This site is for mothers of kids in the U.S. Navy and for Moms who have questions about Navy life for their kids.



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Link to Navy Speak - Navy Terms & Acronyms: Navy Speak

All Hands Magazine's full length documentary "Making a Sailor": This video follows four recruits through Boot Camp in the spring of 2018 who were assigned to DIV 229, an integrated division, which had PIR on 05/25/2018. 

Boot Camp: Making a Sailor (Full Length Documentary - 2018)

Boot Camp: Behind the Scenes at RTC

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Please note! Changes to this guide happened in October 2017. Tickets are now issued for all guests, and all guests must have a ticket to enter base. A separate parking pass is no longer needed to drive on to base for parking.

Please see changes to attending PIR in the PAGES column. The PAGES are located under the member icons on the right side.

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I have been reading all the information on the site. It’s quite a learning curve!  I’m wondering if anyone could give me some feedback. I am trying to decide if it’s better to go out to PIR without a ticket or wait and fly to see him in A school in Florida.

We are a divorced family.  I am a very close family member but not a parent so with a limited number of tickets I won’t get a ticket to PIR.  I am trying to decide if it’s worth flying out for PIR, knowing that I will get to see him afterwards and at the airport before his flight (hopefully).   Or should I wait until he is at A school and fly down and see him when he is on liberty.
My understanding from reading is that the first couple of weeks of A school, before they phase up, they can only leave the base with a buddy for very short periods of time. Does it have to be another sailor?  Or could he leave with me?  How much do you think I could see him? 
I also have questions about the pictures, coins, videos etc. Everything I read says you can also buy them at NEX when you’re at RTC. Without a ticket I won’t be able to access NEX right?  Can I buy them online?  Being a divorced family the information is going to the other side so I’m not sure it will filter through to me.
Sorry for all the questions, thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

PIR is exciting just getting to see them & let them know you are behind them... but if you want a little more one on one time A school would be a great idea. They just want out & to go eat. Wait until phasing up when they can leave base for an extended period. You can be their liberty buddy & sign them out & in. PIR, they will be overwhelmed, tired & anxious. Just my thoughts. But whatever you decide, have a great visit!!

Helly Brdwygurl! I want to start off with don't apologize for the questions!! We're here to help to the best of our ability and share our insights and information. We encourage questions! It's hard when the information gets divided through divorce, so let us help you along this journey!

I'm going to do my best to answer your questions here! There is a viewing area outside of base and the PIR is live-streamed. They get liberty immediately after PIR, so the family can always grab you afterwards and everyone can spend the day with the SR. I recommend asking your SR if that's what they'd like, ultimately it is their choice who actually gets to attend PIR. But I recommend, if you get along with the family, to definitely spend the day with them! If you don't get along, waiting for A school is perfectly fine. As for the flying out, they're usually either Saturday or Sunday. The recruit won't know until the date of PIR (sometimes before). They arrive at their designated airports (won't know until again until PIR or close to) very early in the morning, usually 3am. So until their flights, you can get a family pass and join them and spend some more time with them. Not a lot of families do this, but the ones who do never regret it and enjoy every last moment with their sailor.

So, my husband's A school is in Great Lakes, it might be different in Florida. But yes, they phase up rather quickly, my husband was phase 2 after one week. I went and visited him 2 months after he started A school, he was phase three, and I was able to check him out with no other sailors. Phase 2 would require another buddy, Phase 1 requires 2 additional. So I recommend phase 3! Cause then it's just you checking him out! Also, (again Great Lakes) he applied for overnight chits, so he spent the whole weekend with me! (In A school). He still had to call and check-in. Your SR will know more about the process and everything when they get to A school. The first week of A school will be indoc, where they will learn a lot of the rules and regulations of A school. Once there, he will be able to give you more accurate information, and hopefully some other Navy families can answer for Florida A school. Without a ticket you won't be able to access the on-base NEX. I have heard you can buy them online, hopefully someone else can give you more accurate information. If you're on good terms with the family attending PIR, you can request for them to do that for you, or you can also request it from your SR. 

Brdwygurl - Welcome to N4M! - My son flew out from GL but he flew to SC and is a Nuke so his A school was a bit longer and his further training took almost 2 years. The liberty and phasing up time can be slightly different at each A school, I think.  Some of the best information on A school will come from a group with whatever rate your sailor will be. (His job). I think there is more than one A school in FL so I don't know that I could identify just by that what your SR's rate will be.  

Only the sailors can give you the information as to their flight out, airport, flight #, time - this could be tricky to find out if you are not on good terms with the other side of the family. Also, they will be at RTC with the sailor and the ones taking him to their motel. There are just a lot of possibilities of things not going according to plan and a lot of flexibility involved.

I don't want to sound negative but making all of the connections after PIR, the amount of time that can be spent (it can be different for each sailor - especially if they have to stand watch, or their orders are not completely finalized, as was the case with my son), knowing first of all which of the three airports your sailor might fly out of, and then where to meet them at that airport. Also getting up after midnight to be at the airport with my sailor who was on the first flight out Saturday morning, left us totally drained as well. (That was our scenario, they are all different.) It was hard enough for us to coordinate and we were in as much communication as we could be with our sailor who still did not have his cell phone yet.

Conveying information to and from your SR while at BC via mail can also be an issue. I just had someone share with me that their SR never received any mail the entire time they were there. I don't know the reason, but it has happened, and others are saying their SR's are not getting mail, and they are not receiving mail. So, the only way to really plan and coordinate (In my opinion) is going to need to be with the family members that have received the Form Letter with all of the PIR information. If that is not the best of terms, I would honestly suggest staying at home, watching the PIR either live stream or on the video replay, and find out the A school information. If you have your SR's cell # you should be able to text or call them after they get to A school. They will know what their schedule of study and liberty time is so you can make plans to go down and visit them.  At my son's A school he had liberty in the evening on Friday and Saturday through Sunday, although Sunday afternoon they were expected to be studying. Many extended family members would make trips to go see the sailors on the weekend, and sometimes they could even stay at the motel with them, if they were phased up enough.

Personally, if I was in your situation, and financially needed to make a decision between PIR or A school, I would plan a trip to A school and have more one on one time with your sailor. If you can afford both trips, then there isn't any reason to not make a trip to GL, but I would make sure there was very open communication with the other family members about seeing your sailor afterwards at their motel.

I agree with Danman & Kanada - after PIR, they are going to be very tired, and with flying out, they have that on their mind as well.

I want to look up the Photo Nex website if I can find it, but I will post their mailing information shortly.

Hugs! (Also, just to make a note here, RTC is changing the policy on sending cell phones home, so depending on where your SR is in training, he very may well be given his box of belongings and be allowed to have his phone upon arrival at the airport - assuming it is charged up. I am not sure.) 

Here is information on ordering items from the Photo Nex - or what is available.  - Lemonelephant posted the above information and it includes the link to the PIR live stream.

Address for Navy Exchange: 

Navy Exchange Photo Lab

Bldg. 7626, 2601 E Paul Jones St.

Great Lakes, IL 60088

Phone # 847-578-6205

Email: - I would not try to contact them on a Friday!! 

Division coins are purchased through the Photo Lab Nex - They have limited quantities of the Division coin and the Division Flag coin - they also have the Ship coin and I think they had a coin for each state, but some of those were limited as well, depending on what they had in stock.

I could not find a website that actually had photo information. I still have my order form that came with my sailor's pictures.  But in order to purchase pictures, you have to have the proof #. If your SR ordered the larger package it will come with several sets of pictures. He had also ordered some extra Division T-shirts, but then his sisters wanted some, so I ordered extras for them at a later time. 

Just an FYI - If the link for purchasing the Division T-shirts provided in the information above does not work here is a new link that I think is for the current division T-shirt orders. You have to wait until after their PIR to order these.

I hope this information is helpful. 

Brdwygurl-- I realize this may sound harsh but don't go to PIR unless your recruit asks you.  Given that one side of the family is not giving the other the necessary information you would just be one more cook in the kitchen as it were and may end up getting your feelings hurt if they can't make it all work and play nice.  Write him tons and read up on his A school and make plans to go visit him there where you can have one on one time and not have to split time between Mom, Dad, close family members, Siblings, Significant other, Sleep.... I think we got maybe 5 hours sleep TOTAL between the time we arrived in GL and the time our sailor flew out, and it was just Me, DH and our youngest son (16) at the time! Keeping the 4 of us together was more than enough and our son had duty so that cut into our time together!!  You will only be able to watch the live stream so you need to decide if it is worth it to go and see him for maybe 3-8 hours or go to FL and maybe get an entire weekend.

Hi Brdwygurl!

Ahhh, memories of PIR!! :)  My daughter Molly is graduating A School this Thursday, got her caduceus on her uniform today, showing that she's a Corpsman. So proud of her. She reports to C school in FL in October. But there was a very limited window that we could have flown out to see her. Of course, this could be different, depending on the A School!

Molly told me that SRs are often allowed an extra ticket or two...can't hurt to ask, because PIR was all the feels. It was so well done and emotional and awesome. If you can be there, do! If you can be there to see him and watch PIR on the live stream, in my humble opinion, that would still be worth it, especially if he has leave for the weekend. You'll have to follow his lead on this and see what would be best. Good luck, and please let us know what you decided to do!

There should not be "extra tickets" as only those on the Security Access Form are allowed a ticket to PIR. If the recruits are "sharing, and allowing others to take their "empty spots" on their list, and pick up a ticket that is a huge NO. If caught doing so, and they most likely will, not will not only cause problems for both recruits, but could also keep the family from watching PIR.

I am getting ready to attend our 3rd PIR. Each one has been completely different but here were the experiences with the fist 2.

01/12 - 1st son PIR - So happy to see my oldest son who enlisted at 17. Missed him dearly and cherished every moment of the 5 hours we spent with him on PIR day. Blizzard conditions caused them to have to be back on base early.  Met at the airport at 1:30am the next morning and spent all day with him and 20 other sailors while the plain was delayed. I was lucky to get that extra day before he went to Charleston, SC.  We got a lot more time with our son at A School and Power school graduations. He also got to take us around town and wasn’t completely exhausted like at PIR.  He’s been under way for about 4 weeks total in 8 years. He’s on his 3rd enlistment.

04/15 - 2nd son PIR.  His wife was supposed to attend but ended up not coming and stayed home with her boyfriend instead. Enough said about that.  Went out for lunch and to Navy Federal to change bank accounts. Nice visit for about 7 hours where he slept for a while in our hotel room.  Met at the airport at 1:30am and spent 2 hours with him before he had to leave for Pensacola, FL.  We didn’t attend A School graduation for this one but he has come home every chance he gets.  He’s been at sea off and on for most of the last 2 years and is currently deployed for approx 9 months. He swears he’s done after this enlistment and wants to get out.

11/19 - first son’s wife, enlisted after they got married. I’m proud of my new Navy Mom x3 status and she asked us to attend. It was nice to be chosen we we’re going. She’ll spend all of her time with my son and I’ll talk to her mom. Navy reserves so she’ll go wherever her husbands next duty station is.

definitely more quality time after A School in my opinion.


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