Navy Boot Camp Graduation

Hi Everyone!

Let me start off this section by saying SUCK IT UP AND PAY FOR THAT CAB/RENTAL CAR!!!  How do I know this??  Because I made the mistake on the way there to try and save my money by skipping the cab.  Totally not worth it.  Great Lakes is about 45 minutes north of Chicago.  I had the bright idea (using coupons of course) to take a shuttle from the airport to the train station, the train up to Great Lakes and finally a cab from that train station to my hotel.  It took me hours to get there and was a huge headache.  Now, I was only 19 at the time and traveling alone so I did not have the option of a rental car but I got smart and sprung for the cab on the way back to the airport.  Once you are out of the city, the drive is a straight shot and fairly easy.  Now I also didn't do enough research on hotels and wound up in a total dump.  But I did learn a few things.  When looking for a hotel for graduation, you need to look for a few things.  The first is find a hotel that offers a shuttle to the base.  There is a graduation just about every Friday so many hotels offer this.  Another thing that you would want to be on the look out for, especially if you don't have a rental car is a hotel that is close to food.  That way you have the option to walk to a restaurant rather than having to get another cab to go eat dinner.  Also, read reviews on hotels and make sure it is somewhere with a good reputation.  I also always encourage everyone to write a review of their own after their trip.
What to expect the day of graduation:

***This was my experience.  The rules are always subject to change.***

I took the hotel shuttle to the base the morning of graduation.  This or a cab is the best way to do this because there are a lot of people and parking can be an issue.  When I arrived at the gate, there is a guard that is checking IDs against his list for that days graduation class.  You will need to let your service member know well in advance who all is coming or who is thinking about coming.  I believe that there is a limit of 4 adults per graduate but your service member will be given that info ahead of time.  Keep in mind that it is better to be on the list and not go, then to go and not be on the list.  You will need to show your picture ID and you will also need to know your service member's unit number.  Once you get through the gate, follow the signs to the graduation hall.  The graduation should take about an hour or so.  Once the recruits are released, you can go down to the floor to find your recruit.  They will know what the rules are as far as where they are allowed to go, when they are required to check back in on base at night and how many days they have before they have to report at their next duty station.  This could be anywhere from a few hours to a week before they head to their duty station.

Hope this is helpful!