1. Your Name (as you would like it to appear): Jamie H
2. Where did your soldier attend basic training? Fort Benning, GA.
3. When did your soldier attend basic training (please include the year)? May – July 2010
4. How often did you hear from him (phone and letters)? I received 3 phone calls, two being about a minute long, the third being fifteen minutes. I received letters daily.
5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time? I heard from him a lot during the week of reception, they didnt limit use of cellphones at night. He got a phone call a week into basic to give his address and I didnt hear from him via phone for around 4 weeks afterwords. I received letters about 3 days into his reception.
6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address from him? About a week after leaving reception and going to Sand Hill.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? Yes, pretty much everything other then letters, cards and pictures unless specified from DB that he could have something.
8. When did you receive information about family day and graduation? His graduation letter never came in the mail. However, they had a web page for his company, as well as a facebook page, so I was able to use those as reference.
9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe. His family day was prior to graduation. We were to be at Sand Hill at his barracks for 9am and they marched out and did a short ceremony (recognizing drill instructors, soldiers, soldiers that were becoming citizens, etc). It lasted 30 minutes and we were able to go on our way and leave post as long as he was returned by 845pm the same night to the same location.
10. Please describe the graduation ceremony. Graduation was beautiful. It was held at the National Infantry Museum that is located before the main post entrance to Fort Benning. It also took place at 9am and lasted about an hour. Prior to them walking onto the field and introducing them as graduates, there was a band, demonstration (including smoke and gunfire) and showing of previous Army uniforms. They were again allowed to leave until 845pm and had to return to their barracks for out processing the next day.
11. Is there a website for his unit? Did you find a place online that has pictures from his basic training? There was a website (with weekly updates on the progress), flickr page, as well as a dedicated discussion group on the official Fort Benning page for his company.
12. Any other tips or information? Georgia is HOT, be prepared. Many people flew into Atlanta and rented cars and drove the hour and a half to Columbus. Avoid the area outside the main gate, it can be very sketchy. We stayed at Uchee Creek Campground and Marina. Extremely cheap. Get your visitors pass (for your car) the day before if you are able to, then figure your way to Sand Hill so you’ll have less of a hassle the day of the event. Sunday dress for Graduation and more casual, yet appropriate dress for family day.