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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FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO GET STARTED:

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.

All Hands Magazine's mini-documentary series "Making a Sailor": These six videos follow 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. 

Making a Sailor: Episode 1 - "Get on the Bus"

Making a Sailor: Episode 2 - "What did I get myself into?"

Making a Sailor: Episode 3 - "Processing Days"

Making a Sailor: Episode 4 - "Forming"

Boot Camp: Making a Sailor - Episode 5

Making a Sailor: Episode 6 - "I'm a U.S. Navy Sailor"

...and visit Navy.com - America's Navy and Navy.mil 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."

Events

Please note! Changes to this guide happened in October 2017. There are now tickets issued, and there are no longer parking passes for PIR.

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.com Para Familias

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Phone Cards and Phone Calls

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 http://www.pennytalk.com/. (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 box in a few days and a letter in about a week. 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 you receive it back in "the box" a few days later. 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. *callsforrecruits.org 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.

Some loved ones who work nights and usually turn off their phones or who work in places where they are not to take calls during work have instructed the recruit to call his/her own cell phone and it has worked well. Others should not be calling your recruit's phone since s/he is at BC so it should only be receiving calls from your recruit and most bosses have permitted that. In most cases "the box" with the cell phone will arrive before the recruit will be able to make a call.

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 10/09/2018

Comment

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Comment by Cameronsmom on November 2, 2015 at 7:55pm
Hi. Try Walmart at the service desk. They can give the best info on where in the store to find them. Att has a 500 minute for 25 that ends up being the better deal and more minutes than the 30$ 7 cents a minute one. I have heard cvs has them too
Comment by Beachmom on November 2, 2015 at 3:56pm

My son leaves tomorrow & I'm having a tough time finding long distance cards myself. I'll check our Walgreens & Rite Aide today, thanks for the comments everyone!

Comment by Cameronsmom on October 22, 2015 at 9:16pm

Walmart has calling cards as well--hard to find, but check the kiosks up front. If you ask for them, they usually point you toward the prepaid phone cards--so be sure to ask for the Long Distance calling card. 

Comment by lemonelephant on October 16, 2015 at 11:15pm

plantlady, that is very sweet of you. If you want to do that, you can, but the recruits can buy phone cards at the NEX, so your gift of the current minutes is plenty.

Comment by plantlady on October 16, 2015 at 11:39am

I just purchased the CVS phone cards - one for my SR and 4 for other SRs who haven't a phone card (my daughter will give away). My question: Should I scratch off to view the PIN numbers for the cards my SR will gift away so as to recharge them if they happen to go through all their minutes? I will scratch off the PIN from my daughter's card so I may re-charge it as needed. Yes all 5 cards are rechargeable. 

Comment by guysmom on September 19, 2015 at 11:57am

I had trouble finding a phone care in my area but did find one in Rite Aide pharmacy if you have one.

Comment by lemonelephant on August 13, 2015 at 11:49pm

Karilyn, yes, send a phone card when he leaves for the RTC. See Things to Do in the Last Month before Your Future Sailor Leaves for... for more things to send with him and to discuss.

Comment by lemonelephant on July 14, 2015 at 4:00pm

LisaW, you are very welcome. I left info for you on your My Page.

Comment by LisaW on July 14, 2015 at 11:35am

Thank you so very much for all of this information.  I am brand new to all of this and my son leaves tomorrow for MEPS and then to boot camp on the 16th.  It helps to read this information and advice from all of you.  Thank you so much

Comment by lemonelephant on April 15, 2015 at 11:42pm

Momack, you are very welcome.

Comment by Momack on April 15, 2015 at 12:04pm
Thank you infinitely for all this helpful information. I am also new to this site and it is priceless. Many thanks
Comment by lemonelephant on February 26, 2015 at 2:23pm

mybrookie, check your My Page.

Comment by lemonelephant on February 26, 2015 at 2:22pm

mybrookie, we're glad you are here and finding what you need.

Comment by mybrookie on February 26, 2015 at 2:17pm

I am very new at all this and this website has helped answer so many questions that I did not know I needed.  My son arrived last night and we received the quick call.  This is my oldest of 4 boys and I have never really know much about the Navy.  Both my grandfathers were in the army but I was young and what memories I have of them are them just being my grandpa's.  This is such a comfort to know I am not the only one going through this.

Comment by lemonelephant on September 6, 2014 at 7:55pm

NanaM, you are not alone. (((((NanaM))))) That's a cyber hug for you.

Comment by NanaM on September 6, 2014 at 7:31pm

No letter or phone call from our SR today... feeling very sad but I am scrap booking today so I am seeing lots of great pictures of her. Just read about the phone cards I sent in my request.  Feeling very inexperienced with this whole process nice to know there are others out there.

Comment by lemonelephant on April 7, 2014 at 10:13am
Lag,she may be able to keep her wallet depending on its size. Some send back a wallet that they could have kept just because they don't want to carry it in their "Valuables Sock." I'm glad you found the info helpful.
Comment by Lag on April 7, 2014 at 9:52am
Thanks for the helpful information related to phone call. I'm waiting for the I arrived safe phone call, and utilizing the call forwarding to my cell number. I also did not know we could request calling cards which is good to know. I am worried about the wallet she took because its not like a mans billfold.
Comment by lemonelephant on January 13, 2014 at 12:20am

Panthermom, it's good to be prepared. There is additional info for you on your My Page.

Comment by Panthermom on January 13, 2014 at 12:09am
Thanks for the info. I'm super new to all of this. My son is just now taking the test and doing paperwork. Trying to find out all I can.

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