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 at least 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. One of the Moms suggested setting a time of day that they would be thinking about/ praying for their SR. That way they would always be connected. Also have them call as soon as they land in Chicago. It will be your last "Visit" until the call home around week 4 or 5. Also talk with them about who they want to be told about and when, should something happen back home. I know this is an uncomfortable topic but with COVID it is important to know. They likely would not be able to come home unless it is for Their Immediate family (and not always then, especially with COVID!)
Other things to take care of before your Recruit leaves: Please go read this page! It is Very Helpful and has a complete list of all the things you may want to consider before they leave. Keep in mind it was written some time ago and the box is no longer shipped home (take the Charger for their phone!!)and a few other things may have also changed but the basic gist is still there. https://navyformoms.ning.com/forum/topics/things-to-do-in-the-last-...
If you have time I would get Power of Attorney’s for: any real property, A financial power of attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney There are many places that you can get the forms for free Online and then you just have to get them notarized. I also suggest they open an account with Navy Federal Credit Union if you have a location near you. (the article goes into why and what all they will need otherwise) If you also have the time I strongly suggest you look into getting a Civilian Passport or at least getting all the paperwork filled out if they are going to a Long A school (nuke or corpsman). Most of the time they can and will travel “on orders”, However if they are stationed overseas they will need a passport to travel outside of their “Station Country” (and Europe has many wonderful countries to see but some are smaller than many of our States!!). If they have to travel under an emergency or something happens to their orders they will at least have their Passport to allow for some greater ease.
Now on to ROM/P-Days and what the first few weeks may hold.
Day of Departure/ MEPS/ Flying out-- After they Swear in (You May no longer be able to attend this ceremony. :'( Please be sure to check with your local MEPS office) 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 “"I made it. I'm here. I'm fine. Look a letter in about 3 weeks. I will try to call in about 3 weeks. Love ya. I gotta go." 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!
They will go straight from the Airport to Great Lakes. Upon arrival there they will make the phone call and be divided into 2 types, Fully Immunized for COVID, or not. They will be given a Duffel bag with their sweats and basic clothing. They should get a hygiene kit with a toothbrush/paste, shampoo?, soap, razor and unscented deodorant. Gals should take some hygiene products if they think they MAY need it in the first 3 weeks of BC. They should be able to get stuff if needed but better safe than sorry. IF they are worried they can bring those from home but they should take them in a Ziptop bag since they may end up in the box and they don’t want them to get all over anything else in the box!! (Like cell phones!!!)
IF they are Fully Vaccinated They will begin P days so you can skip to that part of this blog. If NOT: They will be in Quarantine for the next 14 days at an on base location with a small group of other recruits of the same gender. They have been assigning Div numbers (Division Numbers are the Smaller group of SR’s that train together. A Training Group (TG) is all the Div’s scheduled to PIR on the same day, but you still likely will not know an address until the form letter arrives following ROM. They have been given their Blue Jacket (Training manual) in the initial gear so they have material to begin studying but they will not be tested until they are done with ROM . They have time to read and write so you may get letters sooner than previous years.(Sending them with an envelope and a couple of stamps would be a good idea so they can mail the letter home right away!). Everything they brought from home will go in a box that is placed in storage. I suggest if they bring toiletries that they bring a Ziptop baggie to separate liquids from their phones and clothes. I have heard that some have been permitted to keep books. That may be a privilege earned. They are also given some basic exercises (planks are the new standard but we have heard that some still do curl-ups as well. No Running!!!) that they are permitted to do, if they choose (Encourage them to Choose!!) but the RDC's do not use that as IT during this time. (IT- Instructional Training, Intensive Training, Incentive Training = change your attitude or do better or you get to do this exercise to get the message home. Not really punishment but can feel that way at times.) After 14 days they will be moved to their regular Ship at RTC and they will visit Medical and Dental & finalize processing paperwork (P-days) and begin the next 6ish weeks of training!! About 3-4 weeks (usually on a Thursday) you should get the form letter with the address. At this point you can send all the letters you have been writing!! (Number them and make a copy somehow just in case they get lost) Keep sending letters if they get placed back into ROM, (NO CARE Packages!! Regular mail will forward but Sandboxx letters may not) About 4 weeks after they have left is the first earned phone call. Bootcamp is still 8-9 weeks if there are no cases of COVID for that individual Division. but if anyone tests positive anyone in the bunks closest to them (The Ring of Fire) go back into ROM and it may take longer. This is the Navy so EVERYTHING posted here is subject to change until it isn't!!
Once they are onboard RTC they will transition to Training Days. Usually denoted as W1TD1 (Week 1 Training Day 1). The first day there they will fill out the form letter that gets mailed home. That letter along with any letters written in ROM will be collected and mailed the next business day (Remember we do not count Sat, Sun or Holidays except as ROM Days). Usually the form and first letters arrive home between 21 and 28 business days since departure, HOWEVER there are reasons it may be delayed. 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! Shout it if you need to or whisper it as a prayer! Whatever gets you through. The Form letter will give you the address and PIR date! Time to Mail all the letters you have been writing! 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!! The first few weeks are honestly the hardest part of BC! 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 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 4 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 7 years in and I still cry on occasion—Navy Mom Allergies!!!) The call can come on ANY day of the Week at any time from 8am-8pm-ish Central time. Calls will not come on Sunday Mornings but they can come any other 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!!
The Expected timeline will look like this
Day 0 -- Travel, Arrival and "I'm Here" scripted phone call
Day 1-14 -- Vaccinated Recruits: Skip to Day 15. All others: ROM (Restriction of Movement/ Quarantine-- Lots of studying and waiting)
Day 15-21-- Arrive Onboard RTC and begin P-days (P-days- Initial Processing Days) including 2 days of P-hold (Weekend)
Day 21-- Complete P days. (Initial PFT & Run)
Day 22-- Begin training and mail form letter out. Look for it to arrive around 1-2 weeks later)
All of this is assuming no exposure to COVID with additional ROM
Training typically occurs for 5 days and they have 2 days for the "Weekend". 1 is "Sunday routine" and SR's will have an opportunity to attend Religious services if they choose. This day MAY NOT be on the actual day- Sunday.
Normal PIR will be 10 Fridays after departure from Home but it can be less by 1 but it can be extended by ???? (lots!!) It just depends on how many times they get caught in the “Ring of Fire” but do not get COVID. IF they get COVID, Once they are recovered they will not be removed from training again even if they are in the “Ring of Fire”. (so there is that small silver lining for our moms who’s kids have gotten sick)
** If your SR is FULLY Vaccinated (2 weeks past final injection) then you can subtract 2 weeks for ROM from this timeline. 8 weeks of BC instead of 2.**