What To Expect When Your Loved One Goes To Basic Training
Your loved one has made a big life decision to join the military and the first step is going to Fort Leonard Wood Basic Training. This transition is new and can be difficult for your loved one and the entire family. Being informed and knowing what to expect can help make the time away less stressful. Today we will go over what you can expect when your loved one goes to basic training and what you can expect when you attend Fort Leonard Wood Graduation.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As your loved one enlists in the military, they will get instructions on what to expect before they leave. However, it still may leave you wondering, what you can expect as a family member while your loved one is away at training.
- Communication- When your loved one goes off to basic training they are there to learn. Be prepared to go a while without hearing their voice. The best way to stay in contact is by writing letters. This will help your loved one stay focused and supported even if they can't call home often. Jot down anything from funny things that are happening throughout the day, they want to hear about normal life back home. Keep your phone nearby, so when they do get the chance to call, you won't miss it. Just keep it positive as this is a big transition for your solider and support back home will help them get through not being close to their family.
- Don't send packages while they are in basic training. Stick to letters and photos. Don't add anything else to the letters unless they specifically ask for it to be sent. They can only have certain items while away and you don't want them to get in trouble for receiving items that are not allowed to have.
- Mood Changes- Know this is a big adjustment for your loved one that has just moved away to do boot camp. If you notice they sound homesick when they call or seem upset, this is just because this is a big change in their life. Stay positive and give them support. Remind them this will be a quick transition and they will be proud of their accomplishment when they graduate.
- Visits- It seems like a long time when your loved one goes through basic training. However, they have very specific days that the family is allowed to visit. Some may get to leave the military post around holidays or after graduations. Just make sure you plan in advance and get all the information before making any plans.
PLAN AHEAD FOR GRADUATIONYour family member should have received information with all the details regarding their graduation. Details such as how to enter the base, times, location, etc. In addition to those items your graduate passed along we have a few tips to make sure you are ready for the big day.
- Find out how long your graduate has to visit with family. Many graduations will have a family day the day before graduation, so find out if your graduate has one as well. If so, plan to arrive a day earlier to spend as much time with them as possible. You will need to find out if your graduate will be able to leave base while you are in town. Each unit may be different, so find out in advance so you can plan accordingly.
- Book your stay early. There are many graduations happening on the same day, so book your stay early. We have lots of lodging options but if you are looking for a specific room type, lock it in early to ensure you get the exact room you want during your stay. Below, you will see more information regarding our family of hotels.
- Make plans to visit the local attractions. If your graduate is able to get away while you are in town, make sure you know all the great places to have fun. This area is packed with attractions, museums, outdoor activities, and restaurants. Make the most out of your time in town but do some research ahead of time to fit it all in.
- Plan out all details regarding entry into the military base. Plan to leave early due to many graduations happening at the same time. It is first come basis on seating for each graduation so arrive early to get the best seats. There may be a line to enter the base, so leave early to make sure you are not late. Be prepared and have all documentation ready before getting to the base. Below is a list of all documentation needed for entry.
DOCUMENTATION NEEDED TO ENTER MILITARY BASEVisitors are provided information by the sponsoring unit on access procedures for attending graduation. Here is what you can expect:
- Everyone entering will have their ID checked. Even those traveling in the same motor vehicle. This applies to anyone over the age of 18 years of age. If you do not have a valid ID card, you must undergo additional screening to gain access. This may take additional time, so be prepared and check with the base ahead of time.
- Have proper vehicle information. The person driving the vehicle into the base will be required to show proof of current vehicle insurance and current vehicle registration. Have your information available prior to arriving at the gate for quicker processing.
- Be prepared for random inspection of your vehicle or anyone in your vehicle. Military personnel has the right to do random inspections of any vehicle or person. Plan to arrive early in case this happens to you.
For more information on how to enter the base and what is considered proper identification, visit the military base's website.
All information regarding whether your soldier can leave the base after graduation will be given by their unit. Pass Policies vary by unit and depending upon the next destination of your soldier. Please see the unit for details on passes after graduation.
When you loved one goes to basic training it is an adjustment for the entire family. Make sure you have support during the transition, but most of all, make sure you are a support system for your loved one going through training. Educate yourself and ask questions if you don't understand. This is a huge accomplishment and one that you should be proud to go through with your family member.