Navy Boot Camp Graduation: Great Lakes

Preparing for Navy boot camp graduation can be very exciting, especially when you have accurate information regarding the schedule of activities, and thus know what to expect. To make sure you can effectively plan your trip and travel to graduation, we’ve put together a complete guide for what to expect at Navy boot camp graduation at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command (RTC).

Graduation Tickets

The first and most important thing you need to know about Navy boot camp graduations that all guests who plan to attend must be on the access list in order to pick up a graduation ticket. In the first few weeks of training, you will receive information in the mail from your recruit regarding Navy boot camp graduation. Make sure you write down ALL of the guests that will be attending graduation on the included form, and then send that information back to your recruit.

Keep in mind that each recruit is only allowed four tickets for graduation (and in some cases, may only receive three if the graduating class is larger than usual). You will not be able to purchase or receive any additional tickets. If you misplace the letter you received in the mail, you can fill out this graduation visitor request form and send it back to your recruit.

To get your tickets for graduation, you will need to pick them up in person at the Navy Exchange in the Recruit Family Welcome Center at:

2650 Green Bay Rd.
North Chicago, IL. 60088

The Recruit Family Welcome Center is open Thursday 10:00am to 7:30pm and Friday 5:30am to 8:30am. We recommend that you pick your tickets up prior to the morning of graduation; you won’t want to miss the ceremony because you’re stuck waiting in line!

Getting on Base

Great Lakes Navy Recruit Training Command is about 45 minutes outside of Chicago. The exact address of the base is:

11025 W Downey Rd,
North Chicago, IL 60064

On the morning of graduation, expect heavy delays as all of the families make their way through the gates to get on base. The gates will open to guests starting at 6:30am the morning of graduation, and the hall where graduation will be held will open at 7:00am. You will need to be in your seats for the graduation ceremony no later than 8:45am. We recommend arriving quite early to ensure that you get a seat for the ceremony.

To get on base, all guests will need to present a valid form of identification, including those who are 17 and younger. The following forms of identification are permitted for those 17 and under: school ID, driver’s permit, copy of their birth certificate, or social security card. You will not be permitted on base without a proper form of identification.

If you are driving on base, be prepared to have your car searched. Although this is not common, there is a possibility that it could happen. Remember this is an active military base; these measures are taken not only for your safety, but for the safety of others on base as well.

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Graduation Schedule

Time Event
6:30 AM RTC 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 Pass-In-Review commences
9:00 AM Divisions arrive
10:30 AM Pass-In-Review concludes

If you or others in your family are unable to attend graduation, you can watch Navy boot camp graduation live stream.

After Graduation

Your newly graduated Sailor’s next steps after graduation will depend on whether they are attending A-School at Great Lakes or in a different state. Your recruit will know where they are being sent, so it is best to discuss post-graduation plans with them. If you need this information, you can send them a Letter through the Sandboxx app and ask them about liberty after graduation and when they will be leaving Great Lakes.

You’ll want to make sure to stop at the Navy Exchange before leaving base to pick up all of the Navy souvenirs and memorabilia that your heart may desire so you can proudly represent your new Sailor. You’ll also be able to pick up a DVD of the graduation ceremony, as well as photos.

If you’re looking for assistance booking a hotel for graduation, visit Sandboxx Travel. Our team of military travel experts would be happy to help and walk you through the process!

Read over our Navy boot camp graduation packing list so you know exactly what you’ll need to bring for your trip.

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Author: Andrew at Sandboxx

I joined the Marine Corps in March 1997, serving as an enlisted helicopter crew-chief and ultimately becoming an accounting/communications officer. I was honorably discharged as a Major of Marines.

3 thoughts

  1. This is the first time I have seen what visitors go through. I was at Camp Dewey 29Nov68 through 24Jan69. (I think) Company 729, 27th Battalion. We were close to the Main Gate so got to watch the parade of families.

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