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 could 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 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, so about a week and a half.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? Yes, no sweets, no risque pictures… I wouldn’t send something if I doubted he could have it. He asked for vitamins, Aspirin, cough drops (it was dead winter), and postage stamps.
8. Were you sent information about the 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 2:00 pm the day before Graduation. They let all the family in to sit and then marched the soldiers in singing cadences. They reviewed the pass rules and released the soldiers to find their family members.
I signed him and two of his friends out, and we went all over the post; they couldn’t leave the post. We spent a lot of time at the PX; there is a Starbucks, a Commissary, and 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 7:30 pm, 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 11:00 am. There is an intro; the soldiers are marching in singing cadences again. After that, we could see a slideshow of all their training (you might cry! lol).
Each platoon was then called up on stage singing different cadences. The soldiers yelled their names, rank, and where they were from. You can run up front and take a better picture if you are close enough to the 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 could 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 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, book your hotel as soon as you know the dates! They fill up really quickly.