18 November 2011 Graduation Day (a.k.a. PIR) - We shuttled in and arrived at the main gate drop-off area roughly around 0700. As we made our way to entering the base, we were warmly greeted by courteous heavily armed MAs who checked our photo IDs. From there we walked a short distance to the graduation hall and at the door we were handed the graduation programs. They asked for our names, our sailor’s name and division number.
Our names were validated and checked off of the access list and we were hand-stamped. We then made our way to the bleachers. You have the option to sit anywhere in the bleachers but in front on the ground floor; they had signs for every division. The idea is to sit directly in front of that specific area as that’s where the designated division will be in formation throughout the whole ceremony.
I couldn’t help but notice the happiness in the air. Everyone had nothing but smiles and excitement. You have the opportunity to purchase a souvenir sailor hat imprinted with RTC as well.
The start of the ceremony was kicked off by the color guard and band division which in our case was DIV 901. I believe every training group has one. Their performance was nothing short of fantastic!
Now for the best part… When the rolling doors opened, I cried like a baby inside but was quiet as a rock. I managed to hold back the majority of my tears though a few snuck out. This was the moment we’ve all waited for. Each division was introduced as they marched in order and took up their formations. I was filled with silent joy and emotions no words can possibly express.
After all was said and done it was Liberty Call!
Again I want to thank all of our new Sailors for serving our country most especially during this time of war. I also want to extend my gratitude to all of our friends and loved ones for showing their unconditional support throughout the entire boot camp experience…