What happens at bootcamp - Day-per-Day? (Up to week #6)
I am opening this thread to help our fellow deppers get ready for boot camp. This is just a normal routine day at boot camp.
Night Before: Get sleep at least 1 night or more before ship date. It is essential! This is important!!
MEPS & Airport
- MEPS processing, as usual, hurry up and wait. Urinalysis, instructions on where/when you will be flying to Great Lakes, IL. Around noon you might be lucky to be leaving for the airport after taking 2nd oath (if active duty only). Family is allowed at MEPS and Airport if they ask for the military gate pass from the airline ticket counter. I really suggest you spend these last few moments with your family or BF/GF. The people you meet going to Great Lakes will mean nothing since you will probably all get different divisions anyways. So don't think you're "bonding", you're not. Your family is the ones who will be there to support you with letters while in boot camp. Just my suggestion.
- You get to O’Hare Airport, get luggage, eat and you have until 22:30 to go to the luggage area or Terminal 2 where the yelling begins (and you thought your mom bitched a lot)!
- Petty Officers get you in formation, listen, and follow their directions. They look through items you brought and if they don't like it they throw it away right then and there, or donate it.
- You get on the RTC bus which is your last time to talk and ask questions to the Sailor that's accompanying you.
AT RTC, YOUR NAVY DAY BEGINS
In-processing Day (P-days)
- "P-days" - are at least 5 working days long. It can be longer if there are not enough recruits to form a division.
- "P-hold" - If you're on P-hold it is because you will be waiting for more people to arrive so you have a full division. "P-day" and "P-Hold" do not count as being in boot camp". These days do not count towards your 8 weeks of training. These are just "dead days". Once you have a full division you will start your P-days.
The next 4-5 days after receipt day are known as Processing Days (P-Days). Medical and dental indoc gets done here to make sure you are able to train properly and efficiently. Haircuts are issued and pictures for the ID cards are taken. Most of these P-Days we ended up waking up at 0400 and tapped out at 2000. These are probably the most boring and horrible days of boot camp. You are not allowed to physically train yourself by doing push-ups or sit-ups (PT), and by the end of P-Days I definitely noticed a change to my pectoral strength. You were right Craig, I thought my mom bitch a lot, she was nothing compared to these guys
ha, it was just a whole bunch of yelling throughout the day and minor lectures along with all of the regular P-Day things was just about it for a week. We also by now should have been learning our chain of command.
The chain of command is vital to know in all cases where conflicts may interfere. You must never jump up the chain of command but if all else fails, the next person up the ladder might be able to help.
At the end of P-Days we did end up moving to our permanent (well. rest of RTC) home: Ship 12, the USS Triton. Every night after the first night consisted of constant talking and lost sleep. Well that was my case anyway. We started day 1-1 of training on the following Tuesday.
I forgot to mention the "Moment of Truth" and the PQS Written Test.
If you read in the DEP guide, you will know that the Moment of Truth is where you can disclose any information that you have hidden. Some people may pretend to be bipolar or anything because they do not like the first couple days. Just stick it out.
If you have done the DEP PQS, you can get advanced from Boot camp if you pass this multiple choice test with 80% or above and passing everything on the Baseline PFA. A lot of questions are common sense, but don't think that if you are really physically fit that you can just get E-2 like that. You must pass both.
- You walk inside, get in a line one on each side of the bulkheads (walls).
- You get to boot camp you will be given a phone call home to let somebody know you are safe. This is an extremely short phone call (about 30 seconds). Bring a couple of phone number for somebody you know will answer the phone. If you have a cell phone, bring it, it's a lot faster. Heck you can text, if you like. That way if your family or friends don't answer, you can still say something or just leave a voice mail. Having a cell phone usually allows you to talk longer (like 30 seconds).
- You will then go into "initial issue". Here they will issue your "Ditty Bag". A ditty bag is kind of like a duffle bag, it's just a cloth bag that holds all of your small stuff. They will issue the basic hygiene items and clothing, things that you need to survive.
- Your personal items will be inspected. Most items are not allowed in boot camp, except for important paper work (ie copies of SSN, Marriage certificate, Education records. etc).
- You will change into your Smurf's (New clothing). All of your civilian clothes will either donated, sent home, or thrown away. If you decide that you want to keep that old shirt and jeans, then these items will be sent home. You will place them in a cardboard box, which everyone calls "The Box", and everything is mailed home. In this box will also be items that you are not allowed to have in boot camp, like unneeded paper work, cell phone. etc. Everything that will be useless for the next 8 weeks. Remember, you pay for how heavy "The Box" is. Do you really want to keep that old shirt and jeans?
REMEMBER: Tell your parent or whomever about "the box" and the "15 second phone call", PRIOR to you leaving for boot camp. It totally freaks them out because they will get "the box" and with no note or letter. My recommendation is if you do plan on sending something home, don't forget to write a short note to your parents or loved one while you're on the plane. Slip it in your pocket so they have a short note that you're going to be okay and that you appreciate them. Believe me, "the box" is searched for such notes or at least clues as to the final minutes before you seal it up.
Remember also, if you take a Bible, you can write all your addresses in the back and skip bringing an address book.
Lastly, tell your parents if your pants legs are rolled up when they get the box, it's because you didn't have time to roll them down after getting measured for boots. My mom thought for sure that I had been in trouble for wearing baggy jeans. One final thing, make sure your boots fit. We've heard of Recruits suffering the entire time because they didn't want to speak up. Not good!
- You will then have to provide a urine sample for drug testing. If you can't provide a sample, you will stay there until you do. They will keep you awake by having you walk in circles and drink from the skuttlebutt (water fountains). There is no getting out of the urinalysis, you will stay there until you complete the urinalysis. So do it as soon as you can.
- Listen to the Chief's and Petty Officer's (know the difference between them).
- Walk in a military manner, do not talk! Walking in a military manner means you not goofing off, talking, or joking around. You are focused. Remember 1st impressions are lasting. If you want to be micro-managed in boot camp, this is a great opportunity to make yourself known by talking and goofing around.
- They take height and weight.
- They take your picture for your I.D. card, try to not look like a zombie, you keep this for 4 years.
- They will ask for those that have any experience (or interest) in drill, musical instruments, or singing. If you do, then you will put you in a special division called the "900 Division". The 900 division recruits will do everything the other recruits do, in addition, they also practice to put on shows at events such as parades, and recruit graduation ceremonies. I always recommend that you don't say you know anything because it doesn't give any more benefits, it actually makes your time in boot camp harder.
- They will also form a special division, called "800 division". All 800 divisions contain Navy SPECOPS which include SEAL's, Navy Divers, EOD & Special Boat Operators. They have different physical requirement in boot camp.
- For the others, they will randomly form a division with up to 87 other recruits.
You will be taken to a temporary in-processing barracks called a "ship" where you will meet your RDC's and start the inprocessing Days (P-Days). This ship is where you will sleep. In your compartment, which is a large open area which has
80 racks (beds) lined up. Choose your rack (bed) and 1st bunk-mate. The reason they call the barracks a "ship" is because every barracks at RTC is named for an actual ship. The processing barracks ship (aka ship) is called the USS Pearl Harbor.
- Grab ditty bag, with your notebook in hand and hang ditty bag on rack.
- Up at 0000 (Midnight) Grab notebook and walk out. This is the hardest time to stay awake.
- Once your RDC's receive the division they will start to get you ready for the day. First thing
you will do is shave (for males).
- After that you will receive a green guard belt with a canteen. You will be instructed on the proper wear of your guard belt and the importance of proper hydration. You will be required to drink 8 to 12 canteens of water a day.
- Keep hydrated and keep up your posture. Keep your hands away from face.
- Around 0500-0530 they will take you to the galley (where you eat) for breakfast. It's buffet style. NO TALKING IN THE GALLEY!!
- After breakfast you will get your haircut. Haircuts are for both male and females (It's a crappy job even for males), Females should get there haircut before they get to RTC.
- You will then go to Moment of Truth. This is where the Navy will ask you if you ever lied or not spoken the truth about joining up. Everyone gets nervous. Don't freak out. A lot of sailors that are not prepared have problems with this because they have lied all the way to this point. If you have to stand up at the moment of truth, then something is majorly wrong, all these problems should have been voiced prior to this. One thing for sure, at the moment of truth, if you stand up, you'll will be going home. DON'T STAND UP.
- Secondly, if anyone ask if you are homesick, or have you ever been depressed, or sad"? You say NO. We all know the true answer is yes, haven't we all been depressed or sad at one time in our lives? However, if you say yes, and you go see a counselor, you're coming home. You will be kicked out. Try and suck it up. If you truly need help talk to the Chaplin/CARE person, if needed. Try not to even do that, because you will be labeled. The Navy is all about seeing if you can handle stress. In a war zone they can't have someone that needs to see a counselor or Chaplin all the time. It's wasting their time. But let’s say there is a death, then by all means, see the Chaplin only!
Remember being a member on NavyDEP.com, you are one of the few that will know what is about to happen. We love "spilling the beans" here at NavyDEP, it makes life so much easier at boot camp.
- Nukes, EOD, Aircrew, etc are set aside. Nukes go to a Nuke briefing for further criminal record information as well as the CT's and IS's, etc. You may have To-Go lunch in rating office (11:00 - 12:00).
- After that it's back to the galley for lunch.
- Write down Chain-of-Command (it helps if you know it BEFORE!). Study it, learn it, and study the 11 general orders, rank and recognition.
- Go back to temporary ship and get ready to stamp Last Name, Last four of SSN, and Division number on items as well as initial with permanent marker in Recruit Handwriting!
- 17:00 - 18:00 Dinner, Return to ship, hygiene for 8 minutes but that's too long so more like 5 to shower and have pt shorts and shirt, socks and shoes on and at attention in front of rack. Get ready for bed.
- Sleep from 20:00 - 05:30 (which is lucky).
- This is an early morning. You wake up at 4 am.
- The first thing you will do is go to medical (USS Red Rover) to get your blood drawn. While you are there you will have a bag breakfast.
- Your first marching, but 3 abreast, no front or division body.
- You will then go to the Navy Exchange (NEX) to buy items (females will buy their lady items)
- Items bought in the NEX will be stored in locker compartments.
- More stamping and initialing of uniforms.
- You will go to lunch in the galley.
- After lunch you will get your TB shot. Remember, always hydrate (8 to 12 canteens).
- Then you will go to uniform issue. Here you will receive your NWU's (Navy Working Uniform).
- Dinner, clean the deck in compartment, training, hygiene, Tattoo (lights out) and Taps. You will most likely start Roving and Night watch.
- This is another early morning. You will go to breakfast at 06:00. Then go back to Red Rover. Here you will go through medical and dental screening. You will eat a bag lunch there. Then back to Red Rover for more vaccine shots and more dental screening.
- Finally, medical will clears you for Fit for Full Duty (FFD). This means you are medically cleared to train. This also means you can Intensive Training Exercises (ITE). You will get done with medical around 3pm.
- You will learn Marching again.
- You will then go to a brief for Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and to sign up for a bank account (if you don't have one).
- Then its dinner and training time.
- After dinner you will learned how to fold and stow your uniforms and gear
- Early morning again
- Today is the last day of in processing. You will have to go to a class about UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice).
- If you have a job that requires a special physical you will go to medical to start that. If you have a low verbal comprehension score on your ASVAB you will screen for F.A.S.T. This is a program to help you understand English, it is a very helpful program.
- Lunch can be between 10:30 - 13:00
- After lunch you will clean the barracks you’re staying in and get ready to move to your new ship (barracks). This is about a 2 mile walk with a sea bag on your back. When you get there you will get situated and eat dinner.
- The rest of the day is getting everything done before you start training.
- Lectures on various procedures, trainee guides, salutations, etc.
- Dinner can be between 17:00 - 19:00
- Laundry Handouts (passing out clean laundry) which is a night routine
- Tomorrow starts your actual boot camp.
- No holiday routine, No Shaving for Females
- Males must shave every morning
- Go to Chapel and get a religious brief, go to NEX for more supplies, or socks (Editors note: God knows you'll need more socks)
Week 1 was very boring. just like the last week. Only this time if we screwed up, we would be issued some intensive, or sometimes known as instructional, training (IT). IT consists of various exercises that are horrible for the human body. Though some are good like the sit-ups and push-ups, others are bad for the knees. WE always started off on that black line with my favorite (actually most hated) exercise, 4-count jumping jacks! An RDC's IT card would consist of:
Jumping Jacks (usually 40-50 reps)
Leg Lifts, Left Side (again, 40-50)
8-Count Body Builders (25-30)
4-Count Mountain Climbers (20-30)
4-Count Sit-ups (20-30)
Leg Lifts, Right Side (40-50)
Down. Up Push-ups (25 or so)
I changed my mind. Mountain Climbers and the very long down up push-ups are my least favorite 2. With this push-up they will not say up for a good 15 seconds and that gets very tiring.
Sometimes IT sessions also had Squats and Arm Circles thrown into the mix.
Moving on. the whole week was practice for the second week's test and inspections. We had bunk and locker drills every day. We had to fold and stow our gear perfectly and make our bunks with precision and care. all under a horrible time limit, but it wasn't that bad on the actual inspections.
The first test's study materials were for uniforms and grooming, rate and rank recognition, Navy ships and aircraft, and first aid. I was made the Educational Petty Officer (EPO) for the division, so I was in charge of making everyone pass and helping those that didn't study a little harder. At the end of the week was our Baseline Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA). It wasn't counted against us if we failed. They just basically wanted to know where we were at and if we could perform the tasks required for the regular Navy Physical Readiness Tests (PRT's). My age and gender group consisted of a minimum of 46 push-ups, 54 sit-ups and a 12:15 mile and a half run. I passed my run and sit-ups but failed my push-ups by 2. Two weeks without PTing hurt a bit and my rust showed. But I won't beat a dead horse. In a nutshell the first training week was folding clothes, making bunks, introduction to military drill (marching), a little PT, studying, cleaning, and that Baseline PFA.
- Get blood drawn for special jobs (Nuke, Aircrew, EOD, Divers. etc). More tubes of blood, more tests.
- Asked for allergies and if we are FFD (Fit For Duty).
- DEP advancement test is taken today. If you are E-1 or E-2 and want to advance, you need to pass the PQS at your recruiter station AND this test. The test is 30 questions, multiple choices, and you cannot get more than 5 wrong to pass. It tests naval history, Rank and Recognition, Chain-of-Command, 11 General orders, etc. STUDY.
- You will send a letter home with your address.
- You will go to recruit receipts. Here you will take care of the rest of your service record. You will do your DDS (Direct Deposit), SGLI (Life Insurance) and receive your military ID.
- Today you will also go to PT. This will be where you learn what exercises you will do during PT (Physical Training).
- Blood Pressure check
- Another urine test for special forces, Nukes, Aircrew, EOD, Divers, etc.
- Eye exam, measure for glasses
- Females will go to wellness center for birth control.
- You have a To-go Lunch