I-Day- who can attend?


Dec 25, 2016
Hi all- DS is part of Class of 2021 and we are excited to get planning. Grandparents are excited too. My question to those who know, is there a restriction on who can attend I-Day activities? We'd like to invite and host grandparents on both sides of the family. I've reviewed the PTR package from last year and I don't see any specifics on who can and cannot attend nor how many entrances/passes might be issued.

For sure, just parents for Parents Weekend in August.

But, if anybody can shed light on I-Day, it would be most helpful. Thank you.

Father of my Hero, appointee from CA-48
Entourages can and do attend.

Read up on all the I-Day threads. It's usually a long day in heat and humidity.

DS or DD disappears into Alumni Hall in the AM. Families (multiply ~ 1100 Plebes x average 2-3 family) wander the Yard and DTA, shopping Mid Store, doing various things, until jamming into the crowd to catch a glimpse of plebe taking oath (if lucky). After that, there is about 15 minutes of family farewell time.

Factor in what DD or DS might want or need in that 15 minutes.

I believe you get a letter that allows you to drive into the Yard for drop-off purposes. Then, you go to the Stadium and park, taking shuttles back to the Yard. Or, try to get into a DTA garage and walk in. Or, stay in a DTA hotel with a shuttle (browse threads). A govt ID such as driver's license is needed for all. If you have an ID such as DOD that allows you to drive and park in base, that is allowed.

There will be a schedule closer to I-Day.

It's not a dress-up day. Comfortable shoes for brick walks, hats, water, sunscreen.

Take something for Plebe in white uniform to sit on during your 15 minutes. Some bring a sandwich or power bar. Plebe may have been too tense to eat breakfast hours ago, ditto whatever lunch he or she got.

If you attend a Parent's Club event back home prior to I-Day, there will be first-hand accounts of experience and advice. You will get same here.
If you park at the stadium - you and your party will be screened and the bus (and I emphasize 'the' bus) will drive Plebe and whoever else wants to come along to the building where in-processing begins. Last summer - there were very few buses running in the morning and it was pretty jammed up at the stadium. And it was the same getting back once the ceremonies ended. (I walked back to the stadium to get the car and drove back to pick up my wife)

If driving on The Yard was an option, I would venture that the line was long (don't recall it being an option)

I would strongly suggest you speak to your Plebe 2B about how big they want the entourage to be in the final days. Their life is going to change quite a bit once I Day occurs and may want down time or alone time with Mom and Dad time leading up to it.

The larger your contingent, the more complex the logistics - it is difficult enough to get seated at a restaurant without needing seats for a party of 10+

Once your Plebe walks into the processing center, you will not speak to them again until after the swearing in ceremony. You might catch a glimpse of them throughout the day. You can take tours and there is a big luncheon you and your party can attend (it is not free). The Superintendent will speak and tell you how this is the smartest, most athletic, most diversified group of Plebes ever assembled (same speech every year)

My DD was grateful that only her parents came which made the days leading up to it more relaxed and allowed for her to have the down time she wanted. Other families are different.

Overall - it is a very hectic day, so if you are taking a large group just understand it will likely be miserably hot and humid. There will be a lot of walking involved and downtown Annapolis will be crowded. Can everyone keep up with being on their feet all day?

I don't think it was too many years ago that much of the class showed up for I Day alone, but it is now considered much more of an event.

And ditto to Captain MJ - bring your Plebe something to eat/drink that won't ruin a white uniform. We purchased a folding chair at the Mid Store on I Day and our DD thought sitting down was the most wonderful experience after a long day of being disoriented. She would not have wanted to have spent those minutes answering questions from her grandparents, siblings etc - but her approach to life is hers and I simply encourage you to consider who your Plebe is and what they want.
I think I-Day is all about the kid--and recommend keeping the entourage small so that your child can have his or her game face on. This is less of a party, less of a chance to visit Annapolis, and more of preparing for the championship match. Your child may become withdrawn during the weeks prior to drop off and may be stone silent on I-Day and unable to eat--and may not have been able to sleep at all the night prior. It is stressful enough for them without having to be super polite and conversant to extended family in the crowds and the heat. Save the big entourage for Parents Weekend at the end of the summer--where you plebe is more accomplished and has plenty of stories to tell--and will want to eat and sleep. Otherwise, have older relatives arrive later in the day for the swearing in--rather than for the drop off. Again, it is not about the family, it is about your child stepping up and doing something incredibly taxing and frightening. There should be no emotional sabotage and everything should focus on, "We love you. They picked you. You've got this." I would keep it small.
Every time I read threads like this, I realize how much times have changed. My parents dropped me off at the airport and I flew to NAPS alone. Same with USNA a year later. I don't remember a break between Induction and entering the Hall, and thats when the SHTF.

I agree 100% with Dr Mom... do what your DS/DD wants, not what Parents or Grandparents want. This is the beginning of their journey, and I guarantee that no matter how stoic they may be, everyone of them is going to be nervous. Keep the group small and supportive.
I have been through I Day as a new Plebe, Detailer and Officer. I also have worked I Day about a half dozen times over the last 10 -12 years. It actually hasn't changed much at all since it moved to Alumni Hall decades ago. Heck the stations haven't changed even since I went through it over 2 decades ago. Parental involvement is the part that has changed (not picking a fight or saying its wrong). I agree to read your child. As confident as most are, they can become very quiet leading up to I Day. Some will not want the huge graduation party or send off. It adds pressure to the situation. Trust me as much as every kid is excited right now and knows they have it, every one of us questioned ourselves as some point. DrMom nailed it... every person picked can make it. All of us old timers did, so can you. For the newly appointed remember that when doubt creeps in or you have a bad day.

It can be a very hot and humid day, especially if aren't used to humidity. If grandparents have mobility issues, it can make the day even harder. I would even suggest if they want to come and it will be a chore for them, you leave them for the initial drop off and then go back to get them for the swearing in ceremony. USNA is not easy to get around and when you throw in heat and humidity it is even worse. Wear comfortable clothes, drink water, bring a hat, sunscreen, patience and full cell phone battery. Take some escapes during the day for some A/C in Dahlgren (upstairs is quieter and away from crowds), the museum, the chapel. Heck go out in town, have a drink, celebrate raising a great kid and eat some crab cakes. Some kids fly through the day with no issues and others will have total deer in the headlights shock. Be prepared for it all and everything in between. Agree on the emotions... as tough as it will be emotionally that day, adding extreme emotion to the mix just makes it harder. Remember you have 4 years at USNA, it doesn't all have to be done that day.

I went to USNA by myself. I had my sponsor family ahead of time (not normal) and stayed with them and my new sponsor brother. My mom is an emotional mess. I didn't need that added to the mix. Heck I didn't let her go to the airport. Honestly I got in line and they had room for females to get fitted, so I was grabbed and sent straight through. I was literally in line for 3 minutes, so it was really quick. My sponsors took pics of me in my white works and then called my parents when they got home to tell them I was okay and my new Post Office Box number and address.
Thanks for all the advice. I have a high school classmate who lives in town so we are hoping she and her family can be DS's sponsor family. I'm a child of Agent Orange with health issues so we have decided early on that wishing the kid well is best done at home, there will be enough worry and change in his life in those days to come!
Thanks for all the advice. I have a high school classmate who lives in town so we are hoping she and her family can be DS's sponsor family. I'm a child of Agent Orange with health issues so we have decided early on that wishing the kid well is best done at home, there will be enough worry and change in his life in those days to come!

If you want to make sure the Sponsor match happens, if your friend is not already an approved sponsor, ensure they fill out the application and attend the training. They can then request your DS by name online.

The second half is your DS, when he fills out PTR sponsor section, puts sponsor name in. That is key. If plebe does not request by name, match will not be made. If PTR packet is already done, I think a call to Rose or her staff in sponsor office could update the request by phone.


Your plebe won't be able to deal with this once he reports. Sponsor meet-up, if it's done as in previous years, occurs the Sunday afternoon on the weekend prior to PPW. Sponsors arrive, check in, are given their list of names and companies, and go find their sponsor mids seated in company areas. There is about a two-hour visit window.

The Sponsor office is doing match-ups in July and early August. No sense in doing it until the class has settled a bit. A pre-agreed match like yours is an easy action, if all set up prior to I-Day.

Edit: If you are not going to be there on I-Day, your friend could easily walk on or take the bus from the Stadium to meet up with your DS after the oath. I think they have signs for first letter of last name as meet-up points, but it's been awhile since I have been in the Yard for that part of I-Day. A little FaceTime with you, a cold drink, a hug, someone who knows your first name and uses it...
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Dr Mom is dead on. Iday is a last opportunity to provide parental support the child you raised for 18years;--- they are still your kid post IDay, and they still have some growing to do, but they mature hugely during Plebes summer. IDay is an important/meaningful event between parent and child, but its not a fun day. You will wait in line in the morning to turn them over to the Navy. They are gone all day and then given back to you for 30mins before the march into Bancroft, and the Navy will have roughed them up a-bit.

For me, it was my first experience as my daughters "Corner-man". Its the Plebes fight--The Mid's fight--the Officers fight from IDay forward. You provide the safe corner to return to, some work on any cuts from the previous round and words of advice that might help in the next round. Then, a last look in the eyes to let them know that they are "your fighter" and that their corner will always be there after each upcoming round in life. I get that an extended family might need to come for the event BUT DO NOT let them intrude on those precious 30min you have to be the best "corner-man" for your plebe before he/she marches into Bancroft.

I'd try to get to Annapolis a day or two early, just immediate family and DD/DS. Walk around town, give the kid a day or two with the focus entirely on them and the step they are taking. Let em feel how much support they have. One of the best things about hitting town early is that you'll see plebes-n-parents doing the same thing from all over the country. Great kids with great parents in the same boat, anxious to talk and connect. I promise it will make you even happier about your DD/DS's choice. Here again, a family entourage is problematic.

DESERT CALI MOM: Up the page a-bit MJ posted a link to a page that will help you find your local Parents Club------Find it, Use it! If you contact with them, I'd bet $10 that they can set your DD/DS up with a family from your area who will provide a place to sit, people to be with, and a sandwich before the march into Bancroft. We did this for a the DS plebe of a Parents Club member who had to leave early on IDAY. All she had to do was ask and I think 2 0r 3 folks immediately volunteered.

NOTE: The best piece of non-published practical advice we got for IDay came from a CL2017 dad involved with our parents group.

He said: "During IDay while the Navy has your kid, scout around and find a bathroom removed (not too-far) from ceremony area. When your DD/DS is released to you after the oath, walk em over to the bathroom for just a few minutes. It will be cool, (they have been hot all day); it will be private (they have been publicly yelled at all day). DD/DS will have their game face on, but may also be pretty wound up"..... I thought this advise was a little odd, but we did it and MAN WAS HE RIGHT. DD wept as soon as she was in private----nothing specifically wrong, just uncertainty and the enormity of the change in her life. She let it out, took a deep breath, and was back into stride.
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Agree with above and you can find lots of older posts on this topic that basically say the same thing. It isn't a 'one size fits all' event so best to let your son/daughter take the lead to indicate their preference. Even those 110% convinced that USNA is for them can find I-day a bit overwhelming/intimidating.....well you get the idea. This is probably not the time for a large entourage to be invited and the heat/logistics can be a challenge even for those who don't have mobility issues. Best to discuss as a family ahead of time so you know what their desire is. There will be ample opportunity over the next 4 yrs for relatives/friends to visit in a more casual/relaxed atmosphere.
We brought a cheap Picnic table cloth for sit down on Stribbling along with some drinks and a sandwich in a small cooler. They don't eat. She was exhausted and had her BCG's on but said she had coaches yell harder than detailers. Our I-Day was brutally hot and humid. Parents Clubs and the Alumni Association (I recommend the Alumni Lunch) have been great. If you can do it get there early before I-Day. If you go to drop off on I-Day and go back to the Stadium for the buss you may miss your kid enter into Alumni Hall as they shuffled my DD's class in as soon as they noticed them standing around. PPW is much better for larger family groups. Good Luck All.
Thank you everybody! Excellent suggestions all. We will re-calibrate our thinking for sure!
As the parent of a plebe (for about 80 more days) I-day is still pretty fresh on my mind here's my take on it.
1. You don't see your kid much.
We have staggered report times. My kid's was early, 7:30 a.m. We parked at the stadium went through the security check and rode the bus over there with him. We barely made it at the time but that was because of the slow bus situation and they weren't worried about those who were late. They whisked him right in. Only got a quick hug but in hindsight this was probably good. Then he was gone. We tried to catch a glimpse of him at a couple of strategic points where they were loading and unloading plebes but frankly it is hard to tell a thousand buzz head kids wearing white pajamas and Dixie cup hats apart. If your mid is female or wears glasses at least that narrows it down a bit. Mine blended right in.
2. You walk a lot
From Alumni hall to the mid-store to Bancroft to see the crypt of John Paul Jones... I bet I walked 5 miles or more so if your not very mobile you might want to say goodbye at the drop off. I enjoyed the day but my calves were sore the next day. I'm going back for Herndon and I have upped my fitness this time.
3. So much Tradition
If you haven't been to the yard (like I hadn't) there is no way to describe it. My D.S. was fortunate enough to get offered appointments to USNA, USAFA and USMA. He eliminated West Point because he hopes to fly jets. We took him to visit USNA and USAFA. Both places were incredible but one of the things that made him decide on USNA was that the whole place oozes tradition and history. He wanted to be a part of that.

Lots of excitement headed your way!
As the parent of a youngster, based on our experience I would not recommend a large crowd at I-Day. PPW is probably a better time to bring a larger group and there will be other opportunities for family members to visit as time goes on, so I would keep it just parents for I-Day. I say this for the sake of the Plebe and additional visitors for all the reasons mentioned. You really don't see your Plebe much and many of them are very nervous. By the time you see them for a few minutes at the end of the day they are kind of shell shocked from all they just went through and nervous about what is coming. Do bring food/drink and something for your Plebe to sit on as suggested. Our Plebe did not want food, but did want the drink and chance to sit for a few minutes. The grass was wet and those whites stain easy. Bring along some of those laundry stain sticks/wipes just in case.

I-Day can be a tough day for Plebes and parents, but almost all get through it and are better for having experienced it. Just the first of many challenges to come.
Great advice! My wife and I were thinking just the opposite...bigger group for I-day and less on PPW. I think we'll switch it up...but will ask DD her thoughts.
Great advice! My wife and I were thinking just the opposite...bigger group for I-day and less on PPW. I think we'll switch it up...but will ask DD her thoughts.

Talk to your Plebe about both. My DD was happy that just her Mom and Dad came out for PPW as well as I Day. Six weeks of Plebe Summer (and it's not over when PPW begins and ends). Our Plebe wanted PPW to be very low key where she had lots of down time to eat/sleep and get a manicure/pedicure. She didn't want the hustle and bustle of lots of family members (though she does wish we could have brought the family dogs)

My wife's family went out Columbus Weekend. Plebe was in a routine, new the game, and was much more ready to tell stories and provide tours.

Every family is different - just saying what worked best for ours.
^^ Agreed. I-day & PPW can be challenging but for different reasons. Many plebes just want to relax/sleep, etc. during PPW as their first chance to unwind since starting at USNA. It would be a mistake to think they will want to go all over town with a large group of family/friends.
It would be a mistake to think they will want to go all over town with a large group of family/friends.
^Agree with this. Some may want to go out around town, but even after Plebe year we find that when we visit our Mid she prefers hanging out in a hotel room, catching up with whoever is there, relaxing and eating take out for most meals. Going out in town or out to dinner as a Plebe or Youngster means being in uniform.
The first part of PPW they want to sleep, sleep, sleep and take a real shower. She went DTA with her High School friends and roommates they came back for the barbecue saying it was like being with a rock star (They were Stanford and University of Chicago). Those Whites do look good and Annapolis loves it. Check for a rental for PPW it worked for us. After Plebe year not so much
Hit the Mid Store all day long and then during the next four.