1. Your name (as you would like it to appear on the website): Jessie
2. Where did your soldier attend basic training? Fort Leonard Wood, MO
3. When did he attend basic training? January 6, 2010- March 11, 2010
4. How often did you hear from him? (Phone and letters) Letters almost every day once he was able to write.. done with initial processing. Phone calls ranged from 10-30 minutes every Sunday afternoon (starting the second Sunday). On Superbowl Sunday they had their phones almost all afternoon so we talked for a few hours!
5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time? The Saturday after he left he called and I missed it. He only had like a minute to talk anyway but I was very upset and cried awhile. So he just had to leave a voicemail.
6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address for him? The second Sunday he was gone he was allowed a phone call and gave me his mailing address then, so about a week and a half.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? Yes, no sweets, no risque pictures… In general I wouldn’t send something if I doubted he could have it. Things he asked for included vitamins, Aspirin, cough drops (it was dead winter), and postage stamps.
8. Were you sent information about family day and graduation? He sent me information about times and dates, but I never received a formal invitation for some reason, even though I am his wife. Closer to graduation he will know specifics.
9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe. Yes! It was held in Shea Gymnasium at 2:00pm the day before Graduation. They let all the family in to sit and then marched the soldiers in singing cadences. They went over the pass rules and then released the soldiers to find their family members. I signed him and two of his friends out and we went all over post, they couldn’t leave the post. We spent alot of time at the PX, there is a Starbucks, Commissary, lots of little places to spend time with your soldier. However, they are not allowed much PDA (besides a hug when they first see you) so don’t be mad at him if he doesn’t kiss you in public. We had to have him back at the barracks by 7:30pm, but don’t walk him all the way there or he’ll get into trouble.
10. Please describe the graduation ceremony. It was great! It was held at Baker Theatre at 11:00am. There is an intro, then the soldiers are marched in singing cadences again, after that we were able to see a slideshow of all their training (you might cry! lol) Each platoon was then called up on stage singing different cadences. One by one the soldiers yelled their name, rank, and where they were from. You are able to run up front and take a better picture if you are close enough to stage. It was very dark though so bring a high-quality camera. Then they take the oath again and are taken outside for another formation. I signed him out again and we were able to go off post until 7:30 pm! Then we had to say our goodbyes outside the barracks. I would suggest getting there early for good seats, at least by an hour.
11. Is there a website for his basic training unit? Is there a place to see pictures of his training online? I’m not sure, I was never given one.
12. Any other tips or information? Write to him daily! I know everyone says this but it means the world to him when he hears his name called at mail call. I wrote him a letter for every day he was gone (even before I had an address!) because I just couldn’t stand to get a sad letter from him saying he was passed over. Also send him pictures every week or so, just two or three, here and there. If you plan on attending graduation make sure to book your hotel as soon as you know the dates! They fill up really quickly.