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A Guide to Air Force BMT Graduation: Thursday

Air Force BMT Graduation is a four day event held at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX running Thursday-Sunday after 7.5 weeks of training. It’s best to arrive on Wednesday, as the events start early on Thursday morning.

There are many rules your trainee must follow during graduation weekend, including not wearing civilian clothing unless otherwise told and no public displays of affection. Your trainee will be aware of what they can and cannot do and occasionally the rules can change which is why I will not include all of them.

For a BMT Graduation Map, please click here.

Thursday: Airman’s Run, Orientation Briefings, Coin Ceremony, and Base Liberty

The Orientation Briefings are held at 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. at the Pfingston Reception Center. They will basically repeat everything I’m going to share with you in this guide, but it still doesn’t hurt to go if you would like to. I would recommend sending at least one person to go hold a spot to watch the Airman’s Run if you choose to attend the 7:00 a.m. briefing.

If you haven’t already found out from your trainee what his or her heritage flight is called, it will be up on a big screen in the Reception Center. This will be important for the ceremonies later on.

The Airman’s Run is at 8:00 a.m., but people will start to fight for spots pretty early on. If you go in the winter — like I did — bundle up, it gets cold. The run takes place behind the Reception Center and only lasts a few minutes. Your Airman will be grouped by squadron and then by flight. Each squadron has a specific color they wear:

320 TRS: Red
321 TRS: Dark Gray
322 TRS: Gold
323 TRS: Tan
324 TRS: Maroon
326 TRS: Dark Blue
331 TRS: Black

The different colors makes it a little easier to find your Airman, but you may still miss him or her, as the run isn’t very long. They do run by twice though, so keep your eyes peeled! As long as you’re in the front, there really is no bad place to stand along the run. Keep in mind in the winter they may have on their PT jackets instead of their colored shirt.

Between the run and the Coin Ceremony, we went to get coffee and get warm, which was great. But by the time we got back for the Coin Ceremony, there was almost nowhere left to sit.

The Coin Ceremony starts at 11:00 a.m., but the Honor Graduate Ceremony is before that. To get a good seat, I recommend finding a spot as soon as the run is over and just hanging out there. This ceremony is when your trainee officially becomes an Airman and it is incredibly emotional. Following the ceremony is retreat where we pay tribute to the flag.

Now the fun part!

Immediately following the Coin Ceremony and Retreat your new Airman gets Base Liberty. If they are in the band flight, you will meet them behind the bleachers (which will be announced before everyone is released). If they are not in the band flight, you will get to tap them out from where they stand. This part can be chaotic as everyone is running to try and find their Airman. Best of luck and enjoy the rest of your day with your new Airman!

Base liberty ends at 8:00 p.m., which is when your Airman needs to be back in his dorm so please allow time to get them back so they don’t get in trouble. Congratulations on making it through day 1!