My son John posted this on his Blog in October 2007 and it is good advice for anyone going into boot camp. I get so many questions from parents, wives, husbands, family and so on I thought I would re-post it here for you to read.
This is what my son had to say about Navy Boot Camp.
I finished Navy boot camp back on August 10th, it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, I think the hardest part was establishing teamwork in the division. There are so many different people from all over the U.S. and the world, not everyone is going to get along with each other. We had people yelling at each other and never getting along. We didn't really even start to come together as a team until about week 6.
One thing I really had a hard time getting use to was being bossed around and getting yelled at. I didn't take any of the yelling personally, because I know it is the job of the recruit division commanders to turn us from normal people into sailors, but still, being woken up each morning by yelling and having it continue throughout the day becomes stressful.
With that said I would like to give some good hints on how to deal with Navy boot camp. ( although some of these will apply to Army, Air Force, and Marines ).
1. Don't be sensitive
Don't take things that are said to you personally while in boot camp, even if it's by another recruit. All that does is cause you more stress. If a recruit division commander (RDC) yells at you for something just respond with "aye aye petty officer/chief" or "yes petty officer/chief". If another recruit yells at you just ignore them. If they are trying to correct you just listen to them and correct yourself.
Learn to work as part of a team. In order for a team to form everyone has to be able to have an active roll. Don't separate yourself from the others and don't let others become isolated from the group. If you see someone that isn't quite part of the team then have them help you with whatever the current task is. Another part of this is never leaving a shipmate behind. If someone is having a hard time with folding or running or push up, or anything else, then help them! I had this guy next to me at boot camp that really sucked at folding his shirts and pants. Every night I would help him with folding and make sure everything in his rack locker was organized correctly.
I believe the most common things people struggle with are swimming, running, folding, and making racks.
3. Never give up
If you give up you will never get anywhere. Just keep trying and seek help from your division (teamwork!). When you're doing the 20 minute run and you feel like you can't go anymore just keep trying. That only lasts for a little bit then you get more energy. Just slow your breathing down, and keep your current speed.
4. Take advantage of Holiday Routine (Sunday)
Every Sunday you get about 5 hours of free time. Take advantage of that. Take a break; write letters, go to church, get to know other people in your division. Letters were very important to me in boot camp. They are what kept me going. I made my dad write to me every day and I was able to respond every Sunday.
5. Attention to details
Pay attention to what you're doing. Do exactly what you're told, don't assume the RDCs mean for what they say to be interpreted a different way. This happened a lot in my division.
6. Sleep when allowed
When you're allowed to sleep actually take advantage of it, don't stay up talking to other people, you can talk at other times, use your sleeping time to regain your energy and rest. This will help A LOT.
7. Eat healthy
The galley's at boot camp offer a large variety of foods, make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. (The galley will have a salad bar in it too.) Balance you meals out make sure you have a little of everything. Here is what I did in boot camp.
1 - meat
1 - cup of milk (not before running or PT)
2 - fruits (usually a peach and a banana)
2 - vegetables (whatever they had as the main vegetables and a salad)
2 - grains Usually a roll and one of the things in the main line.
General knowledge to know before joining the navy
Before you join the navy, or before you go to boot camp, it is a good idea to know some information so you will have a bit of a head start. This information is covered in the delayed entry program, but most people (including me) never bother in learning the stuff until forced to in boot camp.
11 General Orders of a Sentry
You will be required to quote all of these at random times throughout boot camp. You are expected to know this after the processing days (p days)
1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
6. To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.
7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
9. To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
11. To be especially watchful at night, and, during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.
I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those among us who do.
I am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country's Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.