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."


**UPDATE - 2020**

Due to COVID there is no public PIR. The graduations are on Thursday, and the video of the graduation is posted on RTC's FaceBook on Friday at approx 3pm. Please keep in mind that a division may need to complete additional quarantine during training which will delay their graduation.

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.

Format Downloads:

Latest Activity

Navy Speak

Click here to learn common Navy terms and acronyms!  (Hint:  When you can speak an entire sentence using only acronyms and one verb, you're truly a Navy mom.)

N4M Merchandise

Shirts, caps, mugs and more can be found at CafePress.

Please note: Profits generated in the production of this merchandise are not being awarded to the Navy or any of its suppliers. Any profit made is retained by CafePress. Para Familias

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



Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones)


Boot Camp Moms (and loved ones)

To everyone with a loved one at RTC or soon to be there, we say, "Welcome!"  To those who are sticking around after PIR to help those who are just beginning this awesome journey, we say, "Thank you!"

This is a place to talk, ask questions, and share stories. It is our desire that this Group will provide the information, encouragement, and support you need while your loved one is at RTC in Great Lakes. Enjoy your time here and feel free to Comment and join in the Discussions. Be sure to check out the "Pages" to the right, located under the pictures of the Members, especially OPSEC and PERSEC (Making Changes to Your Profile), (Click "View All" to see all of them.)

Members: 12941
Latest Activity: 16 minutes ago

Answers to Common Questions

Are there any official RTC sites?

Yes, check out and They will have lots of information for you. also has items at times. has pics of some of the recruits who give blood while at RTC. Those donations occur about 2 weeks (10 to 16 days depending on the division) before PIR.

You may also find pics in

RTC will stream PIR live at beginning at 8:45 am CST on the day of PIR for those who are unable to attend in person. (Once PIR has passed, you will be able to see the video at If the one you want is not there, then click on a PIR video and then change the date in the URL to the date you want. You will have to change both the numerical date and the written out date in the URL. For example, if you want the video for the March 3, 2017 PIR date, then change to


Can recruits take anything to BC with them?

Recruits should go with what they have on their backs, their cell phones, and not much else. (See Things to Do in the Last Month Before Your Future Sailor Leaves for RTC.)


What will the first day be like at BC?

See Arrival and What Happens at RTC and Ship/Division--How it Works.

How long is the "I'm here!" call and when will s/he be able to call again?

See Phone Cards and Phone Calls.


I got my recruit's address from the recruiter. Can I trust it?

Double-check the address the recruiter gave you against those at, but we strongly encourage you to wait on the form letter before sending mail to your recruit since the address provided by the recruiter prior to that can be wrong up to 11 business days or more after the recruit's arrival if the recruit failed the first attempt at the run and then passed (or failed) the second attempt and was ASMO'd to a different division (or to SEPS) or if RTC needed to move recruits for some reason. Sometimes a form letter is not mailed by accident and if it has been at least 3 calendar weeks since your recruit arrived at RTC and you do not have a form letter, then you can call the recruiter and get the address and mail letters to your recruit since the address in the system should be the correct one at that point, but be sure to double-check the address against those at or Ship/Division--How it Works


Posted March 19, 2020

Effective immediately, the U.S. Navy is suspending all Recruit Training Command (RTC), in Great Lakes, IL, and Officer Training Command (OTC), in Newport RI, formal, large-scale graduation ceremonies until further notice as part of its proactive approach to protect our mission and limit the potential spread of COVID 19.


When will the Form Letter come and what is in it?

The form letter will arrive in your regular mail around nine to fourteen business days after the recruit's arrival at RTC since it is not mailed until a division’s 1-1 Day of Training, which takes place after your recruit has taken and passed the run portion of the Baseline PFA, which is on or about the fifth business day after arrival (later if the division that your recruit was tentatively placed in upon arrival did not fill until a later date). See Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and Fitness Improvement Training (FIT)The brochure that is included from MWRGL about hotels and other things is at RTC Friends and Family Brochure October 2017. The form letter includes your recruit's address, so now you can mail out all the letters you have been writing. There is more on this in Letter Writing & Fun Stuff/Questionnaires to send to your Recruit.

The form letter will also tell you the date of PIR, so you can start making plans for your trip. There are many hotels in the area and there is information in the grad pack and on this site about them. If you fly in, renting a car will make your life easier. Also, if you are flying, some airlines, such as Southwest, will allow you to change your flight without a charge if something happens, so you do not have to book refundable tickets.

How long should I plan to stay in the Great Lakes area?

Arrive at least the day before PIR so you can pick up your ticket/s for PIR and also attend Sarge's Meet and Greet if you wish to do so.

If your Sailor's "A" School or training is in GL, then plan to leave late Sunday or on Monday. If your Sailor will be flying out, then plan to leave late Saturday or on Sunday to have the most time with your Sailor. (This may need to be adjusted if PIR is not on Friday.) See Saving Money PIR Weekend and PIR Day and Liberty during PIR Weekend.


Plan to arrive the day before PIR so you won't risk missing PIR and go to Sarge's Meet and Greet from 5 pm to 10 pm the evening before PIR at the Lakehurst Event Center (go to to RSVP). Sarge has a taxi service and he is a wealth of information. His cell number is 847-212-0246. His Meet and Greet and services have been getting great reviews. Find Sarge on N4M as OldSarge.


Once you know your recruit's PIR date, be sure to join the group for that. PIR groups are posted on the Comment Wall below once they are created. 

Who can attend PIR?

Your recruit will indicate the names of up to four guests who will be permitted to receive tickets and attend PIR. RTC may change that to three guests if there is a large TG. Children ages 2 and under do not need a ticket to attend PIR, but a copy of the child's birth certificate may be presented in order for the child to attend PIR. The names of the guests will be listed on the Security Access Form. Your recruit will send the Security Access Form with the form letter and it will need to be completed fully and returned to your recruit. if you do not receive the form letter, then you can download the Security Access Form and complete it and send it to your recruit, but your recruit has the final say on who will attend PIR.


GUESTS SECURITY ACCESS FORM: If you are going to be attending the graduation ceremony, you will need to fill out the security access form, which is included with your form letter. Return the form to your recruit according to the instructions. 

ONLY YOUR RECRUIT CAN CHANGE THE GRADUATION CEREMONY ACCESS LIST: Your recruit will be able to make changes to the access list throughout training. The last opportunity to make changes will be the week before graduation. If there is a change to be made to the access list (such as a name spelled incorrectly, name-swap, etc…) please communicate any changes to your recruit by mail. Recruit Training Command staff cannot change these names or release the names of those on the list. Please do not call for additional seats!

The form can also be downloaded by anyone from the website, but only the recruit has final say-so as to who will be invited. Those names are submitted and those names will be printed on tickets. All of those guests attending must be present with ID to pick up the ticket in person. No exceptions, no swapping of tickets, no changing of names during final week of graduation.

If you are attending a graduation ceremony, you MUST personally obtain your ticket, you cannot pick up tickets for others. Tickets will be distributed at the Recruit Family Welcome Center, located inside the Navy Exchange Burkey Mall, Bldg. 3452, 2650 Green Bay Road Great Lakes, IL 60088 

Additional information on ticketing is also available at (See

Once you receive your ticket, please DO NOT lose it, as this will be the only ticket you will receive. These tickets are not transferable and are serialized to each graduation attendee. If you do not have a ticket, then you will not be permitted access to the base.

The Recruit Family Welcome Center will be open on the following days and times: Thursday [10:00 AM to 7:30 PM], and Friday [5:30 AM to 8:00 AM]. ***Certain federal holidays may require adjusting days and times. Please refer to the command website for those specific updates***

Please plan accordingly so each person listed can check in to receive a ticket for the graduation ceremony. Again, if you don’t have a ticket you will NOT be allowed entry to the base. Tickets will only be issued to those guests who the graduating recruit has verified will be attending. 

Driving on to base.

Driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance or rental car agreement and graduation ticket must be ready to present to security at access points. Everyone in the car ages three and over must show their ticket to graduation. If someone in the car over the age of two does not have a ticket, they are not allowed through the gate, no exceptions.

  • NO cell phone usage while driving on base! 
  • Seat belts are required for all drivers/passengers at all times
  • Motorcycle drivers/riders MUST have proper protective clothing/equipment such helmet, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and over the ankle hard-soled boots.
  • Recent graduates are prohibited from operating motor vehicles, including motorcycles, and are NOT allowed to be a passenger on a motorcycle.

See for the Frequently Asked Questions.

What will happen PIR weekend?

See PIR Day and Liberty during PIR Weekend and

USPS Informed Delivery - Sign up and receive an email from the US Postal Service showing what mail you will be getting each day (if available in your area).  

Informed Delivery®

Be sure to check out the Pages to the right (under the pictures of the Members) for additional information. (You will need to click "View All" to see all of them.)

Donna is no longer active on the site. Several others who have begun this journey before you are here to help. (Donna, we are forever thankful that you started this group that continues to help so many.)

Discussion Forum

Christmas without

Started by Amanda. Last reply by belovedbyHim on Friday. 9 Replies


Started by VintageGal. Last reply by VintageGal Dec 30, 2020. 6 Replies


Started by Tadpole. Last reply by Chipmunk Dec 23, 2020. 9 Replies

How to Contact a Recruit

Started by jenatn. Last reply by Tammy_Girl Dec 15, 2020. 4 Replies

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Arwen on April 8, 2010 at 11:43am
Moms, you can choose to see this a different way.

When my older son, Chris, left for boot camp in December, I decided that this was a fantastic opportunity for us. We no longer had to feed Chris (5,000 calories per day!), and therefore we have a budget for things we have wanted. His being gone means 3-4 fewer laundry loads per week. It means not worrying about how the heck our three kids (two of whom are huge teenage males!) will fit in the 3-seatbelt backseat of our Subaru wagon (it got to the point that they refused to go on whole-family trips).

Now that my younger son is talking to the recruiter I am eagerly looking at two bedroom (cheaper!) houses. Smaller house, less cleaning, less rent! We moved into this house with a five-member family (with three teenagers) in mind, with three of us we will rattle around in here. Once Sean leaves we can move, and with only our teen daughter remaining we can step into a lifestyle we could only dream of. We're even considering purchasing a large boat and living on it, which has been a dream of ours for years.

With the attitude of freedom to do what couldn't be done before, I got through boot camp without crying, or even misting up (except for one scare when I thought I wasn't going to get to PIR and cried because I thought I was going to disappoint Chris by not being there).
Comment by Mar ProudSailorMom on April 8, 2010 at 10:56am
Yes...LoriFrom Maryland - I had used mkneve -but thought this was a bit more personal! :) I am proud to be Jordan's mom! :)

For me this last year since he graduated HS had been a time of even being closer. He was supposed to have left for BC last Sept (9/9/09) but because of budget cuts w/military, he got "pushed back" to April. It was a bummer at the time since he was geared up and ready to go - but as all things in GOD's timing do, it worked out even better. For one thing the weather will be better now then it would have been colder in the fall! But the biggest blessing is that he had the chance to work with a little boy who is special needs (James) and was able to get this wonderful child to do more things in the last 7 months then he had done in the previous 12 years. His parents were glad things were working out for Jordan - but so sad to see him go. James' mom AND dad were both in tears at Jordan's going away party. There was a purpose in his staying. And we had the best time together! With him not having to work on homework, etc at night we'd just hang out, go see movies, etc together. He spent more time with our whole family - and did some wonderful things with our church and community. So, while he wasn't where we thought he'd be - he was where he was supposed to be. And now, he's going through the tough stuff to get to the next step - RIGHT?!?!?!

Lori - I'm going to "friend" you so that we can stay connected as we move toward PIR and anything else we have to go through together.

All the best - Marilyn
Comment by lori on April 8, 2010 at 10:29am
Jordan's mom- I really need to start a 'bio' sheet- I'm trying to keep everyone straight- who is who! Did you used to post as 'mkneve?'
Every time i wake up during the night- that's what I do- pray- wondering what is happening to all our guys. Day 3. Have they got their division yet? have they slept, eaten? I haven't even gone into Paul's room yet- I can't- maybe later.
I know there are dirty clothes and piles of stuff. Paul has been a live-in fireman for almost 2 years so I don't feel the huge hole of him not being here. It just feels like he's working and he'll call soon. When he moved all his stuff back in before he left it was all a mad rush so it's a mess. Do I deal with it or wait till he comes back? haven't figured that out yet. If he hadn't been moved out for so long this wrenching would be much harder I know. I cried then but at least I saw him and talked to him regularly. Now as the days [weeks?] go by THEN I'll start getting antsy.

This site has been the HUGEST help for me- there is no one else 'outside' that understands quite what we are experiencing besides other moms who are going through the same things. Can't begin to imagine how past mom's did this with this kind of support. Grateful for you all!
Comment by Mar ProudSailorMom on April 8, 2010 at 10:11am
"Day 3" and I have only "teared up" so far!
I made it through yesterday with only a small melt down until I got home...then there were some of his things - like a punch in the gut it hit me again. So, I figured I'd just get it over with and put the stuff in his room - BAM! it hit me FULL FORCE. I started to fall apart until I saw something that made me laugh REALLY HARD....his boxer shorts and clothes that he had last worn on Sunday were sitting in a pile on the floor! He hadn't even bothered to scoop them up before he left Monday morning!! THAT'S MY BOY!! So there I was sitting on his bed, cuddling his pillow and smelling "his smell" crying AND laughing. Figured this was a perfect illustration of being a parent - the tears and the laughs. I needed it, and I figured it's something I can give him a bad time about in the letter I keep adding to. He left me a gift without even trying!! (And I'm sure that only a mom of a kid who's off at BC would see a heap of dirty clothes as a gift!!)

By the way - to the single moms - I was a single mom for a long time too. I am remarried, but my husband travels quite a bit and was gone this week. As it turned out my youngest was with his father in WA for spring break, so that house has been pretty empty and lonely. (AND it was my birthday the day he actually left - what timing!!)
I do know from sending my oldest one (Jerod) off to Coast Guard BC a few years ago that it does get better. And the man he is now would never have happened if he'd not made that life choice. The oldest one is down in Miami, is married and has a little girl. His life is WHAT and WHERE it is because of his decision to serve out country. No regrets. It's not the "same" because my relationship with Jordan was different. We "hung out" together more and he was more into spending time with his sister and younger brother - so we were more connected daily. BUT - I have the same hopes and faith that GOD will work in Jordan's life the same way. And that his path will be just as blessed. PRAYING, PRAYING, PRAYING. (I too use those middle of the night wake up moments to say prayers -AND off and on throughout the day!! Pray without ceasing!!)
Blessings all - Marilyn
Comment by diannep on April 8, 2010 at 9:48am
Laurie: I got tears in my eyes reading your post. I know the feelings, as most of us on here know. Just know that you will be relating to him in a whole new way through this experience, and "home" will hold an even more special meaing for him now. Your poor husband...he just had no idea what his grocery store questions were doing to you! As you start getting feedback from your son, it makes it easier, I promise. If he is happy, you will be happy! But remember...boot camp is so tough, and you have to just encourage him if he is discouraged...because when he gets that Navy ballcap after Battlestations, it will be the happiest day for both of you (and he will get a long call with you!).

Tammy Sue: HAAA! Loved this post. Your poor son! He would probably PAY his sister to come back home to get the attention off of him. :-) On the other hand, he is able to help you in areas maybe his sister normally did, so a great experience for both you and your son. I'm sure he will miss his sister alot too.
Comment by diannep on April 8, 2010 at 9:30am
CW Mom: Hang in there. I too an a single mom, and know the feelings of not having a partner to share with about our Navy sons. It's hard, but I find this site so valuable because of that. My older son decided to get his own place the same month that my Navy son left for bc. Oh joy! All at once! :-( Although my Navy son had moved out for 1.5 yrs before, he had moved back home after joining the Navy, so I had the benefit of both of my boys with me for those 10 months. Then...bam...gone. The grocery store thing...yes, so hard. I had to go through that when my husband died (because he had special things that he liked too...and I still have a problem passing them in the aisle). Now, I'm going through it again with the boys. But my older son is "local" so I sometimes pick up things for him when I'm there because it makes me feel good! Of course, he doesn't expect it and sometimes tells me not to worry about doing that, but I guess he doesnt' know how much it helps me! There is something about shopping at the grocery just for myself that is kind of painful. BUT...having said, that, concentrate on the positive! Your son has made a wonderful commitment to our country...he is being mentored, provided for, watched over...he is with his Navy "family" now...but will always stay close to and treasure his real family. Your feelings are normal...they just show what a great mom you are and how much you love your son! But, we know when these children are born to us, that our job is to raise them into responsible adults. I guess we just never expect that day to come! But it's here...he is going to be maturing (never an easy process) and becoming a man, whom you wll be so proud of. When my Navy son rejoices in his accomplishments in the Navy (boot camp and just graduated A School), I feel such pride for him and I'm so happy for him. I have to tell you...I haven't seen my son this happy in a long time. He just loves the Navy so far...and that does my heart good! Denise and Cheryl understand too, as they said...and every mom on here understands. Hang in there and stay connected here. I hope by typing your post last night, that you were able to sleep after that and awake rested! We are here for you!
Comment by CW_Mom shp 9 div 228 on April 8, 2010 at 3:07am
Hi Boot Camp Moms. I am not even a boot camp mom yet, but will be in 4 days. Yes, the day that has caused sadness and pride in my heart is almost here. I get so anxious thinking about it. Seems crazy, but I have found that I get the most panicked when I am at the grocery store! Now that may sound strange, but I realized why. It's because for so many years I have been buying food for him, some things that only he likes. Who thought buying microwave popcorn could make you get so sad! lol But my son is the only one in our house that eats it, and almost nightly! So I see the popcorn, and my first thought is 'Do I need to get some more?' Second thought, "Doesn't matter, he's not going to be there anymore." Then comes the sadness. And it happens over and over, each time I see another thing I usually would buy because it's something Colton eats. So again and again and again throughout the store I have to hear in my head something to the affect of "Colton's not going to be at home anymore, he's leaving." Anyone else have something like this that triggers that feeling for you? I go from being happy and excited for him to fear and panic of how much I will miss him. And I worry about him missing us and his 16 year old sister missing him, as they are very close and hang out around the house together alot when they are both home. Will this sadness go away? I don't act sad around my son, because I don't want to make it harder for him to leave home, but here I am at 2am letting it out quietly. I'm not married and have no significant other. I"m not crazy.. right? This is normal?
Comment by grits05 on April 8, 2010 at 12:40am
Thanks for the input on the contacts. I will remind him that he needs to ask his RDC for permission and then get them in the mail at least 10 days before PIR just in case the RDC says no and then changes his mind lol!
Comment by Arwen on April 7, 2010 at 11:15pm
Rebecca, the Navy does not write dates the same way civilians do.

What you are seeing is the year 10, not the day 10. Military dates are written day - month - year, often with no spaces. Today would be 07APR10 or 7 April 10

Look for the first number in the sequence for the day-date.
Comment by Gulf Coast Mom on April 7, 2010 at 10:36pm
KimMarc's mom - I also mailed by son his contacts. He called on Friday and said if I could mail them and he rec'd them, he could wear them for PIR. Of course, he did not have any here to mail, so I went to his eye dr. and gave them a sad story (but true) about him being in boot camp and now wanting contacts and they gave me a free pair. I went up the street to the local Walgreen's and purchased a travel pack with a case and small bottle of solution, went back down the street and bought a small padded envelope at the post office and got it off just before closing time (and all within an hour). He got it the following Tuesday, just three days before PIR. What us moms won't do for our kids. He just took his BC glasses off for the pictures. We only time we saw them was in the Keel (similar to yearbook) that he purchased that had a picture of his division. Hang in there!!

© 2021   Created by Navy for Moms Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service