Okay - My son is 818 Spec Ops was grad n go.... Here is how it went down... ****foot note on PIR**** - can you say TRAFFIC!!! geeze - I am sooo glad we took the rental car and not the shuttle... we left at 6:15 and still sat in 30/45 min of traffic... the shuttles left at 6:45..... I recommend you rent a car and leave your hotel with some coffee at 5:45 - 6:00 at the latest!!!!!!!!
Note to moms - you will be a wreck and total wreck at PIR - so when you hold your camera - please remember to put the strap around your wrist - I dropped mine under the bleachers and cried like a baby (geez all the N4M families that were around me were so wonderful) - I had 30 people consoling me and a little man of about 12 fished it out for me with a granpa's cane. They do have bleacher divers I found out later but they hate going under them. hahah -- Be prepared to lose your voice from screaming the loudest when your division marches in!
After PIR - I RAN up to him as he was putting his flag away and grabbing his rain coat - yes rain coat a part of them every day all day while in BC and not far away once out! hahah.... After hugs and meeting other N4M moms and Sailors... he went back to his Ship to get the Photos that he had ordered... (took him half hour - moms dont panic - I stood there in the middle of the road with my binocs looking for him IN THE RAIN- so afraid we would not hook up - smart ass - came from a different direction and asked me who I was looking for hahaha) then we met back up with him near the Grad hall.... (not suppose to do that I found out - but rather up at the visitor center where we checked in to get to the Grad hall)
We had rented a car so we took that and went back to base camp.(Ramada Inn - I do not recommend it at all cause the rooms all smelled horrible - smoking rooms or not) staff however were awesome. We asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to go eat Chinese food so we got the GPS out and went about 10 miles to a Chinese buffet. He did not eat much at all.... Remember, they are freeked out at just having a choice of what they can do... then asked him what next - he just wanted to go to the hotel room and talk. (He was freeked out at the suitcases lying open and the towels in the bathroom all out of order. He straightened them! hahah) He changed into the civilian clothes we brought --- I told him to just lay his dress whites on the bed that it was clean - NOPE - he folded each and every piece of garment and laid them so carefully aside - even the rain coat. Then we just sat for hours and talked and talked - he seemed to love it! When it was about 1.5 hours to time to have him back we took him and went to the NEX - bought tons of great stuff for ourselves and for him a black back pack - MOMS DO NOT TAKE a black duffle with you for your sailor.... They ALL bought black back packs from the NEX... :o)
Okay - now for the GnG part... He was to get on a bus at 0200 in the weee hours of morning on the day after PIR Friday for us (holiday weekend they PIRd one day early) and go to the Midway airport.... Sooo, his sister and I got up that morning (Friday) after about 3 hours of sleep at 0100 and left---- go to Midway (thank the Lord for GPS) We got there at 0200 and the buses pulled in at 0300. Park in the all day garage on level 4 orangeish yellow - that takes you right into the ticket counter area.... wait there - USO will come up just before 0300 and wait with everyone and get the Sailors in order. Yes parents can go back - just have your ID and no worries! ---- (for our guys - yes cells are allowed no laptops until after phase 2) We watched for about 45 minutes while all the different divs and flights got organized and got their tickets... Then got to hug our Sailors and get our passes and go... (THIS WAS MIDWAY - not sure about how the other airports will work this) We spent 12 of the most amazing - fun - funny hours with our Sailor and all his buddies! We walked the different consourses and they ate and also crashed at the USO in concourse C... Families welcome! We hung there watching movies - then they ate (USO had tons of free food - never seen anyone person eat so much in a day!) listening to the guys tell funny stories about each other and the Chief and Petty Officers and all the crazy stuff! Honestly I laughted for hours till I thought I could laugh no more.... these kids are fun and resiliant! The beat downs - no prob they loved it / hated it - I have to say that it was singularly the greatest 12 hours of my life..... We then escorted the guys to their gate at 12:45 as their plane was to leave at 1:28 --- (sorry no more military time - it wears my mind out hahah) Now - here is another thing you will notice - Yes Mame / Sir --- thank you Mame Sir - everywhere they go !!! wooow very kewl.... So once at the gate I knew I would be a basket case - so I hugged my sailor and his buddies goodbye and I walked away -- I could not stay and watch him board that flight - Also, I knew he would be emotional as he and his sister and I are very close so I did not want that pressure on him... I walked away 15 min before his flight ---- I cried as I walked away..... this is my story and I hope it helps yall to have an idea of whay might lay ahead..... Last note... We were there till Sunday so on Saturday - we caught the Waukegan train (8:45 am) on Washington Street and shot into Chicago..... got off and walked to the Sears Tower... BEAUTIFUL city!! I take back everything I said about big cities --- wooooooow. then headed for a boat tour of the city buildings and to see the bean at the park and the Navy Pier..... took the train back to Waukegan - long day - lots of walking tons of pictures!!!!! I was wonderful - we were honored to do that with a N4M family whose Sailor was staying for a while in GL and let us tag along!....