This post is a few weeks over due… I had a lot of trouble finding information on Navy OCS graduation- mainly the what’s and when’s. Here is our experience:
Adam graduated on April 16th, 2010. Leading up to graduation there are several festivities:
– PIR (Pass in Review)
– Hi Mom’s
Most people arrive to Newport on the Wednesday before graduation as Wednesday evening the officer candidates are sometimes granted a few hours of liberty to spend with their families. I was bummed when I found this out since I booked my flight to arrive on Thursday afternoon. It worked in our favor though, Adam’s class was not granted liberty.
Thursday after noon I landed at Providence air port at 2:30. I had about an hour wait until Adam arrived. At some point the day before graduation (Thursday), usually in the afternoon, there is something called Pass in Review. Pass in Review is where the graduating class hands over control to the class before them. They also show off their newly acquired drill skillz. It’s a pretty quick ceremony, most of the time under and hour. I missed PIR.. my husband tends to live in a bubble under a rock and is the last to know everything.
Around 3:30 Adam and his parents arrived at the airport. It was pretty exciting to see him for the first time in his dress blues looking very handsome and fancy. Unfortunately, we were pretty rushed at this point. The Hi Mom’s was at 5:30 and the drive from Providence airport to Newport is 20-30 minutes.. Once we picked up our rental (a leathered up version of our Ford Focus) we headed to the hotel.
I packed the GPS but still managed to get lost a few times on our way to Newport. It wasn’t necessarily the GPS- we hadn’t seen each other in four months. It was a rush.
Prior to my visit a lot of people talked about the best place to book a hotel in Newport and many stayed at the Navy lodge or Best Western. By the time I got around to choosing a hotel all those options were booked solid. I did a little internet work and found the Econo Lodge. The Econo lodge was a half mile further from base than the Best Western- but was clean and had the great rates (39.99/night). I highly recommend staying here, we were the only people in the hotel.
After checking into our room we changed for the Hi Mom’s. Adam ended up calling a friend who was also still at his hotel- we decided if he was taking his time getting to the Hi Mom’s we should too. The Hi Mom’s is sort of a meet and greet at the officers club. It usually begins at 5:30 and ends at 8:30- it gives family members an opportunity to meet the DI’s and OCS administration. The event is planned by the OC’s and is appetizers or a sit down dinner. Our OC’s planned appetizers and a cash bar to keep costs down. We ended up missing both.
Planning my ensemble for the Hi Mom’s was a bit perplexing. There’s very little information about this online and very few photos of the event. My suggestion: dinner party attire. I.E. a little black dress (or some equivalent) for women and a dark suit and tie for men.
I was really excited to see the Officer’s club. My father was a Marine Sargent and always talked about how wonderful they were back in the day. On the outside it was nothing special, just a brick building with the word’s “Officers’ Club”
On the inside.. it was quite amazing. White marble everywhere, chandeliers, fancy fancy:
The above photos don’t do it justice. At 6:30 we arrived- Adam hung up his hat:
and we entered the main room looking for Adam’s family who had arrived earlier. Half way through the room I heard “We’ve got to go..” and watched Adam bolt out of the room. I quickly followed him inquiring what was wrong.. the look on his face had disaster written all over it. In typical Adam fashion he forgot to pin anchors on his uniform which is a big no-no. We had to drive to his hatch located a few blocks away where he found his anchors. We officially entered the Hi mom’s again around 7:30. By this point appetizers had been passed and people were moving on to dessert. My father in law ordered us drinks and Adam introduced everyone to his DI’s.
We both agreed this was the perfect time for us to arrive.. we missed a lot of boring stuff and by the time we got there everyone was pretty loose. We left the event around 8:30 and had dinner at Applebees (Adam’s choice! An odd choice- he hates chain restaurants). After dinner we returned to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Usually before graduation there is a 1.5 mile victory run that begins at 5 a.m. Adam’s victory run was canceled due to the weather meaning he got to sleep in until 6:30 Friday morning. I met his parents in the lobby of hotel around 7:30 and we headed over to base for graduation. People always ask what to wear to graduation. You see everything from suits and dresses to jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t attend church, but “church attire” is what I would deem appropriate. I wore a gauzy white dress, gray sweater, and some black leggings because it was cold and wet that day. Graduation started at 8:30 and went until 10. It was short and sweet- exactly how I like it. After graduation Adam had to check out of his hatch and report to SWOS. He got back to the hotel around noon and that was the end of graduation festivities. Overall, it was a great experience and I’m glad we decided I should attend. At first, I wasn’t thrilled about paying for airfare- but OCS is definitely an experience. Plus, when Adam got his papers he was the only person not placed in OHARP for two weeks- instead he would be attending a follow on school before SWOS. The three days we spent together were short, but amazing.