Before Your Husband Leaves For Navy Boot Camp Tips

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My husband Jonathan is leaving for Navy Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois in just 2 days. We’re on the scary, ominous, less-than-a-weekend part of the countdown and it’s crunch time for wrapping up any unfinished business before he goes. So I thought I’d share our little “before he leaves” checklist for any fellow soon-to-be Navy wives out there.

Now, my personal disclaimer is that we are brand new at this whole Navy life / leaving for boot camp thing. But with my husband being in the Delayed Entry Program for well over half a year now, I’ve had plenty of time to pick the brains of fellow Navy wives, recruits and recruiters on their personal experiences and advice in prepping for boot camp. So here is our personal “the week before” plan.

When it comes to helping your husband actually pack for boot camp, there’s not much to it. As far as gifts go, you can’t really give your husband much since he won’t be able to take anything with him.

Recruits are only allowed to bring (checklist from the Navy Recruit START Guide) –

Cash (Maximum of $50)

Prepaid Calling Card

Credit Card

Completed Direct Deposit Bank Form

Photo ID

Social Security Card

Prescription Drugs and Eye Glasses

Small Bible

Anything else is shipped back at the recruits expense. This includes his cell phone (which Jonathan will be sure to have so we can share last minute texts / sexts and calls before he’s shut off from the world), his jewelry and the clothes on his back. So, regarding the things you can prep for:

SMALL BIBLE WITH FAMILY PHOTOS – The only gift / personal item loophole that I could find is the small personal Bible. After asking around I discovered that any scribbles, notes, small bookmarks or page inserts into your Bible that hold religious significance to you cannot be disturbed or banned by Navy personnel. And keeping your family members faces in your Bible to aid in prayer time and devotions qualifies as “religious significance”.

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So we got some wallet sized images from our maternity shoot and Tessa’s 18 week 3D ultrasound and taped them onto the inside covers of his Bible (the mini one he received along with his START Guide after being sworn in at MEPS). That way he has our images there with him right away instead of having to wait for the first mail – which can take weeks from what we hear.

BANK ACCOUNTS AND BILLS – It’s important to get a joint bank account set up at Navy Federal so you have access to his direct deposits, along with thorough information on all bills that must be paid while he is gone. Also, arrange to have his cell phone account suspended, if you can. Most cell phone companies let members of the military suspend their phone service without payment while they are in boot camp or deployed. A couple of days before he leaves, make sure his direct deposit form is fully filled out so you don’t have to work on it last minute. He WILL need it filled out prior to boot camp.

PREPAID PHONE CARDS – When it comes to buying the prepaid phone card, make sure it is activated and that your hubby knows how to use it. You don’t want him wasting time figuring out the phone card when he has less than 5 minutes with the phone. Also, make sure he has all important phone numbers memorized and drilled into his memory. We hear boot camp makes people go full retard, so if the numbers aren’t drilled into his memory, write them into the cover of his personal Bible!)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND PASSWORDS – Have your husband leave all pertinent information that you may need to know when you can’t get in contact with him in the coming months – for instance, his social security number, contact info for his recruiters if you have any questions, etc. etc. Among the info I had Jonathan leave me was the info to our storage unit, passwords to various accounts (Crunchyroll, eBay, PayPal, etc.) and instructions on how to make coffee. (He is, after all, my personal coffee slave. I am one of those people who can LOOK at a coffee maker and it’ll break.)

LOVE NOTES AND SURPRISES – Boot camp is just as hard on the family being left behind as it is on the one going in to it. So don’t let your Navy man forget to prepare sweet gestures for the doting spouse he’s leaving behind. Jonathan is writing me short little love notes on flash cards with sweet nothings and inside jokes, and dating them so that I can “hear from him” once a day for the first month, even when he is far away and our mail exchange hasn’t begun yet.

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WEDDING RINGS AND JEWELRY – Now, I have heard some conflicting reports on whether recruits are allowed to bring their wedding rings or not. I believe that they can have them in boot camp but are not encouraged to wear them and to just leave them in the lockers. So with that in mind, and in the off chance that the rings get lost / broken / stolen / become cumbersome while in boot camp, we have decided to do what countless other couples do – put his rings on a chain for me to wear while he is gone. I’ll be wearing his wedding ring and his Lord of the Rings Aragorn ring. (I know, he’s my nerd boy and I love him so hard.)

PREPARE YOUR ATTITUDE BEFOREHAND – The trick is to focus on the time apart as a growing experience, and an adventure, for both of you. The biggest part of keeping up a positive attitude is consciously CHOOSING beforehand to maintain a positive attitude. Keep busy and find ways that you can better yourself. Learn something new. Develop new skills. Surround yourself with positive people who support you and love you. Put yourself through a domestic boot camp so that your husband is greeted by a super-wife, just as you are being greeted by one of the newest American heroes come graduation day.

I know that this is going to be a difficult transition for us, but we are each determined to be strong and positive. It’s an honor to serve our country (yes, supporting roles like spouses ARE making sacrifices and serving alongside their husbands, too!) and we know that the benefits that go along with service in the Navy outweigh the sacrifices. Not only are we bettering ourselves, but we are giving Tessa a solid start in life with a roof over her head, food on the plate, full medical coverage and a daddy that is an American hero in the greatest naval force in the world. And that is more than worth it. It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure. ^_^

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Gingi Freeman
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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

12 thoughts on “Before Your Husband Leaves For Navy Boot Camp Tips

  • 1 June, 2013 at 8:12 pm
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    I like Your Post, I did want to add that you Might want to memorize Jon’s SSN because in the Navy Everything is connect to his Social, Deers and Pretty much everything! And when your making decisions without him it’s a Must! To have his Social memorized. Also, About being a Navy Wife. It is the Most Unappreciated Job EVER! People always say to the Active Duty Military Thanks for Your Service, But they Never say, and Thanks to your Wife for all she has done to Support you!! You will understand exactly what I mean someday soon 🙂

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    • 1 June, 2013 at 11:59 pm
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      Yup, I have that listed under Important Information and Passwords… I keep hearing that from A LOT of friends and Navy peeps… I have it all written down in my phone, but I plan on memorizing it! ^_^ And while I haven’t really been in the shoes of a Navy wife beyond the PREP to becoming one, I thoroughly believe the family is serving in their own way too!

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  • 1 June, 2013 at 8:44 pm
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    Recruits at RTC Great Lakes are permitted to receive and keep photographs, in fact most recruits will have a stack of photos by the time they graduate, so send lots of photos of you and the baby, remember tho they will be screened by his RDC for nudity. Also of note, recruits being processed into boot camp will be allowed to have a “personal sock” (not that kind of personal sock) that they can put personal items into so he can take a small phone book or note book so long as it fits in the sock.

    Navy reg 2201.6
    “While in uniform, only one ring per hand is authorized, plus a wedding/engagement ring set.” yes there will be a test on this. I would not take any rings they are prone to be damaged or lost.

    Print out his facebook wall and mail it to him because checking facebook at boot camp is rather difficult (but not impossible, i have seen it done).

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    • 2 June, 2013 at 12:00 am
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      Thanks for the info!! I was worried about sending pictures to Jon, I was waiting to hear from him on if I could send him anything, but knowing now, I’ll be sure to get lots of images ready to send to him! Thanks!!

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  • 17 January, 2014 at 7:18 pm
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    Your information is what i needed and been wanting to hear my husband leaves for boot camp in less than 40 days and I am a mess and thinking so much i rarely sleep at night!!!

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    • 17 January, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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      I’ve been there girl! If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to chat with, drop me a line! Anytime!

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  • 19 February, 2014 at 3:40 am
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    I stumbled upon this when I was Googling weather my husband would be allowed to wear his wedding band at boot camp. I have to admit, after floating through a few other posts I’m probably going to make yours the first blog I actually keep up with. Just married my husband last month and he leaves in 110 days for boot camp, he’s going to be a Navy corpsman and frankly, we’re both MASSIVE nerds (heavy on comics, gaming, and movies at least as much as we can afford) so another nerdly Navy couple just sounds wonderful to me! Your posts leading up to and during the boot camp process from the wife’s point of view is no doubt going to help me immensely and the crafting, recipes, and geeky additions are something to make a wonderful distraction!! Thanks for this!!!!!!!!!

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    • 20 February, 2014 at 5:00 pm
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      Hey girl!! Welcome to the Navy family! My life has been turned UPSIDE DOWN!! There really is just too much to type, haha. If you need support, shoulder to cry on, or just to talk about, I dunno.. cats? Hit me up. My e-mail is gingifreeman@gmail.com. You know what, just hit me up anyway! Who knows? We may end up stationed together! 😉

      Reply
  • 6 March, 2015 at 3:37 pm
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    I’m so glad I came across your post. I’ve only been married to my husband a little over a month now (we got a blessing to get married before he went into bootcamp.) He leaves for bootcamp in 10 days and I’m extremely nervous about him leaving. I now know what I should do before he leaves which is great because I had no idea what he could or couldn’t take with him. It’s good to meet some other nerdy couple as we are also into videogames, anime, cosplay etc. It’s going to be tough without him because he will be doing a C school after his A school so I probably wont be seeing him until next year.

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    • 8 June, 2015 at 9:39 pm
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      I am in the same boat, except my husband leaves in November!

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  • 8 June, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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    Thank goodness for your post! My husband leaves for boot in November and I’m already dreading it. He also will be going to C school after A school so I am trying to prepare myself for at least a 9 month absence!

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  • 5 October, 2016 at 6:22 pm
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    Thanks for your post! Hubby leaves in 68 days and this helps a lot! I have so many questions! I don’t even know where to begin!

    Reply

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