Battle Stations-21 (BST) is the final test for the recruits and is a 12 hour evaluation program with 17 ship board scenarios from missile attacks that can cause fires to flooding caused by exploding undersea mines. Recruits also stand watches on the bridge and are tasked with engineering scenarios, lookout scenarios, and mass casualty drills. Battle Stations-21 is conducted several times a week, at night, on board USS Trayer (BST 21), a 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator that is named after the first chief petty officer to train and graduate recruits at Great Lakes. BST begins around 8:00 pm CST and ends the next morning. Throughout the various scenarios, recruits are evaluated and graded not only as individuals, but also as teams and as an entire division. The morning that a recruit passes Battle Stations-21, s/he attends a capping ceremony around 8:20 or so that lasts about 20-30 minutes where s/he removes his/her “RECRUIT” ball cap and replaces it with a “NAVY” ball cap, which signals to the world that s/he is a US Navy Sailor!
One to four divisions participate in Battle Stations-21 at one time. Brother divisions go through together. The 900 and 800 divisions go randomly, unless there are two 900 or two 800 divisions in the group. Sometimes two sets of brother divisions go together; sometimes a set of brother divisions goes with the 800 and/or 900 division/s. Occasionally only one set of brother divisions goes through. The 900 division may go through alone. They start with the lowest-numbered divisions and move up---not including the 800/900 in that sequence. They can start on Wednesday or Thursday, a week before PIR. They do not go on Friday or Saturday nights because of the weekend and Captains Cup (a fun athletic competition between the divisions in that TG) on Saturday. Then they can resume on Sunday-Wednesday nights, depending on how large the PIR group is and how many of those nights they will need. If your recruit reveals the dates of BST, do not post that information anywhere on the web; instead PM that info to those within your PIR group, so that others can be prepared for their calls as well.
The "I'm a Sailor!" calls can come 1 to 10 days prior to PIR on a weekday and usually start around 2 pm Central Time, but can start earlier or later, and can come as late as around 8 pm Central Time. Therefore, it is best to have your phone close by all day. When your Sailor makes that call, s/he will most likely be very tired since s/he will have been up since 5 am the previous day and won't make it into his/her rack until between 8 and 10 pm that night, but you and your Sailor will be very proud and very happy. Please ask your Sailor if everyone in his/her division passed and post that within your PIR group. Some new Sailors may not get to make their calls until later if they have watch, a medical appointment, or other reason, so it would be nice for those loved ones to know that they have a Sailor instead of having to wait a day or two for that call. (My call came in the evening on the Thursday before PIR as we were driving up to GL.) (Note: The first calls for the TG usually come on the day of the previous week's PIR, but can come as early as Wednesday of the week before PIR when PIR is on Friday. Calls can come 8 to 10 days prior to PIR for a TG that follows a PIR that occurs on a day other than Friday, such as the Thanksgiving TG that has PIR on Wednesday each year or if RTC has to move BST for another reason such as if there is a holiday during the week of PIR and the TG is large and/or more days are needed for BST than are available.) There have been some recruits and even a whole division at least once that did not make the "I'm a Sailor!" calls. If you do not receive a call, don't worry, everything is fine. Those who will not have PIR do make a call to let their loved ones know that there is a problem, so "No news is good news."
Go to IDEAS-BattleStations 21 on CNN, Battle Stations 21 Trainer Commissioned at RTC Great Lakes, USS Trayer Turns Five at RTC, and Not your daddy’s boot camp — why Great Lakes got tougher to find out more on BST. There have been recruits who failed BST on the first try and even an entire division that failed in June 2018, but all have passed on the second try. If you are wondering, yes, that division was able to retake BST later in the week and did have PIR on time. It is a very low number that fail BST though because hopefully the recruits will work together and help their shipmates who are struggling with something. After all, that's what shipmates do. Falling asleep during BST will result in failure and being ASMO'd to a division with a later PIR date--usually two weeks later than the recruit's original PIR date. All recruits who make it to BST do eventually go on to pass and become US Navy Sailors except in very rare cases when a medical or legal issue is not discovered or addressed until after BST because the Navy is not going to train them and then send them home at the last step in the process.
If your recruit has not passed all of his/her final tests, he/she will not be allowed to participate in BST until those are passed. See Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and Fitness Improvement Training (FIT).
The following was posted by the PAO within RTC's fB site:
WHEN WILL MY RECRUIT GO THROUGH BATTLE STATIONS?
Battle Stations-21 is the recruits' final test that can take place anywhere from eight to two days prior to graduation. We do not give out the specific date your recruit's division will be taking this test nor do we allow the dates to be posted. We do not post any specific training details and we urge everyone to practice Operational Security by not posting such information.
A few weeks before PIR, be sure to write and ask your recruit when Battle Stations-21 will be. You can then PM others with loved ones in the division and/or Brother Divisions so they will be informed as well--but do not post BST dates openly on the web. When you receive your "I'm a Sailor!" call, be sure to ask your new Sailor if everyone in the division and brother division passed and be sure to post that within the PIR group for others who are also waiting on this call. You can post that you have a Sailor once BST is over.
Upon completion of Battle Stations-21, each new Sailor will sign a Page 13 (Military Non-Disclosure Agreement) stating that s/he will not discuss what occurred during the event so know that your new Sailor is not at Liberty to discuss it.
The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.