Navy boot camp graduation is a ceremony to celebrate your completion of boot camp and is the gateway to becoming a full-fledged U.S. Navy Sailor.
A couple of weeks after you arrive at boot camp, you will send a letter home which contains important information about attending the graduation ceremony. Tell your family to follow the instructions received in the letter and fill out/return the security forms to you so their names are placed on the access list. The security form received must be returned within seven days of the postmark.
All guests, including Active Duty/Retired Military Personnel and those ages 3 and older, must be on the access list. The maximum number allowed is four per recruit. However, there will be times when the number is reduced to three due to a high number of recruits graduating. Children under 3 do not need to be on the access list. Write to your family and friends to figure out who will be attending. Only you may place names on the list. Recruit Training Command (RTC) staff can neither change these names nor release the names of those on the list. Only you may submit or change names, and no changes are permitted once the access list has been submitted to RTC Security the week prior to graduation.
All guests 18 and over must present an original and valid, government-issued photo ID to RTC security to enter the base (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.). Guests 17 years or younger who do not possess one the items listed above must present one of the following: school ID, driver’s permit, copy of their birth certificate, or social security card. On the security form your guests received from you, the state ID number may be substituted with their social security number.
The recruit graduation ceremony is a ticketed event. Tickets will be issued at the Recruit Family Welcome Center the week of your recruit’s graduation. Tickets are free of charge. The Recruit Family Welcome Center is open Thursday 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM and Friday 5:30 AM to 8:30 AM, and is located at the Navy Exchange at Burkey Mall, North Chicago, IL. It is HIGHLY recommended your guests who are attending the ceremony not wait until the morning of graduation to obtain tickets.
Graduation Day Schedule
6:30 am: Recruit Training Command gate opens to guests.
7:00 am: Ceremonial drill hall doors open to guests.
8:45 am: All guests must be seated. Ceremonial drill hall doors close, no further entry for guests.
9:00 am: Ceremony begins.
9:20 am: Divisions arrive.
10:30 am: Ceremony concludes.
Note: Tell your family to plan on arriving at least 1 hour before the ceremony.
The ceremony starts promptly at 9 a.m. Your family and friends will already be seated in the drill hall while you march in with about 800 other recruits to a sea of applause and praise. Your division will also be performing drill movements while marching in. This is your opportunity to impress your family and friends with what you have practiced during your 8 weeks of training.
After all the divisions have marched in, the RDCs (Recruit Division Commander) and RPOC (Recruit Chief Petty Officer) for each division will be announced. The recruit band divisions, also called 900 divisions, will then perform rifle handling movements and sing a song. Next, the recruit honor graduates will be recognized and given awards. Finally, after the Commanding Officer says his/her speech, your family and friends are allowed to come and greet you.
After graduation you will be able to leave Navy boot camp and spend some time with your family and friends on “liberty” but return that evening. Liberty is time off from work. You will be granted daytime liberty after graduation to spend time off-base with their families and friends. Graduating Sailors are expected to act responsibly and maintain military bearing while interacting in a civilian environment.
Rules on Liberty
- Graduating Sailors will receive an in-depth liberty policy briefing prior to their graduation day.
- Graduating Sailors are prohibited from using tobacco products or consuming alcoholic beverages at any time while on liberty, regardless of age.
- Graduating Sailors are prohibited from operating any motorized vehicles.
- Graduating Sailors must remain in their complete uniform while on liberty. If they are engaging in physical activity or swimming, they must wear the authorized Navy issued workout gear.
- Food, tobacco products, video cameras, or any other portable electronic devices (cell phones) shall not be brought back to RTC.
- Graduating Sailors must stay within a 50-mile radius of RTC.
Sailors reporting to A School at Training Support Center, Great Lakes (The A School that is in the same city as boot camp) generally detach from RTC on Friday. Sailors who will attend A School outside of Great Lakes will depart on Saturday.
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