PDA aka Public Displays of Affection
In the Navy (actually all branches of Service) Public Displays of Affection (aka PDA) are not allowed. This would include, hugging, kissing holding hands.
There is an exception to this rule. When you are saying your goodbyes to your Sailor before a deployment OR when you are greeting them upon returning from a deployment or long separation. Boot Camp applies under this exception, BUT has its limits: It is acceptable to give your Sailor a big hug and a quick kiss. NO French kisses or long kisses. NO long hugs or hanging onto your Sailor after, arms around each other etc. (When I greeted my son I hugged him and at the same time said, “Just tell me when to let go.”. He did when it was long enough :-D)
There is one way to “connect” with your Sailor when out in public. As was mentioned you may not hold hands BUT in a very old-fashioned but sweet way your Sailor may offer you his arm. It must be his LEFT arm. His right arm must always be free to salute an officer or properly displayed flag. You mothers/wives and girlfriends may place your right hand in the crook of your Sailors LEFT elbow in a formal escort pose. Your Sailor may also then lay his right hand over their ladies in a romantic gesture (for warmth or skin-to-skin contact). Personal note: I always try to walk on my husband’s left side while he is in uniform. Also, I did read of one mom saying that she stumbled while crossing the street and her Sailor reached out to assist her. She was on his right side. Once she was stable he quickly transferred her to his left side.
A female Sailor may take the RIGHT arm of her father/husband or boyfriend with her left hand, leaving her right arm free for saluting.
This is new stuff for your Sailors (remember they have been in Boot Camp for eight weeks and this is their first public outing) so it helps for you to know what is expected as well. There are always “eyes watching” and off-base is no exception. Naval Personnel (RDC’s, other BC personnel, anyone really) are out and about in the public going to the mall, stores, restaurants, Chicago etc. They can spot new Sailors and are looking to see if they are following the rules. Some may not even be in uniform so you won’t see them but they will see your Sailor.
*Your Sailor risks punishment upon return to his/her ship if the infraction has been reported. They can lose the rest of their Liberty, if they have more than PIR day. If it happens at the end of their Liberty they can be retained an extra week at Boot Camp (yes folks, this HAS happened. Retired personnel on this site have reported it). Some have thought because it is their last day that nothing can happen to them. Not true. It can and it will.
It is very serious to NOT conduct yourself in a becoming manner and very serious NOT to salute your superiors or our Flag while in uniform.
Your Sailors will be in their Dress Blues in the winter and Dress Whites in the late spring and summer on PIR day. The Blues pick up everything and the whites…well, are whites! A travel sticky roller in your purse can be a big help to spot clean your Sailor. (I am hearing that the Tide stain sticks can yellow a white uniform but have heard good things about the Shout wipes if you can find them.) If your Sailor has extra days of Liberty they will wear their NSU’s – Navy Service Uniforms aka “peanut butters” which consist of a khaki shirt, black pants or skirt, black garrison cover. (Great Lakes A school students have Liberty PIR weekend. Occasionally, some lucky Sailors that are “fly outs” get held over at RTC an extra day or two – mine did!)
A towel for them to sit on when dining or in the car can be a help.
Be prepared for them to adjust themselves getting in and out of a vehicle and going from indoors to outdoors and vice-versa. Their cover (hat) is off indoors and on outdoors. If the weather is bad and they need to use their outer gear they will have to put that on upon exiting the car and take it off when they go indoors. They will have to carry things a certain way (right hand free again) as well. You may not carry their gear for them.
No eating, drinking or using of cell phones while walking in uniform.
I don’t know if it is an actual rule but it is considered “unmilitary” for them to push a stroller while out walking in public. So, better safe than sorry.
Don’t let the kiddos wear any part of your spouse’s uniform.
DO…not freak out about all this! Just read it a couple of time and it will be “in your head”. PLUS, your new Sailors are given a very detailed briefing on the “does and don’ts” before they are set loose!
DO have loads of fun being with your new Sailors!