New to Lackland Air Force Base? Read This.

Lackland Air Force Base is located in Bexar County, Texas. It is the only entering processing station for Air Force for basic military training and thus its called the “Gateway to the Airforce”. Lackland Air Force Base is part of Joint Base San Antonio which is a union between the United States Army Fort Sam Houston and the United States Air Force Randolph Air Force Base and Lackland Air Force Base, which were merged on 1 October 2010.

Featured Image Credit: United States Airforce

What’s it like during BMT for the AF on Weeks 0-3?

What’s it like during BMT for the AF on Weeks 4-6?

 

Sources:

  •  https;//www.lackland-afb-graduation.com/
  • https;//afwm.org/

 

 

 

Lackland AFB BMT Graduation Day – Overview

The Lackland Graduation is a 4-day event starting on Thursday and ending on a Sunday. Get day a day ahead, as things start very early on Thursday morning. Learn about lodging and booking early here.

Advise No. 1: Always let your airman know you are coming. Parents have missed their Airman due to lack of communication. Before we even start, have a look at this awesome video on nature and what to expect on graduation day. Trust me, it will be a great use of your next 7 minutes:

This is a great way to plan ahead with a fantastic advice from “Our Gray House” including specific dates:

GRADUATION SCHEDULE

Thursday: Airman’s Run, Orientation Briefings, Retreat, Honor Graduate Ceremony, and Base Liberty.

  • Orientation Briefings (7:00am, 9:00am): Anyone can attend either of the briefings at 7:00am or 9:00am at the Reception Center. Do NOT skip the briefing because you will miss out on other important info, including which Heritage flight your Airman will be in for the ceremonies, who made honor grad, what the special events are for that weekend and the map of where the Flights stand for the ceremonies. Also note that the briefings will not interfere with any ceremonies, as they are over in about 20 minutes. You’ll have plenty of time to find a spot for the next event! You only have to go to one of the briefings.
  • Airman’s Run (8:00 am): Cheer the Airmen as they run by singing ‘jodies’ in flight formation.
  • Spouse Briefing (9:45 am): The spouse briefing is held in the Chiefs Room inside of the Reception Center (front desk can direct you to this room). This is a great opportunity for spouses to receive specific information about the Air Force life from a spouse’s perspective. After the briefing concludes, spouses can opt to sit in a special seating area to review the Coin Ceremony.
  • Top Performer Ceremony (10:30am): The Commander of Basic Military Training invites honor graduates and their families to a special ceremony in their honor prior to the start of the Airman’s Coin Ceremony.
  • Airman’s Coin Ceremony followed immediately by Retreat:  in which we pay tribute to the flag. Meet with your Airman immediately afterward for the Tap-out. Airmen who are not tapped out will meet at the flagpole when they are dismissed.
  • Base Liberty – Immidiatly after ceremonies –  Most Airmen are released for Base Liberty immediately following the ceremonies. (Some Airmen may have limited visitation due to training requirements).
  • End of Liberty (8:00pm) – Airmen due back in their dormitory. Your Airman’s commander or military training instructor may impose an earlier return time.

Friday: Orientation Briefing, Parade, Open House and Town Pass

  • Orientation Briefing (7:15am): Pfingston Reception Center. You do not have to attend Friday’s Orientation Briefing if you have already attended an Orientation Briefing on Thursday. The same topics are discussed during Thursday’s and Friday’s Orientation Briefings.
  • Handicap Plus One Transportation to Parade Ground (7:15am-8:30am): Buses depart Pfingston Reception Center for easy access to the parade grounds for all Handicap guests plus one person to assist them. Picks up in cul de sac. Limited Parking is available to visitors at the parade grounds so plan on leaving early.
  • Graduation Parade (9:00am): Watch Airmen “Pass In Review” and reaffirm their “Oath of Enlistment” at graduation parade; Airmen are released for base liberty and may take photographs by historical aircraft positioned around the parade field.
  • Return Bus (Only for Handicap Visitor plus one to Assist) (9:45am): Buses depart the parade ground for the Pfingston Reception Center. All other visitors must drive or walk back.
  • Squadron Open House (10:15-11:15am): Visit your Airman’s dormitory; parking in squadrons is prohibited. 
  • Town Pass (Airmen are released immediately following conclusion of Squadron Open House.)
  • End of Liberty (8:00pm): Airmen are due back in their dormitory.

Saturday: Town Pass Day

  • Town Pass (9:00am): Airmen begin arriving at the Reception Center to start Town Pass. View ideas on what to do on Town Pass Day
  • End of Town Pass (8:00pm): Airmen are due back in their dormitory

Sunday: Religious Services and Base Liberty

  • Religious Services (6:30am-4:00pm): If you and your Airman plan to attend religious services, you must attend your Airman’s designated service for their denomination. You must meet your Airman at the Chapel at the designated time (schedule with them). You cannot meet them at the squadrons.
  • Base Liberty (9:00am): Airmen are released from their squadrons for base liberty with families. Those who are awarded to Top Physically Fit Airmen, members of Honor Flights, and Honor Graduates will receive a Special Town Pass for Sunday. All others will receive base liberty.
  • End of Liberty (6:00pm): Airmen are due back in their dorms. Your Airman’s commander or military training instructor may impose an earlier return time.

Source: https;//afwm.org/grad-info/bmt-schedule-of-events/

Also please note:

  • YOUR TRAINEE IS PROHIBITED FROM:
    • Purchasing, possessing or consuming any alcoholic beverage.
    • Purchasing, possessing or using any tobacco products.
    • Purchasing, possessing or using any over the counter medication/supplements not prescribed or cleared by a military medical doctor.
    • Purchasing, possessing or inhaling aerosol products. They are strictly prohibited and they are not allowed to purchase them while attending BMT.
    • Purchasing or possessing any obscene or pornographic material.
    • Taking any food items into the dormitory.
    • Operating any motor vehicle.
    • Going off base, except for approved town pass and officially approved duty.
    • Wearing civilian clothing. They must remain in uniform at all times to include town pass. Swimming at local hotels and theme parks is prohibited.
    • Visiting the Inns of Lackland, base lodging facilities or bases housing unless family members reside in these accommodations during graduation liberty/town pass. They must receive squadron leadership approval prior to visiting these locations.
    • Engaging in public displays of affection (PDA); i.e., kissing, holding hands, hugging, walking arm-in-arm (escorting), since it detracts from the professionalism and standards of conduct expected from military members while in uniform. While avoiding PDA is the expected custom of all military members, there are some brief exceptions. A “brief” display of affection, such as a hug or kiss at homecomings, deployments and graduations are acceptable with moderation and respect.
    • Until they depart BMT they will held accountable for all of the 25 “Trainee Rules of Conduct”. The ones not included are for the “training environment” activities. These are the most important rules to follow while on Town Pass or Base Liberty. Enjoy your time and keep the rules in mind when with your Airmen.
  • Airmen must remain in the San Antonio metropolitan area.  Other than Fiesta Texas and Randolph AFB (which are already approved), Airmen must coordinate exceptions to this limitation through their Training Squadron Leadership. Airmen are also prohibited from visiting the ‘off-limits’ establishments discussed during their Town Pass briefing. A listing of these establishments is also displayed on their dormitory bulletin board.

SOURCES:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OoqORyHQ-U
  • https;//afwm.org/grad-info/bmt-schedule-of-events/

What to do? Sightseeing at Lackland Air Force Base.

In Lackland Air Force Base has 2 museums, it has objects, aircrafts, weapons that date from World War I. There is also a great display of airplanes like P-38, Lightning, B-17 Flying Fortress, and  P-82 Twin Mustang. Tourists can stay in the surrounding hotels. And enjoy them with their airmen during base liberties.

Air Force Security Forces Museum San Antonio Texas

US Air Force Airman Heritage Museum San Antonio Texas

 

Planes on Display at Lackland AFB San Antonio, TX

You can also take advantage of these pre-weekend and weekend specials nearby:

  • Donate BloodYou’ve got what it takes to save three lives with a single donation.  There will be a line in the reception center (near the restrooms) from 8:15 to 9:30am and again from 11:30am to 1:30pm.  Everyone who donates blood receives a military coin.
  • Gateway Club Lunch/Dinner Opportunity: Lunch Buffet available on Thursday from 11-3pm ($9.95 per person), Dinner Buffet available from 4-7:30pm ($9.95 per person).  Located at Lackland AFB, 1650 Kenly Avenue, Bldg. 2490.  Large groups urged to call ahead to reserve space: (210) 645-7034.
  • Greenside Grill Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Opportunity:  Located on Lackland AFB at the Gateway Hills golf course, 1800 Dimsted Place.  Breakfast favorites include tacos, pancakes, French toast and assorted omelets.   Lunch favorites include hamburgers, Chicken Fried Steak, Hot dogs, Fried Chicken, Tuna, Chicken salad or deli sandwiches.  Great Steak Night is also on Thursday from 4-7pm.  $15 in advance, $17 at the door (Children’s menu also available for $6.00).  Space is limited to the first 80 people who pay for the dinner. Please call 210-671-3466 to reserve your steak dinner on Thursday of graduation weekend.  For more information, click HERE.  NOTE: The Great Steak Night for Thanksgiving week will be on Wednesday the 23rd instead of Thursday, due to the holiday.
  • Suzie’s Kitchen Lunch Opportunity: Located in the Skylark Bowling Center at Lackland AFB (1610 Luke Blvd., Bldg. 6476), Suzie’s Kitchen specializes in pizza, subs and wings.  Lunch specials from 11-2pm. 210-671-1234.

Sources:

Military Spouse Guides

AFWM

TripAdvisor

Lodging at Lackland Air Force Base – Book Early for Graduation!

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lackland_Air_Force_Base_-_Greetings_From_Lackland_AFB.jpg

On Base? Off Base? Lackland Air Force Base has 3 lodging hotels inside the base. The Gateway Villa, The Gateway Inn, and The Gateway Lodge.  In a few words, if you like convenience and practicality book early on base. Another important thing to note is that your airmen need a “Hotel Waiver”  in order to enter the hotel room.

Booking a room for the Air Force BMT graduation can be tough. On base, hotels are very practical, but you might also end up having to share a bathroom with a stranger, o so says Zoe Wolf from Military Spouse Guides*.

The hotels are basic but comfortable. Comparable to a best western, they are not luxurious but they aren’t bad either. Prices range from $35 – $65 per night. You can request to stay at a specific hotel, but it’s really subject to available rooming.

It’s also important to note that officers on active duty have priority on booking. This means that if there is a reservation conflict or over-booking you might have to give up the room. Off-base alternatives are usually arranged for you in case you are asked to “surrender” the room. Still, Zoey recommends you always have a backup plan, such as these off-base alternatives.

The benefits of booking on-base are being close to everything, also the disposition of areas where to spend time with your airmen when they have base liberties. As there are little other options to spend time together.

 

More about the Gateway Inn

Here is a video from Karey Ellen, who stayed at the Gateway IN, in San Antonio, Texas for her husband’s graduation from basic military training in August of 2011.

More on the Gateway Villa

All of them were built to provide facilities to duty airmen, reservists, and families.

Now for some insights into the Gateway Lodge we could not find a video, but found these reviews instead.  

For example:

“Well…the room was clean and decently decorated. The sleeping area is about 12 x 13 with enough space to walk around the queen bed. There is a desk on one side of the bed and an easy chair on the door side. At the foot of the bed there is about three feet of walking space and a large cabinet that the TV (a flat 32”) site. If someone is sitting at the desk they occupy all the space between the desk and bed. On the other side of the wall that had the desk is another small area with a sink, closets, refrigerator/microwave and the connecting door to the shared bathroom. If you share the connecting room with a family member the set up isn’t too bad.

Bad – The worst thing I noted was that you can hear bathroom noises very loudly (since there is only a slab door for separation) and the toilet is extremely loud when you flush. In fact it was so loud that I felt bad flushing the toilet on my nightly sojourns.

There was new carpet in the room but it is a thin industrial grade carpet glued to a concrete floor. This is not very comfortable underfoot.

I stayed here for five days and our toiletries were never replaced.

Shower head was awful as it was mounted at about 5’6” and the spray came out in a circle pattern with a fine mist. The head has settings available but it was calcified in place so there was no chance of changing it.

Good – The bed slept very well and the room seemed to stay nice and dark in the early morning hours so it was easy to sleep in.

The internet was fast and reliable.

The price is reasonable as you pay less than $45 for the room – I think $44 as of 1 Oct 2014. I wouldn’t stay here if I had to pay more! Stayed: September 2014, traveled with family”

So for more on off-base and on-base Hotels

Sources:

Military Spouse Guides

AFWM

TripAdvisor