Kiz is a Navy veteran who spends his days writing about his experiences in and out of the military, along with creating art and petting dogs
The Path to Becoming a Sailor
Boot camp: The process of becoming a United States soldier, sailor, marine or airman begins with a lot of paperwork, a lot of hurrying up to wait, and then the big step: boot camp.
For those of you enlisting in the United States Navy, your journey of transformation begins in Great Lakes, Illinois, at Recruit Training Command. Recruit Training Command, or RTC for short, is an enormous facility able to house up to 25,000 recruits. An expensive overhaul of the Training Command buildings (which you will learn to call ships) and the training program itself has changed and modernized the boot camp process many times over the years, but the schedule you'll find below still, for the most part, applies.
It is perfectly normal to be nervous about going to Navy boot camp. You may even be excited, afraid, concerned, or dreading your boot camp experience. Boot camp, and your military service, will change your life forever. You will find yourself gaining skills that will carry you through into your military career, and you will take these valuable lessons with you into the corporate and civilian world when your enlistment is completed. That is, if you don't choose to re-enlist!
The First Half of Navy Boot Camp
I hope you are ready for an intense few weeks. Your experience at boot camp begins as soon as you step off of the bus and are met by one of your Division Commanders. If you show up at boot camp having not prepared physically for the experience, you are in for a wild ride on that front. Be prepared, mentally, to be picked apart for being different. Here is a brief rundown on what you'll experience in the next eight to nine weeks:
- Week One: During week one you will go through processing. You will fill out a lot of forms regarding health, benefits, wages, direct deposit, insurance, the Montgomery G.I. Bill and much more. If you haven't yet memorized your social security number, you will want to before you leave for boot camp, you'll be writing it on everything. Once you've finished processing, then the real fun starts.
- Week Two: Week two finds you tired, irritable, and wondering what the heck you got yourself into. You will get used to waking up at 0600, I promise. This week you will begin physical conditioning and participate in a confidence course. The focus for this week of training is team-building. You will learn to rely on your shipmates, and the confidence course is a big start.
- Week Three: In a hands-on environment, this week you will learn first aid techniques, signaling with flags, the proper procedure to board and disembark a ship, and basic seamanship. You will do this training on a portion of a real ship situated in a large hangar. Your first PT (physical training) test is administered during week three, the areas tested are 1.5-mile run, push-ups, and sit-ups. This is often called the PT0, because it is the starting point from which you will improve.
- Week Four: Time for weapon training. You will go through safety training, then weapon training in a supervised range environment. This is the halfway point in your academic training, as well as the week during which you will take your graduation photos in preparation for your Pass and Review ceremony.
The Second Half of Boot Camp
You've reached the home stretch at this point, with four more weeks to go! Here's what you'll do during the second half of boot camp:
- Week Five: More classes, more training, and a lot more PT. By this point, you've learned how to do everything the way the Navy wants you too, and though you may not feel like it—you've changed. Rigorous training and a restricted diet, a fast-paced and active training style in and out of the classroom, and a behavioral structure deeply rooted in forming a team bond between you and up to 100 total strangers have all contributed to your change, and in most cases, this change is for the best.
- Week Six: Fire fighting training, and shipboard damage control classes. This week you will learn how to put fires out, how to properly don fire safety gear in case you must fight a fire on board ship, how to open and close watertight doors, and operate fire fighting equipment. This week also finds you and your shipmates inside the gas chamber, being exposed to tear gas while you and everyone else recites name and social security number. You will also go through the confidence course again, further solidifying the concept of teamwork and camaraderie.
- Week Seven: At this point, you're nearly finished with boot camp. Excitement sets in and now you're ready for the final test: Battle Stations. Battle Stations is a 12-hour event held to test your entire division on how well you've absorbed everything you've learned so far. If you are present at the call for Battle Stations, this means you have successfully passed all academic and physical challenges presented to you up to this point, and are ready for this final test. You will be pushed to the very brink here, and will find that once it is over and you stand in the finishing room, dirty, beyond weary, emotional and drained. All that fades away as the Commanding Officer in charge of RTC Great Lakes comes in to personally congratulate you, presenting you and your division with your new status as a United States Sailor—your Navy ball cap.
- Week Eight: Graduation/Pass and Review. Aside from everything mentioned above, part of your training has been in drill and ceremony. That portion of your training will come in to play here, where you march proudly, shoulders squared and with a bolstered confidence before friends, family, and thousands of supportive individuals from all walks of life. There is nothing like it in the whole world.
It is important that when arriving on RTC Great Lakes, you and your family refrain from taking pictures or video anywhere except the visitor center or drill hall. Your bags and vehicle are subject to security search at all times, and items such as weapons, alcohol or drugs are not permitted on base.
Graduation from Navy Boot Camp is a big deal. All through boot camp, if the recruit has any delays in training or setbacks that will cause them to be in boot camp longer, they will get in touch with their family and friends to let those who may be planning to attend their graduation ceremony that plans need to be changed. You, the family, will want to wait as long as possible before taking time off of work or booking plane tickets, just in case your recruit is delayed in training at all. If you have not heard from them about any delay by week six, start making your plans.
In my case, week six saw me failing PT2 by a small enough margin that my training time, while not delayed by more than a few days, meant I would not graduate with my division. I was still able to spend time on base with my family the same weekend the remaining recruits in my division graduated.
Space and parking are limited on base during Pass and Review, so keep that in mind when arriving at RTC Great Lakes for your sailor's special day.
What Happens After Boot Camp?
After pass and review, your newly capped sailor will pack his or her bags, be given orders and travel information for their next level of training—"A" School—and be on a much more mundane journey to learning their actual job while they serve their time. During "A" school they'll experience life as a sailor in a whole new way...
Navy Boot Camp Graduation Photos and The Keel
Graduation photos are taken in week four, and are taken in dress uniform. Please advise your Sailor that they will only be able to order graduation pictures during this time, after boot camp is over, you will not be able to buy these pictures!
The Keel—the "yearbook" for your sailor's recruit division—is available for purchase during boot camp, as well as for one year after their graduation date. The publisher in charge of printing and distributing each division's copy of The Keel does not retain them longer than one year.
As these are important pieces of memorabilia, it is advisable that each recruit and his or her family plan prior to boot camp to invest in these items. Set aside money prior to their ship date and keep in mind that you are saving for a piece of your sailor's history that you will not have the opportunity to reclaim afterward.
Women's Essentials for Navy Boot Camp
Women should arrive in conservative, comfortable slacks or jeans and shirt. No tank tops, halter tops or short-shorts are permitted. Women are also required to bring these items:
- 6 white bras (standard white cotton—two should be athletic support)
- 6 panties (white cotton)
- sanitary items (as required)
- 2 white half-slips
- 2 pairs of pantyhose or stockings (skin tone)
- Shampoo (in a small plastic container)
- A copy of PAP smear if one was performed six months prior to ship date
- If currently using birth control pills, bring the pills and a copy of exam records specifying the type(s) of birth control pills both currently and previously prescribed.
What to Bring to Boot Camp
- Marriage certificate
- Spouse's and children's birth certificate(s)
- Divorce decree (of both husband and wife)
- Court decrees for alimony/child support
- Small Bible, Holy Scripture or other religious articles (if desired)
- Prescription or reading glasses or contact lens kit (no prescription sunglasses)
- Prescribed medications
- Civilian medical records if you have any medical condition that requires treatment
- College transcripts
- Certificate of entry (for immigrant alien recruits)
- Maximum of $25.00 cash
- Postage stamps (suggestion is to bring at least two books of stamps)
A special thank you goes to about.com for compiling an actual list of things to take and not to take to boot camp. If these lists differ from what you are told—use the list/information your recruiter gave you as the primary guide.
What Not to Bring to Boot Camp
Here's a list of the things you do NOT bring to boot camp. This is not a complete list, but rather gives you a clear picture of what to leave at home:
- food, candy, chewing gum or alcoholic beverages;
- cigarettes or other tobacco products;
- sharp objects, scissors, fingernail files or manicure kits;
- lighter fluid, non-disposable lighters, matches, aerosol cans, perfumes, colognes, liquid shoe polish or any articles in glass containers;
- radios, books, tape recorders, non-prescription or prescription sunglasses, musical instruments, sports equipment or cameras;
- firearms, explosives, ammunition, knives or weapons of any kind;
- calculators or electronic games;
- lewd or obscene photographs or literature;
- cards or dice;
- non-prescription medicine, drugs or vitamins;
- low-cut or two-piece swimsuits;
- illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia;
- jewelry (except for a small religious medal, wedding and/or engagement ring and a conventional, conservative watch). While in uniform you're not allowed to wear any other jewelry.
Note From the Author
I know this is a lot of reading, but I feel the information and insight I can give, having been through it first hand, is invaluable.
Boot camp is not easy, it's not glamorous, it's not fun. You learn more about yourself and others than you ever wanted to know before, you curse, cry at the silliest things, and for eight weeks you really wish you could have things that you had before going to boot.
Where before you really wanted your parents to shut up and leave you alone, you begin to long for any word, any letter, anything that connects you to home. Guy or girl, your heart leaps when the mail comes in. A simple I love you from someone back home means more than anything.
You change, you adapt, you learn. The whole process breaks you down inside, takes parts of you away, parts of you that held you back. You'll see the meek, shy, quiet nerd become confident as the weeks pass, you'll fight and bicker like children in a schoolyard. By week six, you'll wonder what the hell you're going to do to stay in touch with every single person in your division. You'll exchange email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses with people you never may have spoken to two months before, because they are your family.
The military is not a choice everyone should make. I made the choice, and my Navy ballcap rests in a place of pride. You're worth it, shipmate.
Boot Camp FAQ
There are a lot of questions your family and friends will have about your time in boot camp. I've tried to condense them down, and answer them to the best of my ability here:
When will I get to send mail to my loved one in boot camp?
You will receive a letter from your loved one as soon as they are given the ability to sit down and write letters. This may be as early as the first Sunday after they complete processing. There is no way for you to know what the appropriate address to send mail to your recruit is until they themselves send you their address, so you have to be patient. Spend the time prior to receiving their address writing plenty of letters, collect letters from friends and family to send as well during that time.
I'm not in great physical shape, can I still get into boot camp? (Also: I can't swim, can I get into boot camp?)
You do not *have* to be in peak physical condition when you head off to boot camp. In fact, part of the reason boot camp is so physically demanding is because it is whipping you into shape so you fall in line with the Navy's fitness guidelines. The more fit you become prior to shipping off to boot camp, the better you'll perform while you are there - so if you're thinking about joining the Navy, start getting ready for it early. Take swimming lessons, join a gym program.
When is my loved one going to graduate from boot camp?
That depends on your loved one's performance in each week. Any change in their graduation date after they've sent you their graduation information will cause them to be able to call you and let you know. You won't receive graduation information until several weeks in, so sit tight and wait for their word. It may be difficult, but my best advice is that you begin preparing for their graduation, financially and otherwise, as soon as they leave for boot camp.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Kiz Robinson
sharon on November 13, 2013:
my daughter went to boot camp on 10/21/2013 Im so very proud of her and making this choice can't wait to see her again at graduation
PR3 on September 11, 2013:
I joined the Navy in 2008 and I was a little older than your average bear. 31 Years old. I got an age waiver at the time.
I was foreign born so not many jobs open to me.
My points are these.
1. Yes the Navy is now physical so if your not...run 8 laps of a running track a day. Before you join, while your in DEP program.
Do you want an advancement in pay? Do you want to be ahead of your buddies when it is exam time? That what I did when I joined. This is the way I got promotion when 99% of the people in my division did not!
2. Study know your ranks/rates/ History again this will help you get a a pay rise in bootcamp! Ask your recruiter what it takes to get a pay rise!
3. A-school most have an automatic advancement for the top of the class! Learn what you need to pass the tests talk to the class above you to find out! Do not go boozing it up once you get your liberty pass study, study, study.
Serving in the United States Military will open more doors for you if you can make it and if you can serve honorably than most other things you can do in your life! As one of our most famous Presidents said....
"I can imagine a no more rewarding career, and any man
who may be asked in this century what he did to make his
life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of
pride and satisfaction:
'I served in the United States Navy'
President John F. Kennedy
Mel Carriere from San Diego California on July 09, 2013:
I graduated from Navy boot camp 30 years ago, and it seems it has changed a bit. I don't remember it being especially rigorous physically, but then again I was a young man. We also didn't do a lot of seamanship training that I recall, which seems strange, and there was no marksmanship training back then either. One thing they did do was put us in the gas chamber and expose us to tear gas. They yelled at us a lot too, back then, and I understand that they have eased off on that a bit, although I am not sure. This hub brings back memories. Thanks.
John Wilson on July 02, 2013:
This comment is to be taken seriously by all of the new recruits just starting their Navy career. They say that you learn from experience. I was proud to wear the uniform and fight for our country back in Vietnam as have so many others. What I want to pass on to you is simply: Injuries or Sickness. No matter how small a cut or swollen finger, and no matter how little the stomach aches, GO TO SICKBAY! Get it documented..just in case many years later you find the need to file for disability through the Navy. I cannot stress this enough, you'll thank me for it. Thanks for serving. Believe me, it's the best job you'll ever have.
iswhatitis on March 28, 2013:
My daughter who is age 21 went to college for two years here in SC and just was not motivated. She did not know what to do with herself and grades were not good. She was very worried she would not do well in boot camp and lacked confidence in herself. Within weeks of boot camp I started getting letters from her about how hard it was but how great she was doing! I had the bigggest smile on my face!!! I was so proud of my daughter! She had difficulty with the PT but managed to graduate with her class on time and pull it off. After her Boot camp she said the most important thing that helped her get through was her attitude. Have an "I Can DO It Attitude". She said the eight weeks went by quickly. She is off to Tech School Now and I am so proud.
Wanting to be a sailor on January 06, 2013:
Hey! I want to be a sailor but I am on thyroid meds and was just wandering if anybody could tell me if that will keep me away from the career and chance of a lifetime of being a sailor? Any information on this topic will be very much appreciated! THANK YOU!
migdalia tiano on December 19, 2012:
I have a daugher that went to boot camp on Dec. 13,2012. I can't wait to receive a letter from her. I know I have to be patient but its so hard, God bless you all for your service. I love and miss you Ruth and I know God will keep you all safe. oxoxoxoxox
Brandon on October 23, 2012:
I leave 20121030 for boot camp. I'm really excited but at the same time nervous.
Scaredy Cat on October 04, 2012:
This was extremely helpful! Thanks for breaking it down like that. I was on the ropes about if I really wanted to do this, but you made it so much clearer for me. Now I'm looking forward to joining :) Thank You!
alissa on September 05, 2012:
if anyone is interested in joining the navy and lives in western ny contact me and i can head you in the right direction. txt at 716 3484769
alissa on September 05, 2012:
im heading to great lakes oct first. any advice what my days should be like before i leave? i run in the mornings and do my push ups and sit ups. i know pratically the whole start guide. just looking for any extra advice?
kei'kei on August 07, 2012:
Hi, I am making plans to join the Navy. I have dental problems and bad credit. Will this keep me from being enlisted?
Astrology on July 21, 2012:
My boyfriend left 4 days ago for bootcamp, and for the longest time he thought he was coming back to visit for 2 weeks between Basic and "A" school. I don't know if he was told that, or if he just assumed, but when he find out he wasn't able to come back, I was hurting. It's one thing to be gone for 8 weeks, but to find out it has to be so much longer sucks. I had something to look forward to. I won't be able to make his graduation because I will still be in school.
OConnor on July 14, 2012:
Dear Mr. Hopeful to be a Sailor,
I went through kind of the same thing and I hope I'm not too late to answer you, but yeah everybody except your recruiter is trying to find a reason for you not to go. That's pretty much their job. I was on medication and they had me go through medical at MEPS and everything before they said "Everything looks good but we can't sign you for your job today because we need clearance from your doctor." So that was about 5 months before I got the note and sent it up there for them to look at. Then they sent me to MEPS again (thank God it wasn't the same routine), signed me for my job (AV), and I leave in September. The time period between MEPS visits was just awful so I get where you're coming from. I guess that's what they're talking about when they say "Hurry up and wait". I really hope this was helpful, if not to you then to somebody else.
Future Sailor OConnor
Fairy on July 04, 2012:
My son left for boot camp on June 28.my heart hurt so much feel like I lost my bff.
vere1 on June 20, 2012:
This is good info my boyfriend just left a week ago and he seemed scared/excited. But i've been wondering do they hace a time off after bootcamp to come home? If so how long?
Anchoredin on June 15, 2012:
I'm 15 years old and I want to up in the navy. Problem is I was put in bay behavorial on a baker-act that was unnecessary because I wasn't guilty of the things that I was baker-acted for. I need to know wether or not this stuff will go on my permanent medical record, because my future quite literally depends on this.
aloha on June 13, 2012:
hi their is there a risk in my life if i join the boot camp ?pls answer this question to me.
group photo on May 24, 2012:
does anybody know how i can obtain my 1965
Great Lakes boot camp photo ?
my company number was #250., around August of that year.
esse on April 23, 2012:
please at what week do they take the swim test?
Mike Pugh from New York City on April 16, 2012:
Its pretty cold up there in February I been there, back in 1998 from Nov to Feb 1999, and it was quite bitter cold. There's no need to worry though @Atf-it, they gear you up for the weather out there, and all the work you'll be doing you hardly even think about the cold much.
Ibraheem327 on April 16, 2012:
35 IS too old. You have to be 34 and turning 35 in boot camp. I know because there is a school teacher 35 in my DEPPERS... His college degree is the only thing that got him in. Im 18 and my ship date is 20120625. I want to do SEALS, But im not a strong enough swimmer. I WILL GET THERE THOUGH.
nathanielsanchez on March 17, 2012:
Hi im 17 years old and in the 12 grade i want to be a part of the navy reserve but im worried about it any help will be aprreciated..
Stephen C Jackson on March 11, 2012:
I served US NAVY 1965-1968.My Boot Camp was 13 weeks long,in San,Diego California. I went in a boy came out a man.I was trained as a crash and structoral firfighter
,IC Electrician , MP ,served on shore in Danang Vietnam. Would not trade my experience for anything.Navys great had fun even in boot.
Anchors Aweigh my boy..............
nicholasgirl on March 06, 2012:
I'm just wondering about A class and C class and what this means for an intelligence specialist. I am too a worried girlfriend and I don't want this to end our relationship. when do they get phone calls? get to give addresses and such? do they get to keep their phones? when can communication commence? I'm very proud of him and can't wait till he goes out, but I don't want him to know my worries.
AMAA on February 29, 2012:
been out of bootcamp for almost 4 months trust me bootcamp wasn't bad at all the hardest thing about it was waking up in the morning. I ENJOYED BOOTCAMP you won't realize that until its over. Bootcamp was a great experience the friendships the team work lol endless bootcamp stories i know exactly what you guys are thinking don't be to quick to throw in the towel those first couple of days. Now the Real challenege is A school thats where people get stupid and get themselves kicked out. but anyway Enjoy it because thats the easiest money the navy will ever give you and to any of you going "AM" hooyah airframes!
moonlitdance on February 08, 2012:
thanks so much for this page. very informative. I just graduated college and am going enlisted then to officer. I'm taking the asvab in less than 12 hours from now. going through MEPS early next week, not looking forward to the blood test though I'm not fond of needles. while I'm not in my absolute best shape I've been working on running since that's where I know I'm going to struggle (always have). I've dropped 13 pounds since jan 1 and continuing to lose :) so I could meet the weight requirements. the only question I have about basic training is what are the living quarters like?
Nate W on February 05, 2012:
Waiting on ASVAB scores to come back from being graded.(it was taking at school) very nervous. hoping they come back good so i can join and then the only thing holding me back is graduating high school.
southern diva on February 04, 2012:
hi im 35 yrs old and interested in joining the navy reserve. im not physically fit, and is scared to death also i bought the kaplan asvab book and cant consentrate PLEASE HELP!!!!!
Edie on February 02, 2012:
steph55 10 days ago
hello, i am a 17 year old girl and i really want to be a navy diver but i have a problem, i am overweight :( i am working out to get into shape but a person told me that there is no way ill every become a navy diver becasue im not already in shape and its very physically demanding? i know its a physically demanding but i want to be a diver really bad! any thoughts would be great thanks
I am 17 year old girl also. I am currently in DEP and shipping in 2 months. I am in Aircrew and and going to get certified as a rescue swimmer. This is also a very demanding physical job. Diving is in Spec Ops as I assume you know so there is a lower acceptance and higher expectations of a persons physical shape. I was not in shape a couple years ago. I worked out hard for 2 years and am in the best shape of my life. My advice is never give up on the dream but realize that you may need to put in some extra work to get there. If you have any questions feel free to ask!
steph55 on January 22, 2012:
hello, i am a 17 year old girl and i really want to be a navy diver but i have a problem, i am overweight :( i am working out to get into shape but a person told me that there is no way ill every become a navy diver becasue im not already in shape and its very physically demanding? i know its a physically demanding but i want to be a diver really bad! any thoughts would be great thanks
Hopeful to be a Sailor on January 20, 2012:
Hi everyone... I was so excited about the opportunity of becoming part of the US Navy. Unfortunately my chances for now have been crushed. I was rx. xanax last year due to bad family issues (dad very sick and dying) and of course depression was there. But they don't care what the reasons were, they just know that I was "drepressed" and on Xanax temporarily. The navy recruiter said that it may be something that can potentially disqualify me for pursing my dream of being a sailor. They said that it has to be a full year of no prescription or diagnosis. Needless to say my doctor cleared me from that, but now the navy wants 2 follow up visits to complete the full year rotation.
Has anyone been through something similar? What are my true chances? I have been crushed and I am afraid that I will continue the process to be crushed again by the military doctors.
If anyone has insight on this situation... I would love to hear it.
GUEST on January 02, 2012:
Just in case anyone else is in my same situation- I asked the Q: about eye surgery & have since found out the A: Navy will allow either Lasik or PRK unless you are going into any Special Ops Program then they prefer PRK. You have to wait 3 monthd with a waiver-6 months no waiver-your choice & basically depends on how high you score on the ASVAB :)
Kim&Rob on December 31, 2011:
I really appreciative this site . My boyfriend left Dec 1 and will graduate Feb 3 . He is hoping that we can spend time with each other after that but reading this let's me kno that I shouldn't get my hopes up. His A school is on Florida. I just hope it has change a littliest from then.
guest on December 21, 2011:
does anyone know which of the 2 the Navy will accept either Lasik or PRK prior to enlisting? I am going into the SEAL Program but just learned my uncorrected vision is 20/400 in both eyes, way over the max allowed to be accepted. Want to have this done before going to MEPS which is scheduled next week. Bummed but not giving up!
TaniaR on December 20, 2011:
@Gues: Actually what Game girl said is completely correct, you can take it again. However, it's a month waiting period b4 you are allowed to take it. The third time is 6 months. (at least that is what the navy recruiting office said about a month ago).
guest1 on December 20, 2011:
@Guest: Yes you can. Think of it very similar to the SAT that you took in high school. The only down part is that you must wait at least 6 months before doing so. So study hard for the first go around and you won't have to worry about the second time!
guest on December 20, 2011:
This is the best site out there for info-I am physically VERY fit, I'm a little nervous about the ASVAB. If you don't pass are you allowed to take a 2nd time?
MM3 on December 19, 2011:
Boot camp will fix those things or you will go home. Most people are fixed.
Sarah on December 19, 2011:
Hi, I'm thinking about going into the Navy. But a few things nag at the back of my mind.
Firstly, from a young age, my mother has been the defined "slave driver" in my life. She was not a very kind person and loved to yell. At about the age 16, I found I could not handle being told what to do and became too headstrong to continue letting her treat me so badly. Since then, when she tries to tell me what to do, I feel this grating anger bubble up and snap. I worry that in boot camp I would not be able to follow the Drill Instructor's orders because of said anger bubble.
Another thing as well has me concerned. I'm not the most fit person out there. I'm easily winded, and my chest aches something fierce when I exert myself. I cannot run for long distances without pausing and find even doing menial things like push-ups to be a bit of a challenge. Now, mind you. I was in JROTC in high school, so I got a "taste" of the lifestyle through interactive trips with my unit. But yeah... it worries me.
I've been thinking about it for a while... just as an option to my boring life right now. I am 20 years old and have done nothing to push myself forward, not even college (mainly cuz I for the life of me cannot figure out what I would love most of all to study.) I think I would have trouble deciding a job in the Navy as well.
If you could give me some pointers or anything that could possibly break habits and introduce new ones, please by all means offer!
Kiz Robinson (author) from New Orleans, Louisiana on December 18, 2011:
@Guest - only the recruiter would be able to answer that question, unfortunately. As far as I am aware, misdemeanors are not a disqualifying factor for enlistment in the military, but I don't have the most up to date information on recruitment structure.
guest on December 18, 2011:
great info. I do have a Q: my almost 21 yr old son is wanting to join & possibly go into the SEAL Program. He has a 1 1/2 yr old MIP of alcohol-no jail time just had to pay a fine. Hasn't even had a speeding ticket since. We were told we had to "disclose" this Clas C Misdemeanor-doesn't show up on his record anywhere-does this make him ineligible to enlist?
ms.mcmillian on December 15, 2011:
your artcle has helped me alot..i take my asvab jan.3 an then after that i will b signing papers and headed out to boot camp!! wish me luck!! i am very excited!!
cant wait to be officially a sailor
TaniaR on December 14, 2011:
Thanks game girl.. My family thinks that I can put the younger ones to shame. LOL My son believes that I will get them motivated because if "MOM" can do it, they can do it. My son and husband will enlist active duty after me. He will graduate from high school this coming summer and husband will leave when I get back. Joining is becoming a family affair and it's something that we're doing together. Although my daughter says she won't be a part of any military service. LOL. Thank you for your support! I will take my asvab soon and possibly swear in along side of my family! I am amazingly proud of my son and what he's going to be. I am already proud of him but this will be the icing on the cake. I hope that by me joining it will give me the mindset that you are never too old to do what you want, and continues to push them to realize their dreams!! I want them to be just as proud of me as I am of them. Sorry for the long blog.. but lots to say. :) And if any other comments out there, I would love to hear the feedback. Has anyone completed basic recently?? Thanks for your prompt response gamergirl!!
Kiz Robinson (author) from New Orleans, Louisiana on December 14, 2011:
35 is NOT too old. Go for it! I believe in you too.
TaniaR on December 14, 2011:
Hi Navy girl,
I am a young mother of a son that will be going into the Nuke program. I am extremely proud and excited for him. I am also heavily considering going into the Navy reserves. This is something that I would love to be a part of and would love to challenge myself to be a part of a larger group where honor, respect and pride are all together. However, do you think that 35 is too old? It is my understanding that I would be one of the oldest in basic and quite frankly I am excited about the experience and petrified. My husband, son and daughter are all proud of me and think that I am failing if I don't even try. They believe in me, but I am not sure if I believe in myself as much as they do. HELP!!
kristen on December 12, 2011:
i can't wait! :)
lazerladybcr on December 11, 2011:
Great site-I'm curious about graduation day/weekend for SEAL candidates. Have heard that they go directly "across the street" for their A school and that they do not have
liberty for more than a couple of hours that graduation day-noone the rest of the weekend. ANY first hand, recent experiences?
James on November 25, 2011:
0600? I got up at 0400!!!!! Lights out @ 2200
Paula on November 22, 2011:
I just read where you have to purchase pictures during week 4 or you are out of luck!!! any suggestions?? My son and I never talked about this!
Robert H. Goetz, Sr. on November 21, 2011:
My profound thanks to all of you who have chosen to serve.
Robert H. Goetz, Sr.
Mike Pugh from New York City on November 21, 2011:
Wow, this is definitely a thorough hub on the bootcamp process. This brings back memories like no other especially the video you supplied here which is accurate in every way, and I will never forget how long it took for me to be processed into the Navy let alone to get through the bootcamp process.
This was an experience I will never ever forget, and I just started writing my hubs on the subject of my 10 year Naval Career.
I got out the Navy in 2008 honorably discharged, so I been adjusting to the civilian life for 3 years now, and so I definitely have full complete personal knowledge in this specific subject matter of interest.
Thanks for sharing this very important and useful resource, I hope many others get to use it to help them prior to going through the enlistment process, back when I joined these resources was not in place, & hubpages did not exist I don't believe way back in 1998 when I had my first of enlistments. I'll research that part to see if it was, but I don't believe so.
Fair Winds & following Seas, Shipmate!
Nukemom on November 16, 2011:
My daughter is super smart and really wanted to excel in bootcamp. She was her divisions A-Roc and was a good recruit. Sometime in her 6th week she began to unravel and was taken out for a week of confidence building class. She was assigned to a new division and thrilled that she got her ARoc status back, all was good and she was to graduate this Friday but she failed to run her time and is not graduating, in fact, they will keep letting her try to run but she will never participate in a grad ceremony. Once she makes her time, she will be shipped to A school. My heart is broken for her and I feel robbed not experiencing her graduation but most of all I cannot seem to find the answer to her question: Why can't I run? She says she can do it but in the middle of the run she says she is going to fail and then she just stops. Any thoughts? Also: She briefly mentioned that if we fly there and go the the base on graduation day we might be able to go to the visitors center and see her on base of for a couple of hours. Is this true? We are going regardless but just wondering. I am crying about this so much but I cannot let her know how disappointed we are. Thanks for having this forum to vent.
MAJ John on November 16, 2011:
Goodness, I went through U.S. Navy Basic training starting in August 1972 at RTC San Diego. We didn't do any PT back then; glad that has changed. It seems the whole 8 weeks was about preparing us for a graduation ceremony. Boot camp has sure changed in almost 40 years!
WHJ954 on November 08, 2011:
I understand from an early comment that you kept some kind of Journal. Can our son bring a lined Journal to keep his experiences or did you use loose sheets of paper or a great memory?
Leaving Soon! on November 04, 2011:
Hey! i leave in 8 days and i am curious to know how in depth the medical screening is at bootcamp. I know i'm going to be stuck with a bunch of needles, but will it be the same as at MEPS? (duck walk blah blah blah) Thanks !!!
NavyMomToo on November 04, 2011:
wow... thanks for this!!! I have a son at boot camp...RIGHT NOW!! In the middle of week 2. I can't deny my heart found more tears as I thought of him tired weary and wondering what the heck he is doing so far away from home. His father was a Corpsman and my son plans to become a Navy Chaplain.... he has always wanted to be in the SWCC(?) unit which is what his father did in the reserves and hopefully he will get to do that... then after he finishes his bachelor's degree, be will be comissioned as an Officer and THEN go to Siminary. The Navy definately provides these men and women the tools and means to build their future... not only will it Pay for college andbut it gives you the life skills and disciple to reach their goals and dreams in a bIG WAY!! those who do nothing after their mandatory time and don't take advantage of all the Navy offers and all the little the Navy is willing to do for them is missing out and just not trying. My son will basically be getting paid a very nice Officer's salary just for attending seminary. What makes my heart swell the most is that the one thing he is most looking forward to is the third and final chapter of his Navy Career/Life Plan and that is to serve God and his country as a Chaplain and it be his fulltime job.
.... Needless to say I am one very blessed and proud Momma. You guys got a good one in that boy and he has always always always wanted to be a Sailor.... i can't wait to think of him getting that ballcap in week 7 !!! I am going to do some copy and pasting if that is all right with you for family and friends who are praying for my so and want to know what he is doing.
God Bless You and Thank you so much for your service...
Cheyenne on October 30, 2011:
My father served in the Navy for 20 years, and I have always looked up to him, he really wants me to go into the Navy. But I'm 17 and a girl that's not strong at all. And he keeps telling me I should go in the navy, it's not that bad. You'll have the time of your life. But Im truly scared to go in and sign up for it. But other days I tell myself screw it and let's sign me up. All I need is some help as to what I should do.
MaryJ1981 on October 25, 2011:
You know, I was in boot camp going on 13 years ago now. I am so wondering if anyone knows where I could get a pair of "Smurfs"...they were so comfortable and I would love to get another pair! I had mine up until I got divorced from my ex-husband and I was in such a rush to get away from him that I just left them with him. If anyone knows of a website where I could purchase them, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Jerry Schaper on October 19, 2011:
Very interesting reading about Naval Life
luz on October 18, 2011:
i need help to get boot camp were to get your phone numbers
PSSN on October 01, 2011:
Oops forgot to share this... Your shipping date is negotiable with recruiters. Ask for enlistment bonus...(you can always cross rate later on, long process tho). if you have college credits, you can start with rank E-3. At the end, for those shipmates wanna come home early. Navy does have lots of programs for Early Out, for ex: regular 3 mos early out, plus 2mos leave days, enrollment in university, or deduction in rate. Just need to bugging your Command Career Counselor alot.
PSSN on October 01, 2011:
misstiffany89 - its all based on your rate, which is your A school schedule or C school schedules once you passed the boot camp. For myself, i signed up in Mar2006, left for bootcamp in Oct2006, then reported to A school in Jan2007. If your contract promised any benefits beside the enlistment bonus, such as promote in ranks, make sure you practice your 1.5miles running, you will have the physical test on the first week you report to bootcamp. If you failed the first one, your benefits or promote in ranks will be cancelled.
Amanda baby on September 29, 2011:
My man is just now joining the navy.. were waiting to see what dates he will leave for boot an what job.. We have been together for 6 months but dated for months before.. an i love him. I am so scared to loose him or he will cheat. Idk what to do.. Any good advice out there please????
chief minnick(ret) on September 25, 2011:
i read over half of the comments and am so proud of you young men an women who have joined yhe service!i went through boot camp in the 50s,was a great experance.god bless you all,smoth sailing,respect.
misstiffany89 on September 18, 2011:
Thanks so much everyone for the valuable information. I plan on joining the navy as soon as i become more physically fit to have the ability to get through boot camp a little easier. im excited scared nervous and anxious all in one. i now know i'm not the only one with these mixed emotions. several questions that im hoping someone can answer for me...
1. how is it determined when u leave for boot camp.?
2. is there a minimum time between signing your contract and leaving for bootcamp that you are given.?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
corriesmom on September 18, 2011:
Thank you gamergirl and all of the posters. My son left last week for bootcamp and I really hope he loves it. He had a delayed entry and he spent the time becoming very physically fit and he has read many books on special warfare. He is very motivated. The only thing that concerns me is he fell in love with a girl a couple of months before he left and has asked her to marry him. Do you think his relationship will break his focus?
Thanks to all of you who serve!
Salas8184 on September 17, 2011:
Thank you very much Gamer Girl for serving our country and of course for this information its has been really useful! I have a few questions. I am currently enrolled in college and I plan to finish this fall semester I am joining the navy but I was wondering if i could submit my application now since the process takes some time so that by next year somewhere in January or February I start bootcamp. And also how long does it take for them to give you a date to leave for training right after you submit your application? I would really appreciate answers or comments. Thank you
ashley0217 on September 11, 2011:
Hello everyone! My boyfriend just finished up his 1st week at boot camp and i was wondering when i'll get his address. I don't live with him so i won't get his box of things he had to send home. When will i be able to write to him? GO NAVY!
atf-it on September 09, 2011:
has any one here been at great lakes in feb? i leave feb 7 and wondering how cold is cold up there
Morgan on September 02, 2011:
What happens after "A" school?
Fran Roskens on August 30, 2011:
I would just like to say thank you for your article and the love and pride you show our country. My son leaves for boot camp in 7 days and it's very painful as a mother yet I know this experience will show the man I know my son is cut out to be serving our country! Thank you for all you and your shipmates do for us as Americans each and every day! God bless!
Heather on August 27, 2011:
hi gamergirl, thanks so much for all of this info! i'm a liguistics major in college and i won't graduate for about three years still, but i'm thinking about joining the Navy to go to the DLI Monterey. Do you get to choose the job you do in the Navy or do they just assign you something, because if the latter is the case I wouldn't want to waste my time and theirs. Also, i have kind of a problem with motivation. the only reason i made it through school this far is because i love it. i read about the defense language institute and i'm kind of in love with it, but i don't know about everything else that comes with being in the military. opinions anyone? thanks again for all the info!
Aaron on August 25, 2011:
Hello, I was just wonderingif they MAKE you get your wisdom teeth removed if they are still in your mouth. If so does it hurt lol (not sure if they care for you as much as a regular dentist would.) If so might as well do it at my regular dentist instead of letting the Navy do it.
brittany A on August 24, 2011:
I just want to say thank you for putting info like this! I wasnt supposed to leave until march for bootcamp but i just got my call this morning so i leave tuesday! it happened so quick because my DEP day was July 29 and i'll be leaving Aug. 30 so i had exactly one month.. not quite enough time to study and train. i will keep records of what im going thru just as u did and hopefully when im done i can help someone else just as you have! Thank you for serving our country!
Kara on August 11, 2011:
I am shiping out within a few months (to boot camp) and this site is completley invaluable. Thank you so much!
Emily on August 07, 2011:
i have a few questions, my boyfriend just left not even two weeks ago. but he didnt bring any stamps, should i mail him some? also his recruiter said he should bring a calling card...does this mean hell get to call? also i was told he could write in 3 weeks. does that mean 3 actual weeks, or his 3rd sunday since he can only write on sundays. i am soo glad to hear that they love getting mail because i am writing him so much and i was kinda scared he was gonna get annoyed or not want them lol. he graduates in 40 days. will he have time to do anything after his graduation, or will he only have that one day? i am just to impatient to wait for him to be able to write me back
NavyDad on August 03, 2011:
Is their a web site for Navy Dads?
Ron Webb on July 25, 2011:
I leave for bootcamp tomorrow k
sailor'sgirl on July 23, 2011:
My fiance arrived July 19th. Got. His box of stuff yesterday, hope to get his address soon to give him some love. Strength. And encouragement.
Jessica on July 17, 2011:
Thank you so much for the insight. I'm leaving for basic october 6th. I'm so much more than excited :).
sailorgirl1 on July 15, 2011:
My boyfriend left june 21st and yesterday he got to use the phone for a full hour and talked to me the entire time!
gwendolyn on July 15, 2011:
My son left on July 12th and i was told he would call to let me know that he arrived safely...that has not happened. What would be the reason for that? How do i know he got there safely?
AnotherNavy Mom on July 07, 2011:
Navy Momma, if you haven't yet, go join the website Navy for Moms (M4M) it is an awesome group with alot of great info.
Navy Momma 1 on July 06, 2011:
My daughter also left for basic on June 20th 2011. I have so been dying to talk to her. I've sent her a bunch of mail, but have yet to hear anything. But over all the stuff that I've been reading through I think it's safe to say "no news is good news". God Bless all the men and woman that have the desire to stick up for our country. I have yet to see anything about 12 weeks though. graduation takes place in the 8th week, I hope that's the way it is.
mamayoshi82 on June 25, 2011:
thank you for this. it has helped my fiance before he left for basic june 20th, 2011 and it is helping me now why we aren't able to talk. i keep getting remarks though that say the navy bootcamp is 12 weeks, not 8 like my fiance has been told and said to me. is this true? i wish the newbies well in their new chapters in their lives and i thank all who are serving and have served. you are all brave and words cannot express how much it means.
Jay McMullan on June 23, 2011:
Thanks Gamegirl - it's been a long time since boot camp for me too. My son left on 6/15/11 and I'm counting the days until I see him again. Although your training pipeline has changed since I went thru school I know how long it takes to become one of the elite... thanks for your service and this info. The elite being an M Brancher... take care shipmate.
Jay - USN Ret. CTM1(SW)
Jasmine877 on June 20, 2011:
I want to go to the navy! How was your expierience gamegirl?
AnotherNavy Mom on June 17, 2011:
My son left on Monday June 13, I received his box of personals today, the 17th. When will I know his address(to send letters) and dates for graduation? Also does anyone know about the hotels nearby ? I am trying to plan my trip and know nothing about the area.
mlh333 on June 08, 2011:
Does any one know what would happen if you don't show up for Navy boot camp? My roomate signed up last Aug. she is supposed to leave next Monday June 13th! She said she isn't going. Will she big in trouble or does it matter? I know she has signed an oath.
Robin on June 07, 2011:
Wow, I am so glad I found this info. My son left on May 4 and his first few letters were tough to read. I wish I had seen this ahead of time so I would have been prepared and known what to say to him. He will be graduating at the end of the month.
sailorboi27 on May 24, 2011:
@ Garcia'sWife...Thanks for that information! I was hoping graduation would be about one week sooner base on the date he got shipped. He will have "A" school in Texas so you think he would leave GL the followin day? Also, Would I only be able to see him on the graduation day?
Thanks and again for your input! Its really appreciated.
Garcia'sWife on May 20, 2011:
Sailorboi27- When they have graduation, it starts at 9:30 am and goes on to about 11:00 or so, then all sailors are granted what they call "liberty" or free time to spend with their family. The sailors who have "A" school there in Great Lakes will have to go through processing immediately after graduation and they said that usually takes about 4-5 hours. Then they are free the rest of the day till about 8 to 9 pm which is when they have to return back to base. Also if they have "A" school in GL then they get liberty saturday and sunday as well. They would just have to be back that night because they are not allowed any overnight stays. If the Sailor is going out of state for "A" school, then their liberty is right after graduation, they get the rest of the day and they fly out to their school the day after sometime in the morning, but if there is a flight issue, they may be extended to having to fly out the day after that. Boot camp is between 7-9 weeks, depending on when they get there or if they're in a "Push" division. My SR left 4/11 and he graduates 6/3. He is in a push division so his is a little less than 8 weeks. Your best friend shipped out on 5/17, so you're probably looking at graduation being around 7/12 or maybe sooner :) I hope that helps!
sailorboi27 on May 19, 2011:
Does anyone kno how much free time is given during graduation? How can I find out when graduation will be? My best friend just got shipped on 05/17 and apart of me is literally gone :(
elvis 17 on May 18, 2011:
Ok, I want to join the Navy in 2 years...can someone tell me what this confidence course is? How should I prepare for it?
Justingrdn on May 15, 2011:
Relly want to join one more year of high school, want to be a navy welder, dad exited he was a helicopter hydrolics mech., mom not so excited.
Garcia'sWife on May 09, 2011:
Hi Tra'Shon. My husband left for the navy on April 11. And yes you're right, it is very tough! I got a letter from him, an actual letter from him on the 27th. So it took about 2 and a half weeks. They pretty much only have Sunday's to write letters he said, so he has to wait until then to write you or if he writes during the week, then he said, they sometimes wait till monday to send all the letters out. It's hard to be patient, I know. I was the same way. But you will get a letter soon. And he will probably call, get his first phone call, sometime today :) I got my first phone call from my husband exactly 3 weeks from the day he left. So I looked on the calendar and he left 3 weeks from today. So I hope he calls you. Good luck and keep writing him!
Tra'Shon on May 05, 2011:
hey im a navy wife. my husband ship out on 18 april 2011, i recieved his address week after exact, ive writtten like evry other day if not everyday. folling wek i recieved more business info. 9may will be the beginning of his 4th, and i havent gotten a actual latter from him. im trying be patient, but i keep hearing that i should have recieved one. how long does it usually take, and when will they be able to call agan. i really wanna know he got my letters and get a reply. its tough
Jsmom on April 27, 2011:
my son left on 4-19 and i got his box and 1st letter with in 7 days
sarah on April 25, 2011:
`thank you very much my sister ivy is going to boot camp on jun1 so yeah i needed to know if they celebrat bdays cuse her is jun11