1. Your Name (as you would like it to appear) Jenn
2. Where did your soldier attend basic training? Fort Leonard Wood, MO
3. When did your soldier attend basic training (please include the year)? April 7-June 17, 2010 for BCT, AIT is also at FLW until Aug 6.
4. How often did you hear from him (phone and letters)? Quite often. He called almost every Sunday, the time gradually increasing from 10-20 minutes in Red Phase, to 30-40 in White, and close to an hour while in Blue. Also, I received a pack of letters weekly
5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time? The day he left. He called at midnight for 30 second to tell me he made it safely
6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address from him? About a week and a half, via phone call. The official letter came after he’d been gone 3 weeks already.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? I was told send him only letters and photos (no risqué photos!). Any food, candy, reading material other than a Bible would be confiscated.
8. When did you receive information about family day and graduation? About halfway through BCT.
9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe. It was the same day graduation. He had an off post past until 2100 hours.
10. Please describe the graduation ceremony. Almost 200 soldiers in less than an hour and a half! Each platoon went up with a different cadence, then the soldiers stepped forward one by one to state the name and hometown (my husband was the only one not from a US state/territory- he’s Canadian). They had awards, songs, and drill sergeant introductions. In the beginning was a video of different things they had experienced during their training. We sat near the front on the right side of the center section (all the soldiers were in the right section!), and got some pretty good photos! Then we followed them to the gym where we were able to sign out my husband and another soldier whose husband and daughter had not shown up.
11. Is there a website for his unit? Did you find a place online that has pictures from his basic training? They gave us a website in a letter to view pictures, but it never had pictures up…
12. Any other tips or information? Get to graduation early, but not too much. I had been told to get there by 7am, but I had heard it from so many people going, that we got there at 6:40. The roads we needed didn’t even open until 6:45, and they wouldn’t let us in Baker Theater until 8. A line formed around 7:30. Bring cash if you want to order the videos, or checks. They don’t take credit cards at the ceremony/reception site. If possible, know where you are taking your soldier during their pass beforehand. There’s not much out there in FLW, and most of the restaurants got crowded fast!
Of course, send lots of (encouraging!) letters during the course of training! My husband’s platoon had to do 10 pushups for each letter they received, and an extra 5 if there were any mistakes. He needed to work on his anyway, so some day’s I’d send a packet (if he had requested items), a letter, and a card, all separately! His family and friends were also writing, so one day, according to his DS, he had to do 100+ pushups! He was known for only doing them correctly during mail call!!!
Take your phone everywhere! He told me Sundays were the day to call, so whenever I was with anyone on Sundays, I’d tell them- If I run out excitedly for a phone call, it’s my husband’s only chance to talk this week! I missed a call once, but by a minute or two, and was able to call him back since he had called from his cell phone, not a pay phone.
For AIT- when they can have their electronics back to use in their daily free time- remind them to ALWAYS lock them up, even if only gone a couple minutes!!! My husband’s “Truck” has had several incidences of theft occurring, usually during formation. They suspect another truck, but the 1st Sergeant won’t do anything about it, since they weren’t locked up.