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Quarterdeck of the Navy

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Quarterdeck of The Navy

Main Gate, Naval Station Great Lakes

Naval Station Great Lakes is a large and busy place. More than 20,000 military and civilian personnel work, train and live here. Our training commands and schools proudly graduate thousands of recruits and Sailors every year.

The installation is now 100 years old. It, along with the mission here, has been in constant change, allowing us to prepare Sailors for an increasingly sophisticated and technology-based Navy.

Our mission here at Great Lakes is simple: Deliver highly skilled, technically proficient, disciplined and motivated Sailors to the fleet.

Since the first group of recruits reported for training July 1, 1911, more than 3.5 million Sailors have started their Navy careers right here in northern Illinois. Their experience in “boot camp” transformed them from civilians into Sailors, and it is an experience that continues to be a source of pride for all who have earned the right to wear the uniform of a United States Sailor. Naval Station Great Lakes is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training station in the Navy. The installation includes 1,153 buildings with thirty-nine on the National Register of Historic Places. Naval Station Great Lakes sits on 1,628 acres and uses 50 miles of roadway to provide access to the station’s facilities.

Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Naval Station Great Lakes offers exciting recreational and sightseeing opportunities. Both Chicago and Milwaukee have major sports teams, museums, concerts, theaters and restaurants. During the spring and summer months, Lake Michigan features great fishing, swimming, sailing and camping opportunities. In the winter months, the nearby Chain O’ Lakes area offers ice fishing, snowmobiling, skating, sledding and other seasonal activities. Several ski resorts are within an hour’s drive from Naval Station Great Lakes.

Write to us at:

Naval Station Great Lakes
Public Affairs Office
2601 E. Paul Jones St.
Great Lakes, IL 60088
(847) 688-2430

Arriving by Plane

All major airlines serve O’Hare International Airport, which is located about 30 miles southwest of Great Lakes. Taxi and limousine service are both available from O’Hare at all hours, with limousine service costing $25 to $30, and taxis considerably more. However, military personnel need to remember that PCS/TAD personnel will be reimbursed for taxi fare only when no bus service was available and then only if a receipt is provided.

Arriving by Car

Although driving in the Chicago area can be intimidating, Naval Station Great Lakes is easily accessible from a major interstate highway, and also from U.S. 41. The Naval Station is located approximately 15 miles south of the Wisconsin state line, several miles east of Interstate 94 and U.S. 41.

From the south, follow either I-94 (West) or Interstate 294 (Tri-State tollway) toward Wisconsin. I-294, which is a toll road, is generally the less traveled of these two roads and would be the wiser choice during rush hour. I-94 and I-294 eventually converge about eight miles north of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I-94 (West) passes near downtown Chicago and continues in a northerly direction following the shoreline of Lake Michigan. As it passes through Chicago, I-94 includes portions of several named expressways (Bishop Ford, Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Edens). At the north end of the Edens Expressway, one can either continue straight ahead onto U.S. 41 or exit onto a ramp and follow I-94 in a northwesterly direction. Either choice will work, but from that location, the shortest to the Naval Station is by continuing straight ahead, following the signs that say “U.S. 41 north to Waukegan.” If you choose to stay on I-94, you’ll find that you will soon merge together with I-294 near Deerfield Road. Both I-94 and U.S. 41 eventually intersect with Buckley Road (137). Turn east (right) onto Buckley Road and go a couple of miles to the Naval Station.

From the north, the Naval Station is easily reached from either I-94 or U.S. 41. Just turn left at Buckley Road (137) and go east a couple of miles to the Naval Station. Once on Buckley Road, to reach the Recruit Training Command, turn right at Illinois Street. To reach the Main Gate, go under the train overpass at the end of Buckley Road and follow the signs.

Arriving by Bus

Bus travelers will find it necessary to transfer to a Waukegan-bound bus either in Chicago or in Milwaukee. Buses from Chicago will usually stop at the main gate to discharge passengers, even though there is no official stop here.

Arriving by Train

The Metra Union Pacific North Line, which is part of the Regional Transportation Authority (METRA), offers commuter service to and from downtown Chicago and to and from Kenosha, Wisconsin. A one-way fare from the Naval Station Great Lakes to the Chicago terminal for military personnel in uniform costs half the normal fare.

Department of Public Safety

The Department of Public Safety provides security, firefighting and safety for the installation and includes the Great Lakes Naval Security Force, the Great Lakes Safety Department and Great Lakes Fire and Emergency Services. The investigation section of the Naval Security Force is responsible for investigating suspect thefts, drug abuse, and other related offenses.

Badge and Pass

Private automobiles may be operated on the installation only if they meet minimum insurance requirements with an approved company.

The Naval Station Great Lakes Visitor Center, near the main gate, issues base decals. You must have a current valid registration, valid proof of insurance, a current valid state driver’s license, and a military or civilian ID card. For more information, call (847) 688-5648. For passes after hours, vehicles may pull up to the Main gate with the above listed requirements. One-day passes will be issued for access. Patrons must visit the Badge and Pass office for permanent/extended passes during normal working hours.

Naval Station Great Lakes
Fire and Emergency Services

Fire Station 1, Building 106
Fire Station 2, Building 2801
(847) 688-2135

To be a responsive and efficient organization providing quality fire protection and emergency services. To continually improve delivery of our services in fire suppression, fire prevention and fire education. To provide all services in the most cost-effective manner and to protect the lives and property of personnel assigned to, operating in, or located within Naval Station Great Lakes.

Emergency Management Office
Building 1
(847) 688-6486

Prevent or minimize (mitigation strategies), prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies or disasters that threaten life, property, and the environment within Naval Station Great Lakes Area of Responsibility. Maintain situational awareness and provide command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) to the Commanding Officer for his/her Area of Operation. Manage all hazards from pre-incident through response and recovery. Facilitate effective intergovernmental operations by closely coordinating efforts of Federal, State and local agencies.

Safety and Health
Building 3400, Room 230
(847) 688-2035

The Safety Department provides NAVOSH support to the Commanding Officer, Naval Station Great Lakes and tenant commands as appropriate. Areas of responsibility include mishap investigation, reporting and record keeping, workplace inspections, oversight for hazardous material control and management, employee reports of unsafe/unhealthful working conditions, relations with federal OSHA officials, and training. Our customers’ satisfaction is our primary focus and we continuously seek creative and cost-effective solutions with our customers to increase service excellence.


Naval Station Great Lakes requires a motorcycle decal to gain access to the base. To obtain the decal, installation employees—including Department of Defense (DoD), Department of the Navy (DoN) and all contractors—must complete the safety foundation rider course. The decals must be permanently affixed and displayed in a prominent position on the motorcycle (no removable or hand-held placards).

Motorcyclists must also wear basic safety gear, such as sturdy over-the-ankle footwear, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, full-fingered gloves or mittens designed for use on a motorcycle, a DOT or Snell Memorial Foundation certified helmet and eye protection designed for motorcycle operators. Reflective outer garments or vest shall be worn during nighttime hours.

Motorcycle training certification expires three years from completion of required certification course. Base decal expiration will coincide with motorcycle training certificate expiration date.

For dates and more information please visit our website at www.cnic.navy.mil/GreatLakes/ or www.navymotorcyclerider.com or call the Naval Station Great Lakes Safety Department.

Personal Property

If you have shipped furniture or other personal property, the Personal Property Department will be one of the first stops you will need to make. Shipping specialists will help you determine the status of your shipment. Ensure the office has a phone number where you may be contacted. Upon establishment of a permanent residence, incoming personnel must contact the Personal Property Office to make arrangements for delivery of their belongings. A minimum of five working days notice must be allowed for delivery from storage. Personnel who are unable to obtain permanent quarters upon arrival may have their goods placed in storage for 90 days. A second 90-day period of free storage may be granted after completing and submitting a Storage Necessity Certificate, which is available at the Personal Property Office. If, upon delivery of the personal property, there are any damaged or missing items, these should be noted on the pink form 1840 and signed and dated by both the owner and the moving company representative. Three copies should be left with the owner. Any additional loss/damage discovered after the movers depart should be noted on the 1840R (reverse) side of the form. All three copies must be submitted to the claims office within 70 days. Further instructions will be given at that time concerning the claim process.

Arrangements for outbound shipments can only be made Monday through Thursday and are normally made by appointment.

Personal Property Department
(847) 688-5371 or (800) 637-5401
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.


Navy Lodge
Building 2500
(847) 689-1485 or (800) 628-9466

Lodging is available at the Great Lakes Navy Lodge located in the Forrestal Housing Village. The Navy Lodge offers 50 kitchenette units, with two units designed for handicapped personnel. No-smoking and connecting units are also available. A mini-mart and gas station, open 18 hours a day, are located nearby. Check-in is from 3 to 6 p.m.; check-out is at noon. All ranks, active duty (on duty or leave), reservists, retirees, DoD employees on orders, and other authorized guests (including families of recruits graduating from basic training) can make reservations.

Navy Gateway Inns and Suites
Building 62
(877) 628-9233

Navy Gateway Inn and Suites provides Visitor Quarters lodging for Military and other Department of Defense travelers on official orders, as well as authorized leisure travelers on a space-available basis.

Command Religious Programs

Building 3
(847) 688-5610

Great Lakes Religious Programs provide uplifting and growth-enhancing ministry and pastoral care to Great Lakes students, staff, and families, throughout the Learning Sites and Command facilities, and to the Regional Great Lakes community through worship and education programs.

Great Lakes Naval Museum

Building 42
(847) 688-3154

As an official Department of the Navy Museum and part of the Naval History and Heritage Command, the Great Lakes Naval Museum’s mission is to select, collect, preserve, and interpret the history of the United States Navy with particular emphasis on the Navy’s only boot camp at Naval Training Station/Naval Training Center/Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. The museum is located at Naval Station Great Lakes by the main gate. Admission and parking are free.


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