1. Your Name (as you would like it to appear)
2. Where did your soldier attend basic training?
Forth Jackson, South Carolina
3. When did your soldier attend basic training (please include the year)?
4. How often did you hear from him (phone and letters)?
The entire 10 weeks I received four phone calls totaling about 25 minutes. The first to let me know he landed at the airport, the second one was not until 7 weeks in, the third was 9 weeks in, and the final call was a couple days before graduation.
5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time? I did not hear from him for over two weeks. I ended up calling Fort Jackson myself to find out his battalion and company. They do not have platoon info, but that is not necessary in the beginning to send him mail. I sent letters out as soon as I received this and he got them roughly 10 days later.
6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address from him? Over two weeks.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? Oh yes. I stuck to the basics: I send him stamps, icy hot, dandruff shampoo, nonscented deodorant, and original cough drops. Do you know how hard it is to find those? Haha, pretty much anything scented, flavored or fun is off limits. I also sent him a picture from our wedding day and there happened to be a glass of wine in the photo on a table: this is a no no. He was not allowed to keep it. No drugs, alcohol or nudity.
8. When did you receive information about family day and graduation? About a week after.
9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe.
Yes, it was held at 9am. We sat through a quick speech and then the soldiers marched on to the field. You sit in the company section and then must find them while they are still in formation. You must stay on post, but are allowed to spend the day with your soldier until 8pm. There is a waterpark, pub, bowling alley, and movie theater all on post.
10. Please describe the graduation ceremony.
We left immediately after graduation ( held on thursdays) to drive him to AIT. Get there early, and sit in their company section. It’s hot there, reaaaaaaal hot.
11. Is there a website for his unit? Did you find a place online that has pictures from his basic training?
Yes, the Facebook page was GREAT.
12. Any other tips or information?
Do not get discouraged if you do not hear from them. They are VERY busy, and have little personal time. Write every day, they will thank you endlessly. Remember to take it one day at a time, and keep yourself busy. I also tried very hard to get a hotel on post for family day and graduation, but they fill up SO fast and you can only book them 10 days in advance, so I had to book off post. Transport them to AIT yourself if at all possible. Any location east of the Mississippi is allowed. Sometimes their AIT unit will give them a weekend pass for you to spend with them if you transport them before they begin their training on the Monday following graduation. As soon as you find out your soldier’s unit you can find their graduation date on the Fort Jackson website. This helps make travel arrangements. Make sure they bring their cell phone. My husband did not, and whenever they got phone calls he borrowed someone else’s. The phones are locked up at all times except when they are allowed by the DS to make a call. Every company is different, so make sure they have your number memorized and a phone card, just in case they are told to use the payphones. Just try to stay as positive as possible and the 10 weeks will fly by. AIT is much better as far as communication goes, so know you are getting the worst part over with! Good luck.