The following is provided by lemonelephant, the mom of a Sailor.
If you did not send a phone card to Boot Camp with your Recruit, you can send one when you write. Walgreens sometimes has them on sale at a reduced price and there are probably some other places as well where you can obtain them. 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. You could 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.
Recruits often earn a call in about week 3 and have usually received mail by that time. Calls before then are most often due to needing additional information, often to assist with Security Clearance, or due to a problem and are on the Navy. The calls for information are supervised and the Recruit is not permitted to chitchat.
If you have a phone call from the 847 area code, or US GOVERNMENT, or Private Call, or Restricted, or Unknown 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.)
There is no set number of calls a Recruit will be able to make. Most make the "I'm here" call soon after arriving at the RTC. All Sailors will make one or more calls to say, "I'm a Sailor!" That last call can happen anytime in the last week or so before PIR. Some could earn one or more calls each week beginning in about week 3. If the Recruit's Division is doing very well, then the Recruits in that Division will earn more calls.
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.
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