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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 possible 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 supposed 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 is very slim.

Ft Benning Graduation

I have lots of questions about graduation, it’s a coupe of 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 a day, so I just want to ensure I get everything right.

I should be arriving in Columbus, Ga, at about 8:00 am. I don’t 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 to the fort? If so, I heard that sometimes there is a wait to drive in, which would drive my fare up. Is this true?

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There shouldn’t be a problem with meeting him for the 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 wonder if he will get a weekend off or if he has to stay on the base. His parents are going to the graduation.

Thank you!!

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It depends on where his AIT is going to be located. Usually, if his AIT location is at a different post, he will have to leave after basic training to travel to the next post.

If his AIT is at the same post, he may be given the weekend off after he has been processed into the next school. It is hard to say for sure, as every AIT is different, and the instructors handle things differently.

I know some who have had the weekend off and some who were given no time. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definite answer. As it gets closer to the 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 rumors that only immediate family and spouses can sign out their soldiers after graduation.

It will only be me and my mom going to his graduation because his parents cannot afford the plane ticket and 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.

The worst-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 boot camp graduation for the first time in 2 months.

I can’t be the only one to have felt extreme nervousness about it. Until now (the halfway point), the thought of seeing him has made me so happy I could cry. Now I feel anxious, like what if I got there and he changed?

I am probably 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 almost every day he is there, but there is still (obviously) that disconnection.

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I think what you are describing is completely normal. For one, we often have too much time 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 talk to him and spend time together again, you will see that even though he has changed, he is still the same person you knew before he left.

I think the initial nervous feeling is always there, whether it’s 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 he purchased the graduation photo package and a t-shirt with his photo on it for me during processing.

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!!

*****

I would guess 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 husband’s graduation is next month. I was wondering how many people get to go on stage when they get to pin their soldiers. Because my husband’s parents and I don’t get along, I don’t want to be up there with them. lol

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I had to laugh out loud at this one!

When my husband graduated, most soldiers had several people there with them for the pinning. There 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. In all three of those experiences, they never said only one person could participate.

Good luck with dealing with the in-laws!

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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19 Comments

  1. I’m gonna join the army I’m like half way thru the process well I would like to think so, I am awaiting to do my ASVAB. But I had a bunch of questions to ask but my recruiter was way too busy to deal with me since he had a bunch of other people. Wanted to join & another person was there when I was doing my practice test but what kind of communication do we have with our families? Are cell phones allowed at a certain point? What happens after graduation? I know AIT but will we get to have some time with our family after graduation? Can my husband sign me out? Or is it immediate family such as mom & sister? I have a bunch of questions but that’s enough for now.

  2. 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

  3. My husbands graduation is in a few days and me and my friend are planning on getting a rental car and driving down (from TX). I have a 2 and a half month old baby whats it going to be like with having a baby at my husbands family day and graduation? And I have to leave Sat. night so when he gets out processed friday after graduation hows it work? can he stay at the hotel with us over night friday to saturday or does he have to be back at a certain time every night?

  4. How would I pin it with my 2 and a half month old baby lol wouldnt it take forever to get down there holding the baby and then pinning it on. I want to but I feel like it would be a hastle. Our osns a really good baby though i mean for christmas vacation with my husband we brought our son to the movies with us and he behaved.

  5. 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

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

  6. 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

    1. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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!!

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