Navy OCS Graduation

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.

Adam showing me his cool new military issue glasses while picking up the rental

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.

The Bridge of Freedom- you have to cross the bridge to get in and out of Newport.

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.



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13 responses to “Navy OCS Graduation

  1. Jessica Curry

    I’m trying to place timing on Adam’s OCS class. He was there from November 21st to April 16th, with 2 weeks off for christmas? That looks like about 20 weeks. My boyfriend started with the May 9th class and rolled into H after 3 weeks into it. It seems to me like nearly everyone rolls. I’m wondering what his experience was like for you and how often you were able to hear from him? I’m doing my best to stay sane while he is gone. :-)

  2. maureengriswold

    Hi Jessica,

    Adam was at OCS from Nov. 21st to April 16th. Officer candidates are granted two weeks of leave for Christmas. Adam was rolled at the beginning of week three because he came down with pneumonia. Luckily it was right before Christmas break so he got to recover at home- I think it would have taken longer if he stayed in holding. He was in holding until mid-february (long time). Holding is a crappy place to be but it will give him an opportunity to study and get squared away. If he didn’t pass RLP he’ll have another shot to pass it the first time. :)

    I’ve gotten a few emails from people wanting to know what you’ve asked, I’ll write a post on it to fill you in on the what and when’s of OCS :) Thanks for the comments.

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful information. My son will be graduating from OCS Newport, RI., on November 12, 2010.
    Now I know where to stay and what to wear.
    Very, very, helpful.

  4. maureengriswold

    You’re welcome, Carol! It seems so long ago and it just happened in April for us. Congrats to your son! Life after OCS is pretty sweet.

  5. Adam

    I was wondering how long did your son wait for an OCS spot to open, from the submission of thier application packet? Thank you.

  6. jennifer

    Thank you for all this information . My family and I are going to RI in Aug. 2211. Your information was a great help. J.J.P.

  7. Tracey

    How many family members are allowed to attend OCS graduation?

    • maureengriswold

      I don’t think there is a cut off, but I can’t remember. We had five people come to graduation, I know some families had more.

  8. Anna Taylor

    My bf is currently at OCS. He graduates March 2 and I was wondering how much leave is granted after OCS?! He will stay in Newport for 6 months for supply school

    • maureengriswold

      I can’t really answer this. My husband is a SWO. What happened for most people was they were granted 2-4 weeks of working with a recruiter at home while they waited for the next cycle of SWO school to begin. My husband was lucky and got sent to another school 3 days after graduation so there was no leave for him (which sucked at the time, but only benefited him). Basically, it will depend on when the next cycle of Supply School starts. If it’s immediate, he’ll start immediately. If there’s a few weeks- they may send him home during that time.

  9. Lauren

    Hi, Great information. i was wondering how you found out the exact date for the graduation? I can’t find it anywhere. My bf entered his class on Jan. 22, 2012 so I want to plan my trip for graduation. Thanks.,

    • maureengriswold

      Hi Lauren,
      It’s impossible to know his graduation date as of right now. He could get sick, injured, etc. pushing his date back. My husband was in OCS for almost six months. He caught pneumonia and then had to wait for a spot in another class to open up.

      Good luck!

  10. Lauren

    ok thanks. good to know

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