When your soldier graduates from an Army school, it is an event that should be attended by everyone who is important to him. Unless your soldier is in OSUT (One Station Unit Training), there will be a graduation from basic training and a graduation from AIT (Advanced Individualized Training). Your soldier will have graduation ceremonies from Airborne, RASP (Ranger Assessment and Selection Program), Special Forces, OCS and several others if he attends these schools.
Receiving Information about Graduation
The soldier will inform the command who should receive information about the graduation ceremonies and family day (if there is one). In most cases, the information is delivered to the spouse or parents but the soldier can have it sent to anyone that he would like. He will also have details about the ceremony ahead of time to inform you. Most post websites have a section for school graduations as well.
Who Can Attend Army Graduation Ceremonies?
Anyone is welcome to attend the graduation ceremony, including children. This is a big day in the life of your soldier and it should be celebrated. There is generally not a limit to the number of attendees that are allowed to attend a graduation ceremony. Those who wish to attend will need to provide identification at the gate to enter post. If your vehicle doesn’t yet have post decals, you will need to obtain a visitor’s pass at the gate as well. Be advised that all cars are subject to search when entering the post and firearms are not permitted.
Gifts for Army Graduation Ceremonies
Some people wish to buy their soldier a gift for graduation. When buying a gift, keep in mind about the future schools he has to attend and if he will be allowed to have that gift with him. Otherwise, you may need to bring it back home with you and give it to him when he moves to his permanent duty station. Some ideas I have heard of in the past include watches (pocket or wrist), knives, challenge coin, portable DVD player, portable game system and gift certificates for Army gear from military related stores such as Ranger Joe’s (which is outside the post at Ft Benning).
Army Hotels and Army Lodging
You should secure lodging as soon as you know dates as hotels will fill quickly in the area. There is lodging available on most posts and it is generally much less expensive than hotels off post. Be advised that the area just outside Ft Benning (around Victory Drive) is not a very safe area. Staying on post is fine but if you must stay off post, do not stay in the area just outside of post. Many of the establishments in this area have been blackballed by the Army.
If your soldier has additional training to attend after graduation, he will have to leave very shortly after the ceremony for the next school. If this school is at a different post, the Army will usually provide transport although on some occasions, the soldier is allowed to drive himself or have a family member drive him. If the school is in the same location, he will typically inprocess at the next school and then be given free time again after he finishes inprocessing.