Fort Leonard Wood Basic Training Graduation

Fort Leonard Wood graduation is a day that you will never forget, as you watch …


Fort Leonard Wood graduation is a day that you will never forget, as you watch your trainee become a Soldier in the United States Army. Fort Leonard Wood contains both One Station Unit Training (OSUT) and Basic Training. Each type of training will have a different graduation ceremony, so it’s important to make sure you have the right information. Below you will find all you need to know for planning your trip and get the Fort Leonard Wood basic training graduation.

What airport should you fly into for Fort Leonard Wood?

Fort Leonard Wood is located just outside St. Robert, Missouri in the heart of the Ozarks.

The closest airport to Fort Leonard Wood is Waynesville – St. Robert Regional Airport (TBN) which is located on base. However, flights can be expensive as it is a smaller airport with less regular flights. We also recommend looking at:

  • Springfield – Branson Regional Airport (SGF) – 1 hour 15-minute drive from Fort Leonard Wood
  • Lambert – St. Louis International (STL) – 2-hour drive from Fort Leonard Wood

Hotels near Fort Leonard Wood

Trying to figure out where to stay near the base for graduation can be tricky. We recommend you start looking at places to stay as soon as you can confirm the graduation date of your Soldier.  Hotels will fill up quickly so make sure you plan ahead.

Getting on base at Fort Leonard Wood

It can vary unit by unit but luckily, most units allow any number of friends and family to attend so you can bring anyone who wants to watch your trainee become a Soldier.

Getting on to base for Fort Leonard Wood graduation requires individuals to be in possession of a REAL ID.  If you are not in possession of a REAL ID, please visit the Fort Leonard Wood website for other acceptable documents.  You will need to register with the Visitor Center and be granted a Visitor Pass.  If you are not a legal US resident you will likely be denied access.

If you need transportation from St. Robert to Fort Leonard Wood, Greyhound has a stop just outside the main gate of Fort Leonard Wood. Learn more about booking a Greyhound Bus to Fort Leonard Wood.

Fort Leonard Wood Family Day

*This pertains to those completing Basic Training. Schedules and times vary by company so please check with your trainee before purchasing travel*

Family Day can be more exciting to many than the actual graduation, as it will be the first time in 10 weeks that you will get to see and spend time with your Soldier.

It can begin as early as 8am so do check Fort Leonard Wood’s graduation schedule for information as well as the pack you will receive from Fort Leonard Wood in advance of graduation.

Family Day can vary between different companies and units but usually involves some display of what your trainees have learned over the last 10 weeks and an on-base pass. An off-base pass will be at the discretion of the command, but it tends to be uncommon.

Your Soldier will also receive instruction as to the appropriate conduct while in dress uniform and when and where they must report back to. Please ensure your recruit arrives back to the designated area in time, if they are late, they may lose their off-base privilege for graduation.

Don’t worry though, there is plenty to do on base. Fort Leonard Wood offers a wide range of dining and entertainment options which can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood’s base directory.

Fort Leonard Wood Graduation Day

Graduations can start at any time between 8am and 1pm so make sure you give plenty of time to get into Fort Leonard Wood as there will be crowds, and everyone has to present ID to get in.

There will be directions to whichever location your graduation is at, be sure to know your recruits company name and number in case there is more than 1 graduation taking place.

Graduation Locations

Baker Theater

Gerlach Field

Abrams Theater

Gammon Field

For more information on where your trainee will be graduating, check out Fort Leonard Wood’s graduation schedule.

As a rule of thumb, there will be about 2 hours between when graduation starts to when your soldier will be free to leave base with you on graduation day.

Your new Soldier will be given an off-base pass which permits them to leave base on Graduation Day and we’d recommend you do.

Being in Fort Leonard Wood might be exciting for you, but your new Soldier has spent every hour for the last 10 weeks here and will want a change of scenery.

What city is closest to Fort Leonard Wood?

The cities of St. Robert and Waynesville are both within an hours drive and a nice break away from base. Also, not everyone has family and friends that can attend graduation and soldiers are not permitted off base without an attendee.

Consider writing to your soldier in advance of graduation and asking if they have any friends who might not have anyone attending so you can sign them out on graduation day.

Please note that similarly to Family Day, your soldier needs to report back at a certain time at Fort Leonard Wood. Even though they’ve graduated, it could lead to repercussions for them so plan on leaving them back to their designated spot at least 30 minutes early to allow time for delays.

Where does my Soldier go after graduation?

Upon graduation from Basic Combat Training, your Soldier will report into Advanced Individual Training(AIT)  at Fort Leonard Wood or one of the many AIT training centers across the country. The day after graduation is when most will leave or report to their next duty station. 

If your recruit is graduating from One Station Unit Training, they are usually given until Sunday off as an off-base privilege as training restarts on Monday. It is important to check with your recruit as to where they are going for AIT or if they are staying in Fort Leonard Wood so you can arrange your travel plans accordingly.

Frequently asked questions about Fort Leonard Wood Graduation

What should I wear to graduation?

Graduation at Fort Leonard Wood has no set dress code so you can really wear what you want. Graduation locations vary from outside to inside so if your recruit’s graduation is outside, try to dress for the weather. Fort Leonard Wood has very warm summers with cool winters so try to check the weather in advance of packing.

Your new Soldier will be in their dress uniform and will be looking their best so it can be nice to make some effort too but 5-inch stilettos can probably be left at home as you move around base and the local area. Whatever you feel comfortable in is the most important thing, your new soldier will be thrilled to see you regardless.

Do you buy graduation gifts?

Graduation gifts can be nice but are by no means necessary. Also, bear in mind that your Soldier will likely be going on to more training after graduation and won’t be allowed to bring an excessive amount with them, anything they need will be provided for them or has to be standard issue. Check out our blog on military graduation gifts for some ideas if you want to buy your Soldier something.

Are there rules about what my new Soldier can do on and off base?

Yes, there are rules about your Soldier’s conduct and etiquette for Family and Graduation Day at Fort Leonard Wood. Before they are given leave, they will receive instructions on these. Some of the main ones include staying in uniform unless swimming, they are not allowed tobacco or alcohol or any illicit substance, and there will be a certain distance limit they are allowed to go if they have an off-base pass.

Is there a map of Fort Leonard Wood?

Yes, there is a map of Fort Leonard Wood available for download. However, for Family and Graduation Days, there will be signage and plenty of staff and military on duty to ensure everyone gets to their location to enjoy all that graduation has to offer.

If you have any requirements or special requests regarding access to base or getting around base, you should contact the base in advance to ensure there are no hold-ups upon arrival at Fort Leonard Wood.

We hope you enjoy your new Soldier’s graduation and we wish them all the success during their military career.

Jeremiah Runser