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



Choose your Username.  For the privacy and safety of you and/or your sailor, NO LAST NAMES ARE ALLOWED, even if your last name differs from that of your sailor (please make sure your URL address does not include your last name either).  Also, please do not include your email address in your user name. Go to "Settings" above to set your Username.  While there, complete your Profile so you can post and share photos and videos of your Sailor and share stories with other moms!

Make sure to read our Community Guidelines and this Navy Operations Security (OPSEC) checklist - loose lips sink ships!

Join groups!  Browse for groups for your PIR date, your sailor's occupational specialty, "A" school, assigned ship, homeport city, your own city or state, and a myriad of other interests. Jump in and introduce yourself!  Start making friends that can last a lifetime.

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

...and visit - America's Navy and also Navy Live - The Official Blog of the Navy to learn more.

OPSEC - Navy Operations Security

Always keep Navy Operations Security in mind.  In the Navy, it's essential to remember that "loose lips sink ships."  OPSEC is everyone's responsibility. 

DON'T post critical information including future destinations or ports of call; future operations, exercises or missions; deployment or homecoming dates.  

DO be smart, use your head, always think OPSEC when using texts, email, phone, and social media, and watch this video: "Importance of Navy OPSEC."

Follow this link for OPSEC Guidelines:



**UPDATE 4/26/2022** Effective with the May 6, 2022 PIR 4 guests will be allowed.  Still must be fully vaccinated to attend.

**UPDATE as of 11/10/2022 PIR vaccination is no longer required.

**UPDATE 7/29/2021** You now must be fully vaccinated in order to attend PIR:

In light of observed changes and impact of the Coronavirus Delta Variant and out of an abundance of caution for our recruits, Sailors, staff, and guests, Recruit Training Command is restricting Pass-in-Review (recruit graduation) to ONLY fully immunized guests (14-days post final COVID vaccination dose).  


RTC Graduation

**UPDATE 8/25/2022 - MASK MANDATE IS LIFTED.  Vaccinations still required.

**UPDATE 11/10/22 PIR - Vaccinations no longer required.


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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Navy Speak

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Visite esta página para explorar en su idioma las oportunidades de educación y carreras para sus hijos en el Navy.



Phone Cards and Phone Calls

Please read Navy Allows Boot Camp Recruits to Use Personal Cell Phones to Make Calls to Family at Home for information on how phone calls work at RTC beginning 3 April 2024.

The information below is no longer current.  (lemonelephant)

If your recruit did not take a phone card to Boot Camp, you can send one when you write. Your recruit will need a calling card to make any calls other than the "I'm here!" call or calls for information or if there is a problem. Your recruit will be able to purchase one at the NEX.

If you choose to buy a regular calling card, Walgreens sometimes has them on sale at a reduced price and there are other places as well where you can obtain them such as CVS Pharmacy that has a reloadable phone card for $40.00 for a thousand minutes and 10% off the reload.  Some cards are already activated once they are purchased, but others are not, so be sure to activate the card before you send it so your Recruit does not have to waste valuable time and minutes doing that. It has been suggested that you purchase one that has at least 400 minutes on it, partly because 10 to 20 minutes is used up each time the card is accessed even for a short call; 200 minutes is adequate for most though. You can also make a copy of the card before mailing it and check every now and then to see how many minutes remain and add minutes since some are reloadable. Virtual calling cards are also available on the web. These are an 800 number and a PIN that your recruit must enter to make the call. These are reloadable and if you keep the information, you can check the balance and add minutes if needed.

If you or your recruit has a PennyTalk account, your recruit can use that account to make calls. Using a PennyTalk account, calls within the USA and some other countries are 1 cent per minute. This may be a good option if your recruit has people to call in other countries. See (Note: A 49¢ connection fee is charged each time a call connects. A 99¢ monthly service fee applies to all accounts. A 90¢ payphone surcharge applies to each call made from a payphone.) You can also purchase PennyTalk calling cards at major retail stores such as Walgreens. A 49¢ connection fee is charged each time a call connects and a 90¢ payphone surcharge applies to each call made from a payphone.

Soon after your recruit arrives at RTC, s/he will be permitted to make the “I’m here!” call. It will be short (30 seconds or less--10 to 20 seconds is average) and to the point. "I made it. I'm here. I'm fine. Look for a letter in about a week or two. I will try to call in about 3 weeks. Love ya. I gotta go." (Sometimes the recruits say 2 weeks instead.) Recruits are sometimes given up to 2 minutes for this call, but many still stick with the four pieces of information that they have to relay and cut the call short. This call can come at any time, even in the wee hours of the morning for some depending on the flight or bus schedule. If your recruit took a cell phone with him or her, then this will be the last call from that phone before your recruit packs it into "the box" for storage in GL to get back after leaving RTC. Sometimes a recruit does not get to make this call if s/he did not take a cell phone or his/her cell phone battery is dead because the recruits now must use a cell phone for this call and there is not always time for everyone to make the call on a borrowed cell phone. There are no phone banks at Inprocessing. The RDC's will permit recruits to make that call later if they were unable to make it, but many recruits choose not to do that because they do not want to be singled out and the call would be scripted and supervised by the RDC. These "make up" calls have been coming on the weekend after arrival for most, but can come on any day one to five days after arrival. Some recruits have snuck in an extra call by saying that they did not get to make the call upon arrival and so their loved ones get the scripted call (or something similar) when the "make up" calls are made, which can be a little confusing since it is pretty much the same call that they received a few days earlier. (Note: Even though your recruit may say the first call will be in about 2 or 3 weeks, it could be anytime based on when the RDC is able to schedule a phone call and some are able to call before that.)

There is no set number of calls a Recruit will be able to make. Most recruits make the "I'm here!" call soon after arriving at RTC; this call is from his/her cell phone or a borrowed cell phone. Most Sailors will make one or more calls to say, "I'm a Sailor!" Recruits are often permitted to make an "I'm still alive!" call in about week 3 or 4 and have usually received mail by that time, but that call can be lost for any number of reasons. Recruits have also been able to make a very short call within a week or so of arrival at times just because the RDC was in a good mood. Calls before week 3 or 4 are most often due to needing additional information, often to assist with Security Clearance (See more on that in the December 13, 2012 comment below by MSgtRet DIV 912. * no longer exists.), or due to a problem and are on the Navy. Recruits may need information concerning allergies during Phase 1 (P-days) or when completing Page 2 (NAVPERS 1070/602 - Dependency Application/Record of Emergency Data) or when completing other paperwork in the second week. The calls for information or due to a problem are supervised and the Recruit is not usually permitted to chitchat. Don't expect a call, but do have your phone available from 8ish am to 8ish pm Central Time and be pleasantly surprised if you do receive a call. You may want to forward your home phone to your cell phone when you leave the house to reduce the likelihood of missing a call made to your home phone. Some people record a special message for their recruit just in case they do miss a call; that way the recruit still knows s/he is loved and encouraged.

If you receive a call from your recruit or new Sailor that you can barely hear, then ask him/her to look for the volume button feature on the pay phone and adjust it. This has worked for others and may help you to have a much better call.

To forward calls from your home phone to your cell phone, for most phone providers the code is 72#, but it may be different for some providers. Dial 72# from your home phone. Then when you get the dial tone dial your 10-digit cell phone number (including area code). You should hear a couple of tones and your cell phone should ring. If it doesn't ring, repeat until it does and your calls will be forwarded to your cell phone. When you want to cancel the call forwarding, pick up your home phone and dial 73# (it may be different for some providers). Hang up and call your home phone from your cell phone to be sure that call forwarding has been cancelled; if not, dial 73# again. Check with your phone provider if you are unsure of the codes to use.

Those with a recruit with a contract for one of the following ratings may be called for additional information for a security clearance while your recruit is in BC and/or during "A" School or while receiving other training: special ops (SEALs, ND, SWCC, AIRR, and EOD), a Spook rating (CTI, CTM, CTN, CTR, CTT, and IS), IT, MA and those in NF and sub ratings. Having a recruit who will have one of these ratings does not guarantee that you will get one or more additional calls for information because the Navy may have the information that they need from you and your recruit may have to call someone else for something or may not need to call anyone at all. If your recruit has a contract for a different rating, s/he may still need additional information for some reason. Recruits with a contract for any rating may call from medical, most often during Phase 1 (P-days), to get the name and/or contact information for a physician s/he has seen in the past or to have medical information faxed or to verify allergies, especially drug allergies.

If you have a phone call from the 847 area code, or US GOVERNMENT, or PRIVATE CALL, or RESTRICTED, or PAY PHONE, or WITHHELD, or UNAVAILABLE or ATT CALLING CARD, be sure to answer!!! (It is possible that a Recruit could call from another area code as well--773, 224, 312, 872 are all area codes in that area.) You may want to start a list of questions you have for your recruit and keep it near your phone. As with letters, don't share anything that will distress your recruit. It’s fine to let your recruit know that you miss him/her, but always follow it with how proud you are of him/her and how much you are looking forward to seeing him/her in his/her dress whites or dress blues at PIR as a US Navy Sailor. (GL changes over to dress blues the first full week of October and to dress whites the first full week of May. The command determines the switch over date and it could change from that if the need arose.)

Once your recruit is in his/her permanent ship following Phase 1 (P-days), the RDC's do not usually schedule calls between 7 am and 1 pm CST on Sunday because of holiday routine. This allows the recruits the opportunity to attend chapel and know that they do not have to make a choice between making a phone call and attending a worship service. There also will not be any scheduled calls between those hours on the day of a PIR, which is usually on Friday, since the RDC's would need to be in the Drill Hall and available to the graduating divisions. All other times are fair game. Calls for information or for security clearance or if there is a problem can occur during those times.

The "I'm still alive!" or other calls the RDC schedules usually come in the mornings if they are made on Monday through Thursday, but they can come anytime between 8 am and 8 pm CST if the phone banks are available. This is because the "I'm a Sailor!" calls, which are typically made 1 to 7 days before PIR, but can come up to 10 days before PIR, are in the afternoon and evenings and begin around 2ish pm CST and end around 8ish pm CST. (See Battle Stations-21 (BST).) Calls can come anytime between 1 pm and 8 pm CST on Friday if the phone banks are available and anytime between 8 am and 8 pm CST on Saturday and between 1 pm and 8 pm CST on Sunday. Calls for security reasons or for information most often occur during regular business hours, but may come at any time, even on weekends, especially if the recruit has had to try multiple times to reach someone. Calls for additional information during Phase 1 (P-days) can come anytime, but usually come between 6 am and 10 pm CST--even on weekends because recruits do not have holiday routine while in Phase 1 (P-days) and a recruit could be asked to make a call while in P-Hold.

The RDC's schedule the phone banks and determine how much time the division will have. The recruit/Sailor will determine who s/he will call. Sometimes an RDC will schedule only a short time at the phone banks and recruits are only able to make one or two 5 to 10 minute calls; calls have also been as short as 1 to 2 minutes, especially if the call is before week 3. Other times, the recruit/Sailor will have an hour or more and will decide how to divide up that time among those s/he wants to talk to. There are 2 rooms near the NEX where the phone banks are located and approximately 50 to 60 phones available in each room depending on how many are in working order. There are also 4 to 6 computers available in each room.

There are a number of reasons that your recruit would be unable to call when others in the division are making calls. The most common reasons are:

*The recruit had watch:  the recruit may or may not be able to make the call at a later time.

*The recruit had not passed a test:  the recruit may be permitted to make the call once s/he passes the test.

*The recruit had a medical or dental appointment:  the recruit may be permitted to make the call at a later time, but often is not able to.

*The recruit was being interviewed for his/her security clearance:  the recruit may be permitted to make the call at a later time, but often is not able to.

*The recruit is SIQ:  the recruit may be permitted to make the call at a later time, but often is not able to.

*The recruit or someone else in the division did something that the RDC deemed unacceptable while the division was making the calls:  the recruit/s will not be able to make the call.

*An individual or small group earned a call due to a perfect inspection or test score or for another reason the RDC deemed merited a call:  only those earning the call will make calls.

*The recruit had duties to perform as Division Staff or Ship Staff when the call was scheduled:  the recruit may or may not be able to make the call at a later time.

*The recruit called one or more other people and used up the allotted time.

*The recruit chose to give his/her phone time to another recruit or time ran out while the recruit was waiting in line because others didn't watch the time closely:  the recruit/s will not be able to make the call. (Some recruits have given their phone time to another recruit because it was his/her birthday and they wanted to help make his/her day special.)

*The recruit did not have a phone card and his/her shipmates did not share one and s/he did not want to buy one at the NEX or did not have enough time to activate the calling card with the time allotted:  the recruit will not be able to make up the call. The good news is that one or more of the other recruits may have gotten to talk longer to his/her loved ones. Be sure that your recruit has phone cards.

If your recruit will be at RTC for one or more holidays, his/her RDC may schedule a call, but it is more likely that you will not get a call. Remember there are thousands of Recruits at RTC and it would be very hard to give all of them even 5 minutes at the phone banks on one day. There are generally 6000-7000 or more recruits at RTC at one time, but when you realize that each of the 14 ships can hold around 1000 recruits, it could be many more. Some will be adopted out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that means there are 2 TG's less at RTC on those days and those who are adopted usually do make calls while they are away from RTC. Don't expect a call, but have your phone available and be pleasantly surprised if you do get one. Calls on holidays can come anytime between 8ish am to 8ish pm Central Time. 

If your recruit is adopted in the Thanksgiving or Christmas Adopt-A-Sailor program, phone calls can come from any area code because people from the organizations sponsoring them will bring their cell phones and let the recruits call. Area code 219 has been mentioned, but calls could come from any area code, so pick up even if you don't recognize the phone number if it is Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day. The Thanksgiving Adopt-A-Sailor program is for the next 2 TG's after Thanksgiving. The Christmas Adopt-A-Sailor program is for 2 TG's after Christmas--it has been the 2 TG's following Christmas, but RTC has also skipped the TG immediately after Christmas and adopted out the first 2 TG's in January. There will be information on the program, including what TG's are eligible, posted on RTC’s fB page and you will get a form from your recruit if s/he is eligible for either program that you must return if you plan to adopt him/her.

If there is a natural disaster, or other serious event, that affects a large number of people in a particular area of our nation, recruits with loved ones in the affected area may be permitted to make a short call to check on their loved ones. It all depends on the RDC and if the phone banks are available to do so.

In the Navy, "No news is good news." Your Recruit will be permitted to contact you almost immediately if something goes wrong, and if the Recruit cannot, the Navy will. If by one week prior to PIR, you have not received a call indicating that there is a problem, then most likely everything is on track for your recruit to have PIR on time; every now and then the call indicating a problem will come on the Monday or Tuesday before PIR, especially for a recruit in a Push Division, but most calls are made before that. (See Battle Stations-21 (BST).) There have been Sailors, and even a whole division once, who were unable to make the "I'm a Sailor!" calls because of duties they had, doing other things and running out of time, or the RDC not being able to schedule the call because other divisions were scheduled and/or the division had to practice for PIR. If you do not receive a call at all, everything is on schedule for PIR and you will have a Sailor at PIR.



The above information is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a retired Sailor.

Updated 10/06/2019


You need to be a member of Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) to add comments!

Comment by Rebecca on July 19, 2023 at 3:00pm

Hi! We purchased our SRs phone card at Walgreens and he has not had any issues with it. He has used it to call me twice--both times my phone showed an 847 area code. The first time was a not-planned call but it was because I had emailed the PAO about fraudulent charges on his bank account and my SR had to call. The second call was the Week 3 call. 

Comment by Chipmunk on July 19, 2023 at 12:17pm

Eds Mom Danielle - If you have not joined the BC Mom group yet, I suggest you do so. Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones) - Navy For Moms ( - When you go to the group page (where this information is actually linked) and you scroll down through the information in the middle, past the discussions you will see a Comment Wall. That is the best place to ask all current questions regarding BC as more of our members will see the comments there and reply.  There are no silly questions, but better places to ask and get more responses. :-) 

To answer your question, I don't know about the virtual cards, although some of the recent ladies may have used those with their SRs. My son went in 6 years ago, and I finally found mine at a CVS but you had to ask someone. Others recently have found them at Walgreens, I think, but you have to find a card that is specifically set up for payphone usage, not a cell phone. 

If you can't find one easily (and believe me it was hard 6 years ago to locate one), they are able to buy them at the NEX at RTC. (Recruit Training Command). If you do buy one before your son leaves, I suggest he go ahead and set it up before he leaves so he knows how to use it and it is activated. That way, it will be ready when it is time for him to call. The initial, "I'm Here" call they will make using their cell phone before boxing it up. So, remind your son to take his phone charger - he will need that anyway after BC and be sure his phone is charged at the airport and before boarding the bus to BC. 

Comment by Eds Mom Danielle on July 19, 2023 at 12:05pm

Hi, new mom here!!  My son leaves for BC in August, can anyone tell me which phone card they had the most sucess with?  or are they all the same?  how would a virtual card work?  sorry if these are silly questions but my head is spinning with all the information!  

Thank you


Comment by Chipmunk on September 10, 2020 at 7:48pm

Rebecca1957 - Your SR will not be allowed to keep his cell phone with him during BC. When my son was in, they boxed all those personal belongings up and shipped them home. Now, they box them up and keep them at RTC until they leave for A school. They need a phone card because there are only pay phones available at RTC for them to call from. If your SR did not take a phone card with them, then they should be able to purchase one from the NEX there. That has been the case in the past. 

Comment by rebecca1957 on September 10, 2020 at 7:28pm

My kids brought a phone with them, they are on a plan. I don't need to purchase a phone or phone card, correct?

Comment by lemonelephant on December 12, 2019 at 1:31am

Melodie, you are very welcome. 

Comment by Melodie on December 10, 2019 at 8:51pm

Thanks lemonelephant...that helps A LOT! 

Comment by lemonelephant on December 9, 2019 at 10:25pm

Melodie, yes, recruits still need a phone card, but he has probably already purchased one. He has money on a NEX card to purchase the phone card and other things he needs while at RTC. He is being paid while in BC so you do not need to transfer any money to him.

Comment by Melodie on December 9, 2019 at 8:53pm

I assume they still require the phone card at basic?

I haven't received the form letter yet so I don't have an address to send my son a phone card and his start date was moved up by two months and we only had 6 hours notice between him finding out he was being sent to GL and the time he reported into the office for transport to the hotel, so we were completely ill-prepared.

Does he in any way have access to his bank account to purchase a phone call at NEX? I have no idea if he has any money in his account, but I can at least transfer some to him to make certain.

Comment by lemonelephant on October 8, 2019 at 11:48pm


Comment by NJVANavymom⚓️ on October 8, 2019 at 10:49am

I assumed that was the case. I am a no news is good news kinda gal so I am not worried. 

Comment by lemonelephant on October 6, 2019 at 11:57pm

Lilah1213, some recruits arrive with a cell phone that is dead and don't borrow a phone from another recruit either due to not having time to make the call or not thinking to ask. Sometimes the recruits who were unable to make a call are offered a make up call. See the info above about that.

Comment by NJVANavymom⚓️ on October 6, 2019 at 4:57pm

Good afternoon all... my son left on October 2nd and I am sure they arrived late due their flight being delayed. I’m sure he’s fine but I hadn’t  heard from him. Anyone else experience this that evening as well?

Comment by lemonelephant on August 27, 2019 at 12:12am

PattyRN, how sweet of your son, now recruit, and Aiden as well as friends. Welcome to the next step in the journey.

Comment by PattyRN on August 27, 2019 at 12:07am

My son left for boot camp today. I’m so sad, yet am so proud.  I have a wonderful support system. Ben asked our neighbor, Aiden, to take care of me. It’s 11:33pm and guess who is next to me. This little 10 year old is honoring my sons wish. I cried on and off all night with my closest friends as one of them made dinner. They all love Ben so much. His father, sister and grandmother are very sad too. I’m sure this will last (got the call at 11:33p). Scripted, but he sounds energetic and positive!  I hope to chat with you mamas soon! Prayers for all of our young men and women Sailors!

Comment by lemonelephant on August 18, 2019 at 10:10pm

Patchouli Chick, don't beat yourself up. It may or may not have been her. Do answer all calls and if it is a telemarketer, then just say, "I'm expecting another call" and hang up on them.

Comment by Patchi on August 18, 2019 at 9:44pm

Hi everyone!  New Navy mom here.  My daughter just went to bootcamp (sorry still learning acronyms).  I'm sick to my stomach as I got a restricted call today and out of habit, didnt answer it. She's been there a week.  So glad to be on this site or I would know ZERO! 

Comment by lemonelephant on July 31, 2019 at 4:56pm


  1. Dial 877-PENNY-25 (877-736-6925) from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada and listen for the greeting. For Spanish, dial 866-320-3075.
  2. When prompted, dial your 10-digit account number followed by your 4-digit PIN.
  3. For calls to the U.S. and Canada, dial 1 + area code + the number you wish to call, when prompted.
  4. For other countries, dial 011 + country code + city code + local number. (Note: drop any leading zeros from the country or city codes; for example, if the code is 014, dial 14.)
Comment by lemonelephant on July 24, 2019 at 2:45pm

BessLynn423, your recruit has probably purchased one at the NEX by now. He will have enough minutes on the card he bought.

Comment by BessLynn423 on July 23, 2019 at 10:43pm

My son left for boot camp two weeks ago and insisted his recruiter told him he doesn't really need a calling card. From the comments it looks like he can buy one there. Or should I just buy one and send it to him for backup? I looked at some but was confused about what to buy.

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