First things first.....New Moms.... Take a Deep Breath in....... Let it out...... Take another one......... Let it out....... Repeat continuously!!! Just keep breathing and it will all be OK!! We haven’t lost a mom to Boot camp yet, we won’t start with you.
If your Recruit has not left yet: have him or her leave you a voicemail message so when you just can't stand it you can hear their message (Over and Over and Over, Just don’t listen to it till after they've been gone for 24 hrs. You’ll know when it’s time.), Sneak a note of encouragement in their wallet and ask them to leave you a note at home so you can find it there. Also have them call as soon as they lands in Chicago. It will be your last "Visit" until the call home around week 3.
Now on to P-Days and what the first few weeks may hold.
Day of Departure/ MEPS/ Flying out-- After they Swear in (You can attend this ceremony) they will be transported to the Airport to fly to Chicago (unless you live close by in which case they are bused.) Shortly after arrival they will make the “I am Here Call” This usually comes Very late at night or Early morning (Ours came at 1:30am Mountain time) It is Scripted and they are not allowed to vary what is said. You can read the script in the boot camp files but I advise just talking over your SR (Seaman Recruit) and telling them you love them and are proud of them and you KNOW they GOT THIS and OH Yeah… You LOVE THEM!!! Don’t expect an answer but know they will have heard you!
The Processing Days.
P1 begins the Day of Arrival and continues through the night and into the next day. So If your SR (Seaman Recruit) Swore in on Tuesday then Wednesday counts as P1. As you count the P-days DO NOT count Saturday or Sunday or Federal Holidays—Those will be P-Hold days. In My example it would look like this P1- Wed, P2- Thurs, P3- Fri, P-hold- Sat & Sun, P4- Mon and P5- Tue. On P5 they take the initial PFA. (It can be P-4 if they are in a Push Division) Assuming they pass the PFA They will then move into their Ship (Berthing space).
This is Phase 1 of boot camp which begins when recruits first arrive on board RTC. The new recruits will begin filling in their paperwork; they are given further medical and psychological evaluations and receive their inoculations; and receive an initial set of PT gear; are interviewed; and will be assigned to a division. When P-Week is over, Boot Camp officially begins. Phase 1 can be as short as 4 days to as long as 2 weeks, but are seldom over 11 days. (See Arrival and What Happens at RTC and https://www.mypoints.com/emp/u/videos.vm.)
This marks the transition to Training Days. Usually denoted as W1TD1 (Week 1 Training Day 1). This is the day that they fill out the form letter that gets mailed home. That letter is collected and mailed the next business day (Remember we do not count Sat, Sun or Holidays). Usually that letter arrives home between 14 and 21 business days since departure, HOWEVER there are reasons it may be delayed. If they didn’t pass the initial PFA, If they were on P-hold waiting for others to join to fill the Div/ TG, If they were waiting on paperwork….. If Ma Navy was just not feeling it that day…. Lots of reasons that are NOT cause to panic. It is hard but Repeat after me.... No News is Good News!! Again... No News is GOOD NEWS!!! Repeat daily, hourly, Minute by minute as necessary!! The Form letter will give you the address and PIR date!! Time to start making plans!! I know how hard the waiting can be but calling the recruiters is not advised. They may have the wrong address and letters sent early may not arrive in a timely fashion since the Mail Petty Officer has to be trained and until that happens mail is set aside to be sorted later and sometimes that later is MUCH later!! This is honestly the hardest part of Boot camp! Your emotions are still raw from letting go of your Child and knowing that for better or worse they will be changed by this experience (even those who don’t complete it are changed!) and add to that the Communications Blackout that is imposed and it can be quite overwhelming but trust us that they know you love them, they feel your prayers and you will get a chance to send letters!
Around week 3 you will get the first call home. They may be homesick and there may be tears so be prepared and be strong. (You can come here and cry later, to quote my favorite wizard…”I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” It’s ok to cry about missing your baby, even if they are mostly full grown!! (We are over 6 years in and I still cry on occasion—Navy Mom Allergies!!!) It does not mean you are weak or not proud!!). The call can come on ANY day of the Week at any time from 9am-9pm Central time. Keep Phones charged and ringers on LOUD at all times while they are in BC!! Answer all Calls!! Yes telemarketers may call but you can hang up on them!! You don't want to risk missing a call from your Recruit! Keep a notepad handy of all the questions you want to ask so you don't forget!
In the meantime while you are waiting through the “Great Silence”, write letters!!! Write all the Letters you can! Take all the raw emotional letters and save them for a BC burning/shredding party at the end of BC and get ready to send positive and encouraging letters. There is a whole file here on letter writing. Read all you can and watch the videos “The Making of a Sailor” videos to get an idea of what your SR’s are going through.
This whole experience is a huge roller coaster of emotions. We have been where you are now and we know what you are feeling. Just remember you are stronger than you feel… You raised a young Man or Woman who was willing to put duty to country over self. They are strong enough to take on this challenge because they were shown strength from home! You have raised the 1%!! Be proud of that and welcome to the Family!!