Navy Dads

We are trying to think ahead about plans for Christmas, anticipating it's likely our future sailor will be in nuke A school at that time. We anticipate him getting to A school around Thanksgiving but it's all in flux right now, waiting on his security clearance.
We are trying to figure out whether it would be doable to go visit him there during his "free days" off so that he doesn't have to use his leave to come home.
A few specs:
There would be 4 of us, including teenage brother and sister.
We have about a 12 hour drive to Goose Creek so it's doable and driving is more affordable than flying 4 of us.
So here are my primary questions:
Are there specific days that are given off from A school at Christmas?
How much liberty would he have to leave the base during that time?
Any recommendations on where we could/should try to stay? We would probably look into renting a house for the 5 of us if he's able to leave the base.
Thanks for any tips/info!

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NNPTC has a stand down over the holidays. He will essentially have the week between Christmas and New Year's Day off as there are no classes scheduled. He may be required to show up for muster a couple of times during the week, but that takes place usually around 7 in the morning and then he will have the rest of the day free. He may also be required to put in a few hours of study time. How much depends on how far along he is in training, his current GPA and hours program, and, to an extent, his comfort level with the material and how much he thinks he needs to study.

Whether or not he will be able to stay off base with you will depend on what phase of military training he is in. If he gets there by Thanksgiving, he will likely be in Phase 2 which allows overnight liberty on weekends and holidays. He may be able to get special permission to stay with you for the duration of your visit. That would be up to his Section Advisor. If he has a scheduled muster in the morning, I would recommend him staying on base the night before just to ensure he doesn't miss it because he got stuck in traffic trying to get back to base. He can walk right out of his barracks room to muster and then go on with his day.

If you are looking for a house to rent, I would look at staying on Isle of Palms. It's about 20-30 minutes from the base, depending on traffic, but it's a really nice area and has the best beach in the Charleston area. Also, the rental prices should be a little lower since it will be the "off season" Don't stay in Goose Creek. The area around the Base has a couple of motels, but they're sketchy. There are a couple of villas on base available to rent, but he would have to make the reservations. They are not inside the gate so you would have access to come and go as you please as long as you are an authorized guest. They aren't the Ritz-Carlton, but they are very reasonably priced and fully furnished. My folks stayed there when they came down for my retirement ceremony. You can look them up online. Just Google "Foster Creek Villas." Otherwise, there are decent hotels near the airport and in Mt. Pleasant. There are also hotels in Downtown Charleston, but they are spendy.

I can also give you some recommendations on at least half a dozen great places to eat, but that can wait until your plans are actually firm.

Thank you so much Scott!
The villas look like a great option!


Scott Henry said:

NNPTC has a stand down over the holidays. He will essentially have the week between Christmas and New Year's Day off as there are no classes scheduled. He may be required to show up for muster a couple of times during the week, but that takes place usually around 7 in the morning and then he will have the rest of the day free. He may also be required to put in a few hours of study time. How much depends on how far along he is in training, his current GPA and hours program, and, to an extent, his comfort level with the material and how much he thinks he needs to study.

Whether or not he will be able to stay off base with you will depend on what phase of military training he is in. If he gets there by Thanksgiving, he will likely be in Phase 2 which allows overnight liberty on weekends and holidays. He may be able to get special permission to stay with you for the duration of your visit. That would be up to his Section Advisor. If he has a scheduled muster in the morning, I would recommend him staying on base the night before just to ensure he doesn't miss it because he got stuck in traffic trying to get back to base. He can walk right out of his barracks room to muster and then go on with his day.

If you are looking for a house to rent, I would look at staying on Isle of Palms. It's about 20-30 minutes from the base, depending on traffic, but it's a really nice area and has the best beach in the Charleston area. Also, the rental prices should be a little lower since it will be the "off season" Don't stay in Goose Creek. The area around the Base has a couple of motels, but they're sketchy. There are a couple of villas on base available to rent, but he would have to make the reservations. They are not inside the gate so you would have access to come and go as you please as long as you are an authorized guest. They aren't the Ritz-Carlton, but they are very reasonably priced and fully furnished. My folks stayed there when they came down for my retirement ceremony. You can look them up online. Just Google "Foster Creek Villas." Otherwise, there are decent hotels near the airport and in Mt. Pleasant. There are also hotels in Downtown Charleston, but they are spendy.

I can also give you some recommendations on at least half a dozen great places to eat, but that can wait until your plans are actually firm.

Phase three is when they can have overnight liberty, not phase two.  Has there been a recent change?

Now that I think about it, it is Phase 3. It's been a few years since I was there and they were all Phase 3 by the time I picked up the class.
I don't remember if they relax the rules any for the stand down or not. At any rate, he can route a special request to have overnight liberty. The worst they can do is say no.

All in all, a special request chit may work, although it may be just as easy to take five days leave.  He'll accrue more than enough while he's in a school that long.  

How long will he need to be at A school to reach phase 3?

Tony, that will depend on how well the class is progressing and the instructor. My son was an AWO and it took about 3 weeks of "good behavior."

It was bugging me that I couldn't remember so I looked it up.

CNET Instruction 1540.20, Navy Military Training Policies & Procedures

Phase I - The first 3 weeks after recruit training.

  • Wearing of civilian clothing not authorized.
  • On-base liberty only during the training week.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages not authorized.
  • All liberty will expire at 2200.
  • Must complete command indoctrination prior to off-base liberty.

Phase II - Personnel may be advanced to Phase II upon meeting the following conditions:

  • 3 weeks onboard under Phase I.
  • Completion of NMT core curriculum.
  • Within Navy physical fitness standards.
  • Satisfactory uniform appearance.
  • Satisfactory academic standing.
  • Satisfactory military performance.
  • At the discretion of the Commanding Officer, liberty during school nights will expire at a time to ensure 6 hours of continuous sleep in a 24 hour period.

Phase III - Personnel may be advanced to Phase III upon meeting the following conditions:

  • 4 weeks in Phase II.
  • Within Navy physical fitness standards.
  • Satisfactory uniform appearance.
  • Satisfactory academic standing.
  • Satisfactory military performance.
  • Will allow Sailors under NMT to experience liberty equivalent to that of staff.

The chain of command or a nonacademic review board may recommend Sailors be set back to a previous liberty phase for military infractions or unsatisfactory performance.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, the only thing I see that states explicitly that's a requirement to be allowed off base is the last statement in phase I: Must complete command indoctrination prior to off-base liberty.

Does that mean, if all other things are in line (grades, behavior, etc) that he could be granted liberty to leave the base during the day - when school is not in session - staying in the Charleston area, hanging out with us, and spending nights in his room from whenever his curfew is - if he has completed that command indoctrination? In other words, it looks like phase 3 is not necessary to be granted liberty for going off base, within certain limitations?

Another question it raises is how quickly the villas fill up that time of year. If he gets to Goose creek around thanksgiving, I don't know that there would be much of anything left - I'm assuming no reservations can be made until he arrives, and maybe even not until he has reached certain milestones while there? Should we realistically be looking at Christmas 2018 if that is the case?

If he is in Phase 2, which he will be if he gets there at Thanksgiving, he should be able to stay with you for the duration of your visit since there will not be academic days during that time. The only exception would be if he has to stay in his barracks the night prior to a muster day (which I would recommend doing anyway just to be sure he doesn't miss it).

The villas are kind of a hidden gem. for whatever reason, they don't get publicized much other than the website so not a lot of people even know they exist. Once he gets to Charleston and has a more firm idea of his schedule, he shouldn't have any trouble making a reservation. You should be able to check availability on line. I know my folks didn't have any trouble getting their reservation.

Thanks Scott. You've been so helpful and encouraging. We are eager to get this adventure underway. It was a year ago this week that he first talked to the Navy. We are all ready for it to get started! It's a big comfort to know we will have opportunities to go see him on his turf.

No problem. If you have any questions about the Nuke pipeline, or anything else for that matter, I'll be happy to answer them.

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