Post-2023 PPW Reports!

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Please share how it went, any tips and advice for 2024’s PPW. I hope you all had quality time.

Those plebes are starting to turn back into pumpkins now and getting mighty quiet.

I was just over at the NEX and Commissary across the USNA Bridge, Sunday afternoon late. I saw a Plebe with family, browsing. The Plebe was holding a cover by the bill, which will require de-smudging later. Everyone learns, and the focus was on a much-needed respite off-Yard.
 

ders_dad

Member
Advice given by the veterans of PPW was invaluable- future parents will do well to read past posts on the subject. We let DS dictate the pace and plans and that was the right advice. We had some nice surprises:

1. Pride. Pride in his squad especially. We rarely heard about “I” - it was almost always “we”. Pride in his uniform and in the Navy.
2. Mates. All over Annapolis they greeted each other by last name and displayed great comradeship and professionalism.
3. Respect. Unbelievable admiration for his detailers and his company officer and senior enlisted (especially the company chief).

The first four days of PS were much more challenging than he previously led on in his calls. He was raised going to church but had let that slip after he was confirmed. He found himself in church on Sunday and getting a needed lift from the chaplains (who he couldn’t say enough about).

On Saturday he asked to go to DC, which surprised us. He wanted to visit the WWII memorial and the military history section in the Smithsonian. He looked up his grandfathers in the registry.

He wanted home cooking and to veg with his brothers and the Switch we brought with us.

PPW was just long enough and all of us are ready to move ahead.

He was prepared to “get the crap PTed out of him tonight.

Having it all happen away from home will make going home and not having him there easier.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
What a great hot wash-up (military slang for the quick report right after an event, exercise, drill, assessment, etc.)!
 

landlock

Member
Some things we learned on our second go around:

House with kitchen and family room worked better for plebe to lay around in PT gear than the hotel we had with our first. In any public area they need to be in uniform. Also easier to do laundry in a house.

Did mostly home cooked meals my wife pre-made (lasagna that is killer) and BBQ from our hometown (also killer) so we could enjoy more time with our plebe and ensigns.

This time the only people invited were his older sib and her husband (both USNA grads and incredibly supportive), his girlfriend..a very high achieving kid headed for civilian college, DW, and myself. High school friends came one day for our first plebe and they were overwhelming. Our current plebe requested this small group above even though he had a lot of guy friends from high school. He had me put out the word to these friends that this would not be a good time to come visit...we live close enough for them to drive. Only people he trusted that truly knew what he was going through could come. I am not sure we listened as well to our first.

We stayed just outside of gate 3 so as to not stress about going back and forth, but were fortunate enough to find out appointment early so could book a place. I do know some families enjoyed being out of the way of DTA in the surrounding communities where one could find cheaper digs and have a backyard which we did not have. It was a beautiful weekend so that would have been nice but that is something you may give up in DTA.

I learned many of these things on this site!

He has made great friends already and is incredibly impressed with the caliber of the other plebes and detailers. Fun to see how many of them know each other already! Walking around DTA was fun as they would give each other knowing nods and big hello's. He was able to get ice cream 2 nights in a row in DTA without a single spilled drop! That should be a factor in the "order of merit"!
 

illesq

Member
My top 10 suggestions for PPW (in no particular order):

1. Friday morning PEP is a must. While there was some earlier discussion on other websites discouraging parents from attending, the detailers thanked all the parents and even asked the Plebes to welcome us. It was a great morning to see them in action.
2. Stay as close to the Yard as possible either at a hotel or a Airbnb. It’s a short weekend and minimizing the up and back of travel is helpful.
3. Meet your Plebe’s sponsor family. It really helped to establish a relationship with our Plebe’s sponsor family and are hopeful the relationship will be a long-term one. We had lunch with them on Sunday afternoon.
4. Go with the flow. While we had a general agenda, we really took our Plebe’s lead and what he wanted to do, where he wanted to eat etc.
5. Attend the Academy events. The Friday morning orientation was excellent as were the various academic booths set up in Dahlgren.
6. Eat in King Hall. Despite our Plebe’s suggestion to the contrary, we all ate in King Hall on Friday after noon formation. It was great to see and hear all about the meals etc. and it prompted great conversation amongst us.
7. Meet your Plebe’s roommate’s parents. We met our Plebe’s roommates’parents for dinner on Thursday evening. It was great to compare notes and share stories.
8. Listen more, talk less. Our Plebe was non-stop talking about his past 6 weeks. We were just quiet and listened.
9. Meet his squad leaders. When we visited his dorm room in Bancroft, our Plebe introduced us to the various squad leaders on the floor. They were all happy to meet us and it was great to make a personal connection.
10. Security pass. Try to pick up your security pass on Thursday. When we arrived for PEP on Friday morning at 5:45 AM, the line to get into the Yard was enormous. Those that had their security clearance had immediate access.
 

Norfolk63

BGO and MidDad
5-Year Member
Interesting to see PPW through a Detailer's eyes this time around... many plebes returned to Bancroft tonight to find scores of unlocked rifles from yesterday's parade lined up waiting for them.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Advice given by the veterans of PPW was invaluable- future parents will do well to read past posts on the subject. We let DS dictate the pace and plans and that was the right advice. We had some nice surprises:

1. Pride. Pride in his squad especially. We rarely heard about “I” - it was almost always “we”. Pride in his uniform and in the Navy.
2. Mates. All over Annapolis they greeted each other by last name and displayed great comradeship and professionalism.
3. Respect. Unbelievable admiration for his detailers and his company officer and senior enlisted (especially the company chief).

The first four days of PS were much more challenging than he previously led on in his calls. He was raised going to church but had let that slip after he was confirmed. He found himself in church on Sunday and getting a needed lift from the chaplains (who he couldn’t say enough about).

On Saturday he asked to go to DC, which surprised us. He wanted to visit the WWII memorial and the military history section in the Smithsonian. He looked up his grandfathers in the registry.

He wanted home cooking and to veg with his brothers and the Switch we brought with us.

PPW was just long enough and all of us are ready to move ahead.

He was prepared to “get the crap PTed out of him tonight.

Having it all happen away from home will make going home and not having him there easier.
The chaplains are hand-picked for this duty. Many plebes rediscover religion (and donuts) during PS. All the Chaps have my utmost admiration. They are go-go-go all PS, out there at PEP, walking the Hall at night, providing support to PS staff and plebes alike. They have heard it all.
 

ders_dad

Member
Illesq - what you wrote exactly. PEP on Friday was fantastic. Missed the running because we hadn’t yet gotten our yard access card and wish we got in on Thursday. Meet the detailers, roommates and see room - do not miss that!

We were About a mile from the Yard and did walking but I think being farther out, driving in, and parking can work. We heard from our Airbnb host that there is a movement to get rid of Airbnb’s in DTA. Also, on Saturday evening the house next door had a detailer party in the backyard and two of them were DS’s detailers. He decided he preferred to stay inside.

PPW is really about turning the page and I think it does so very effectively.
 
Great posts! Two more points from our experience:
- Best giveaway that an outward leadership mindset is forming happened when we were leaving Mother B and my DD noticed a Plebe outside not wearing his cover. She immediately and in a low tone reminded him to put it on. Leave no one behind.....I’m so proud of her!
- We always used Gate 8, which saved us significant time returning to the Yard.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Interesting to see PPW through a Detailer's eyes this time around... many plebes returned to Bancroft tonight to find scores of unlocked rifles from yesterday's parade lined up waiting for them.
^ This is not a good thing.... surprised if it was just the rifle that was waiting for them. I hear the hurricanes and tornados in Annapolis can be fierce. (Or is that not allowed anymore ? ;))
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Once they prohibited "white works Batman," it was all downhill from there . . . :rolleyes:
Ahhh...Uniform races, Detailers tried to explain that the ability to get into /change uniforms quickly was a fundamental skill so you could answer the bell when GQ sounded. It almost always ended with a pile of uniforms strewn on the rack, and Plebes running around in something ridiculous like WW Batman.
 

brewmeist

Member
I was stressed watching my son eat in his whites. Especially the ice cream (why couldn't he just have plain vanilla?). Not a drop touched his uniform! Couldn't say that 6 weeks ago!

We booked in Eastport to get him a bit further away. Not sure if it was worth it. Driving in was a pain every time. It was walkable, but not with my daughter's recent foot surgery. Loved the house we rented. Just not the driving. And parking...
 

Capri120

Parent
Ahhh...Uniform races, Detailers tried to explain that the ability to get into /change uniforms quickly was a fundamental skill so you could answer the bell when GQ sounded. It almost always ended with a pile of uniforms strewn on the rack, and Plebes running around in something ridiculous like WW Batman.[/QUOTE]

USAFA calls these "Superman drills" for changing uniforms quickly.
 

caseman

Member
We stayed a couple blocks from gate 3. There was no stress about getting back on time. I would recommend staying within walking distance and avoid the traffic jam. The house was easier for everyone to relax in vs. a hotel.

All other suggestions noted above are similar to what I would also recommend.
 
Crazy how much they have grown in just the few weeks since I-Day.
1. My DS learned how to iron. He said it took 3 20-minute sessions to get it right, but he did get it right.
2. He taught his mother how to properly fold PT clothes.
3. He had trouble with his NavFedCredU account and he handled it himself. (never would have happened before)
4. Super paranoid about being late. We had to be in DTA at least 2 hours before report time.
5. He carried 2 tide pens in his sock at all times.
6. I can't believe how much he can eat. He also eats about 3 times faster than he did before.

One of my favorite moments is when we went to the aquarium in Baltimore. On the way in, he received a salute from an Air Force Tech. Sergeant and was totally thrown off guard. He told me that technically, he does not rate a salute and wasn't sure if he should have saluted back. However, he consulted with the detailers and they said to give a courteous return salute and, if given the chance, explain why he doesn't yet rate a salute. He will be ready next time.

It was also amazing to see walk around Annapolis/Baltimore and see how the kids would look at him. He was a hero in their eyes and he never missed the opportunity to interact with them and say hi or ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

Overall, it was an awesome trip. By they way....they didn't get his rifle :)
 
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