???? (lots!!) It just depends on how many times they get caught in the “Ring of Fire” but do not get COVID. IF they get COVID, Once they are recovered they will not be removed from training again even if they are in the “Ring of Fire”. (so there is that small silver lining if kids get sick)
I Hope you’ll come and join us on the Main Boot Camp Moms page: https://navyformoms.ning.com/group/bootcampmoms You may have to scroll down a ways to reach the comments but we’d love to get to know you and answer any questions or concerns you may have or just be a support from others who “get it”.
Because you have a son or daughter that is getting ready to leave for boot camp soon please sit down with them and have a real good talk about what to expect.
Since Covid has hit things have been all over the place - they get put in quarantine, they get out of quarantine, they get put back in quarantine. A normal 8 week boot camp can drag on much longer and it can take a huge mental toll on them. It's important that they understand THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY! They need to be physically strong but more importantly they need to be MENTALLY STRONG!
Let them know that they probably won't even get a letter from home until they are at least HALF WAY through boot camp. NO you haven't forgotten about them - it just takes that long for them to train someone in the mail room so they can get their mail. The first couple of weeks they may question their decision to join - and that's normal! But they need to be strong. This is just the beginning of their Navy career and they need to learn to be FLEXIBLE.
Remind them they are STRONG and THEY CAN DO THIS. Before they leave ask them HOW BAD DO YOU WANT THIS?