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Ask An Army Spouse: Graduation from Army Training

See our other articles about graduation ceremonies, how to dress and my other graduation tips.

Planning Travel & Graduation Dates

I just got my husband’s graduation and family day dates. I want to book my flight as soon as I can so I can get the cheapest flight possible. My question is, how long should I wait until I book my tickets? How big is the chance that his graduation date will be moved? As of right now, he is suppose to be graduating on the 28 of January. Should I wait or am I worrying for no reason? Any response will be helpful. Thanks in advance 🙂

Anything is possible with the Army but I would say the chance of dates changing are very slim.


Ft Benning Graduation

I have lots of questions about graduation, its a coupe weeks away and I still haven’t received anything in the mail about it. I am going up alone and traveling by greyhound for over day so I just want to make sure i get everything right. I should be arriving in Columbus, Ga at about 8:00am. I dont know what time the family day ceremony is. If I’m a little late will they still let me in? Will I be able to take a taxi into the fort? If so I heard that sometime there is a wait to drive in, which would really drive my fare up, is this true?


There shouldn’t be a problem with meeting him for family day if you are a little late getting to post. As far as taking a taxi, there can be a line to get on post simply because they are checking IDs, etc. at the gate. Be prepared for that possibility.

Here’s some additional information for you:

Ft Benning Basic Training Graduation

Break After Graduation

My boyfriend is graduating from BCT in May in Fort Leonard Wood, that weekend is Memorial weekend. I am wondering if he is going to get a weekend off or if he has to stay in the base. His parents are going to the graduation.

Thank you!!


It depends on where his AIT is going to be located. Normally, if his AIT location is at a different post, he will have to leave just after basic training to travel to the next post. If his AIT is at the same post, it is possible that he will be given the weekend off after he has processed into the next school. It is hard to say for sure as every AIT is different and the instructors all handle things differently.

I know some who have had the weekend off and some who were given no time at all. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definite answer. As it gets closer to time for graduation, he should have a better idea of what to expect after it is over.

Signing Out Soldier After Graduation

My fiance left for BCT at Fort Jackson earlier this week. I heard a rumor that only immediate family and/or spouses can sign out their soldier after graduation. It will only be me and my mom going along to his graduation because his parents cannot afford the plane ticket along with all the costs. Will I be able to check him out for the day, or will we have to stay on base?

This can vary from one drill sergeant to the next and one post to the next. Many times, even if this rule is in place, most have been able to get around it. Worse case scenario is that you spend your time on post with him that day. As graduation gets closer, he should have more detailed information about the check-out procedures for that day.

Seeing Soldier for First Time at Graduation

I will see my boyfriend at his bootcamp graduation for the first time in 2 months. I can’t be the only one to have felt extreme nervousness about it. Up until now (the half way point) the thought of seeing him has made me so happy I could cry. Now I feel anxious, like what if I get there and he changed?

I am most likely just letting my imagination get the best of me but it would be nice to hear someone else who has gone through it say the same thing. Nothing on my end has changed, except maybe loving him even more. I get letters for almost everyday he is there, but there is still (obviously) that disconnection.


I think what you are describing is completely normal. For one, we often have way too much time on our hands to think when they are gone. There is too much free time to analyze every aspect of the relationship. Rest assured that he will be different. Basic training does change them but I’ve yet to talk to anyone who feels like the change is negative.

They do a lot of maturing during training and you will see a much more professional and self-assured person when you arrive at graduation. You will be able to see that sense of accomplishment on his face.

I’m sure it will all be fine. As soon as you are able to talk to him and spend time together again, you will see that even though he has changed, he is also still the same person that you knew before he left. I think the initial nervous feeling is always there whether its reuniting after a long training or deployment. But it doesn’t take long to get back into the old swing of things. It will soon be like you were never apart.

So resume being excited! 🙂

Basic Graduation Picture Package

My husband left for basic at Fort Leonard Wood 5 weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago he told me that during processing he purchased the graduation photo package and a t-shirt with his photo on it for me. Will he be able to send it to me or will I have to wait until graduation (July 29th) If he can send it to me, about how long does it take to get them?
Thank you in advance!!


My guess would be that you will be able to get it when you see him. Of course, that is only a guess. If anyone reading has had a different experience, please leave a comment! 🙂

Pinning at Graduation

Hi I’m a new army wife and my husbands graduation and stuff is next month. I was wondering how many people get to go on stage when they get to pin their soldier. Because my husbands parents and I don’t get along and I seriously don’t want to be up there with them. lol


I had to laugh out loud with this one!

When my husband graduated, most soldiers had several people there with them for the pinning. There really wasn’t a limit. Of course, there’s nothing to say that one graduation will be exactly like the next.

When he graduated from OSUT, I put his cord on him while his parents also stood there (and took pictures). We he graduated from Airborne, my cousin (who was also Airborne) pinned his wings on him while I took pictures. When he graduated from RIP, I pinned his scroll on him. At all three of those experiences, they never said only one person can participate.

Good luck with dealing with the in-laws!

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Sarah January 30, 2012, 3:56 pm

    I have a couple questions. My boyfriend left for Army boot camp at Fort Leonard on January 23rd 2012. When should the expected graduation be? Im a little confused because I keep hearing 9 weeks or 10. Will they give me a difficult time signing him out for family day/ gradutation. He actually is just doing the reserves and is not going to AIT. Also when they are allowed to make phone calls hoemis it usually on Sundays?Thanks

  • M.L.Britton March 16, 2012, 9:07 pm

    HI also needed some answers if anybody has any i would appreciate it. My husband leaves for basic in Fort Leonard Wood May 1 2012 and then goes off the texas for his AIT. My questions are: Will the army help fly my son and i out to see him for the family day(s) and graduation or is that our responsibility? Im also wondering how offten will my husband be able to call us to talk to my son? One last question. My parent in-laws bought my husband and I ipad2’s so we might be able to Facetime and see each other and so he can see our son every once in a while during his AIT. Will we be able to send him his ipad while hes there? And how often will he be able to use it to see his son?

    Thank you for responding to me

    • Ashley Albright May 2, 2012, 1:36 pm

      M.L. Britton what AIT school will your husband be attending? My husband left May 1st to go to Fort Sill.

  • Renea November 26, 2014, 2:22 am

    Hi, my husband and I got married in September of 2014. He left for basic at Fort Leonard Wood as an E-4 on November 18 2014. I am curious about graduation. I’ve heard about staying at the on-post lodging for his graduation at a better rate than the hotels in the area. What do I need to do to secure that? Is it even an option? Also, when will I receive the graduation invitation? I want to get the ball rolling with making lodging reservations, flights/rental car reservations but I can’t do anything without a date. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Stacey Abler December 7, 2014, 8:42 pm

      You won’t need an official invitation or anything like that to attend. In order to book on post, you just need to call the on post lodging/hotel to book. It’s pretty simple. He should know what his graduation date is and be able to tell you when he comes home for the holidays.

  • Renea November 26, 2014, 2:26 am

    I’ve been checking out prices for a flight to Fort Leonard Wood for my husbands graduation from BCT. $400 round trip! Please tell me his flight home for Christmas Exodus won’t be that much? Will he get some kind of deal or discount?

  • Erica Geimer October 25, 2015, 2:20 am

    Hi my husband left for basic at fort still on October 13 2015 when can I expect his graduation to be

  • Evelyn Corona March 16, 2016, 1:16 am

    If his parents do not go, can I his fiancé sign him out after boot camp? or Will he have to go with getting shipped to AIT with the Army? Please help!!

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 9:02 pm

      Typically to sign him out, you have to be an immediate family member. There are always exceptions though.

  • Heidi April 7, 2016, 5:56 pm

    My son just graduated basic training today. His father & I were not able to attend. Is there a way to get discounted air fare? We would love to attend his
    A I T graduation. It is in Fort Lee Virginia about 900 miles from us. Flying would make it easier.

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:43 pm

      There aren’t military discounts on airfare that I’m aware of. Everyone seems to have their tricks of the trade to get lower fares but I have found that booking on a Tuesday/Wednesday seems to be the best bet (at least to the places I fly to on a regular basis for work). If you can have a Saturday stayover, that typically helps as well. Good luck!

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