Just little stuff for Parents of CL2021

Just Dad

5-Year Member
Sep 14, 2015
I came to this board about a year and a half ago, with a desperate need for information on a DONMERB issue. I found answers to that first inquiry here and to dozens more questions since. By way of payback, here are a couple things that I think might have value for the Parents of CL2021. No big time guidance here just stuff we learned along the way. Maybe other USNA parents will have tips to add.

Random Tip #1 making snail mail easy for the less motivated.
Can’t remember whether I learned about this on this website, but this worked really well.

A month or so before PS we got our DD to make a list of the names and addresses of people she said she’d like to get a letter from during PS. As soon as we got her PS mailing address we stamped-n-addressed about 40 Std letter envelopes. DD wrote up a quick note explaining PS and how important mail is to a Plebe. We packed up 3 of the stamped addressed envelopes along with DDs note into a manila envelope addressed to each of the people on DDs list. When DW and I returned from IDay we sent off the manila envelopes. DD got a TON of mail and 2 anonymous cookie shipments.

Note: USNA mail can be spotty. We got our first Ltr from our Plebe then nothing for 2 weeks then 4 letters in one day, (don’t panic).

Random Tip #2: If you fly in for PPW RENT A CAR!
We Uber-ed from BWI to Loews Hotel and hoofed it through IDay. This worked out fine. I was gonna do the same thing for PPW, but during Plebe summer DD said “I DON’T WANNA WALK ANYWHERE DURING PPW!”. Good thing I rented a car! June in Annapolis is uncomfortably hot ----August was insanely hot and wet beyond reason. If we hadn’t had a car I don’t think we’d have gotten more than a block beyond the hotel. DD/DS want to be in the Hotel a lot, but not imprisoned there.

Worse, without a car I would have missed my favorite moment of PPW: watching my DD wander through Whole Foods with a perplexed grin on her face trying to decide what things she wanted to eat most.

Random Tip #3: USNA Parents Club
If you haven’t already, google USNA parents Club (your city county state) and go to the very next meeting. It will likely be an event for Cl2021 parents. You will find a whole bunch of people there who can/will fill you in on what to expect during PS and Plebe year. You will learn a ton of stuff that you won’t get here,

Best Example would be a 2020 Plebe showing up at our Parents Club after finals to offer answers to questions and provide tips of her own (her advise follows):

“ They didn’t take extra (reasonable) underwear away on IDay. Reasonable sports bras OK, compression shorts OK, socks OK. BVDs Ok” “The Navy gives you underwear ---but it sucks----I wish I’d brought some along as it was, I had to wait until I could tell my parents to send me some and receive it in the mail”

“ a shin split compression sleeve should go out in the first care package. They were generally allowed, and if you don’t need one somebody in your platoon will---badly”

“They sell standard USNA PT clothing (Tees and shorts) in the Mid Store. I wish mom and dad had bought an extra pair and sent them in the first care-package-----it would have saved me putting on sweaty cold dirty PT gear a couple of times during PS”

“If you Test out of a lower level course, great! Qualifying will give options in terms of courses you can take, down the road. Be careful though; grades are really important too. Class standing impacts on the service options you have after USNA. I qualified to skip some stuff, but I only jumped ahead where I felt really strong about my test results and my ability to pull an A or B at the next level.----- Sucks to jump ahead and pull a C”

(Maybe some 4Cs –almost 3Cs can validate some of these comments)

NOTE: if you go to a plebe2b welcome event at your local parent club, make sure someone who is going to IDay captures email/text info for everyone making the trip. You don’t have to be joined at the hip to anybody on IDay, but if you are in Annapolis for a couple of days getting together for coffee isn’t so bad -----and please ask about plebes who will not a have anyone with them on IDay. You can give em info on where to meet you and have a sandwich, drink and a place to sit for them. They will be stressed, hungry and on their own. We did this for one DS from our state whose parent had to leave early on IDay----glad we did.

Re: a place to sit for Plebes on IDay: I bought a small folding chair/s at the CVS in Annapolis $10(?) We used them for all of the IDay events and left them behind at the hotel. Worked great, I never had any issue taking them through security.

Random Tip #4 Car Rental:
(I hardly believe this one myself) ALAMO Car rental at BWI is Excellent! ALAMO is a cheaper rental option, with lousy service in my experience, but at BWI they are FAST, PLESANT and Helpful. They’ve always let you pick a car from those available, and they like to share a laugh. I have used them 6 times---they have been consistently great; watch, now they will screw up.

Tip #5 Travel for West Coast and “Fly-Over” Parents.
We, (DW really) learned that we don’t always have to see our DD--together. We’ve found that traveling separately to USNA we can visit 2 times for about 125% the cost of a single Mom-n-Dad visit, and scheduling is about 10 times easier. DD has been very clear that she likes having one of us all to herself, and that 2 trips with one parent are better than 1 trip with both Mom and Dad. I visited for Presidents Weekend in Feb (trip into DC). DW visited mid April (day and night in Baltimore; they had a great time in Baltimore?!?) With single parent trips we were able to pull of an 8week cadence for visits, which worked great for DD. By the time the “glow” from on visit wore off, DD was only a month or so away from another break.

I guess I will add this:
Wife and I both feel like our highest value for our DD has been being there (at USNA) to support and witness her as she moves very quickly towards adulthood in a stressful environment far from home. Given our one parent visit Exp, if I were strapped for cash, or we had scheduling problems that meant that Mom and Dad needed to choose between attending ID or PPW as a couple ------- I’d consider sending one parent to each event. I’d want my kid to see a parent there for both events, and I know that when she see’s Mom, in a way DD is seeing me too.

#6 Phone calls:
For Plebe summer calls, 1) take notes and 2) have an outline of points you want to cover (the time goes quickly). Make sure to ask them what THEY WANT to do for PPW their idea of paradise may have changed over the weeks of PS.

For post PS calls remember 2 things:
A) They are more likely to need to hear from Mom &Dad when things suck than when everything is going well

B) My DD says she always feels like she is being watched on the Yard. Accordingly, don’t sweat it too much if your DD/DS sounds flat, distant, and gives short answers when calling from the Yard. When they call you from a sponsors home or off base they will sound like your kid again.

#7 Plebe Hack and the BMU:
Nope, plenty of time to kick that beehive before PPW.

#8 IDay arrival and security:
If 2016 was normal, when you arrive at the Base for IDAY CL2021 you will find a fairly long line of Parents and Family moving through security. If the Line gets too long they will pull Plebes2b from the line and move them through quickly. On the other side of security the Plebe2b will be told to move along toward the assembly area. IF your plebe2b isn’t running significantly late on his/her report time, its perfectly OK for them to wait for Mom and Dad to clear security so a family can head off toward this next big step together.

Also, (Hoops correct me if I am wrong) report times are really for line management on IDay and it was kinda loose. I wouldn’t think to arrive ½ hour after my report time, but wouldn’t break a sweat running because walking will make you 5-10 mins late. I certainly wouldn’t deny Mom a last hug & kiss because waiting for her at security would make me 5-10mins late; nobody was recording exact arrival times, you just walk up and take a place in the line.

#9 Plebe Parent Coms.:
One of the problems with living on the West Coast is that its really hard to fly into BWI or DC for the day; you pretty much have to arrive at least one day ahead for any event and leave the morning/afternoon after the day of the event. For IDay, PPW Etc. this scheduling issue turns out to be an advantage.

Walking around Annapolis before IDay you will see “Mom-Dad-Plebe2b” formations all over the place. If there were ever a time to throw off the introvert in you this is it. All these people are in exactly the same boat you are. Conversation comes very easy, and great kids usually come from great parents. My wife was blown away by the people she met on IDay, it really helped her conversion to a "Navy Mom".

You are going to have to leave your child behind the doors of Bancroft on IDay and fly/drive home. It really did help us to know first-hand what great young people our daughter would be working/living with, and the great parents who were in the same boat with us.
Is that your Plebe?---- Where are you from?“-----easy.
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If you live anywhere in the northeast or south of DC and intend to drive to Annapolis during the four years for visits I would think about getting an E-ZPASS. It will save you lots of time on the toll roads.
Is there a certain color allowed for the shin splint sleeve? Do girls wear compression shorts?
“They sell standard USNA PT clothing (Tees and shorts) in the Mid Store. I wish mom and dad had bought an extra pair and sent them in the first care-package-----it would have saved me putting on sweaty cold dirty PT gear a couple of times during PS”

> This one is absolutely brilliant... I can still smell the Tshirts we put on for PEP 39 years later !