Pilot Program Eliminates Hand-Carried Navy Recruit Travel Packet

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. – For generations, new military recruits have departed Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) to their respective basic training programs. Each clutched a large manila envelope containing their individual enlistment records to be turned over to military officials upon arrival at their final destination.

Beginning Oct. 17, 2018, the Navy initiated a new pilot program at the Jacksonville, Florida, and Phoenix, Arizona, MEPS, aimed at ending the long-standing practice of recruits hand-carrying their records to boot camp. If successful, the new “packetless” process will be rolled out to all 65 MEPS in December 2018.

Employing a combination of advances in policy and processing, the Navy, and the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, eliminated the requirement to hand-carry the traditional record packet.

Each recruit now receives a white legal-size envelope, easily placed in pocket or purse, which contains only three items: a meal voucher, one copy of their orders with travel instructions printed on the reverse side, and their travel itinerary.

Recent Navy recruits preparing to depart the Jacksonville, Fla., Military Entrance Processing Station for boot camp. They pose holding up their “shipper packets” which became a thing of the past on October 17, 2018. Photo Jacksonville MEPS..

New Navy recruits ready to depart the Jacksonville Military Entrance Processing Station, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Each holds up their envelope containing only three pieces of paper, which replaced the bulky packet depicted in the previous photo. Photo Jacksonville MEPS.