Welcome Aboard! Whether your recruit is graduating in a few weeks or has just begun their journey at Cape May Coast Guard Training Center, it’s never too early to start planning your trip to Coast Guard Boot Camp Graduation. Below you’ll find all the information you need for the Coast Guard basic training graduation.
Since the Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the military, Coast Guardsman pride themselves on fostering a close-knit community branch-wide and looking out for their own. As a member of the Coast Guard community, you will come to find a military service that put’s their service members and the families as their number one priority. Coast Guard boot camp graduation will be your first opportunity to experience what it means to be a part of this Semper Paratus community.
Coast Guard Boot Camp Graduation Schedule
USCG Cape May Recruit Training Graduations are normally held on Fridays at 11:00 a.m. shortly after a brief from the Commanding Officer held in the Ida Lewis Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. Seating is limited so make sure you arrive early. To avoid conflict with certain Federal Holidays, graduations are sometimes shifted to Thursday.
United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J. is the nation’s only Coast Guard Recruit Training Center. The Training Center is open to the invited family members and guests of the graduating class every Friday starting at 8:15 a.m. Please do not try and come through the gate early as the security guards will make you turn around and reenter at the right time. Government-issued photo ID is required to get on base.
The Day before Graduation | Thursday
5:30 pm Pasta Dinner | Harbor View Club.
Graduation Day | Friday
08:30 – 10:00 am | Breakfast | Harbor view Club.
09:10 – 10:15 am | Spouse meeting | Multi Mission Building – Guardian Spouse representatives meet with spouses (no reservation required)
10:00 – 10:30 am | Commander’s Welcome Brief | Ida Lewis Auditorium
10:45 am | Formation ‘fly by’ | Directly outside of the auditorium – Immediately following the Commander’s welcome
11:00 – 11:45 am | Graduation | Parade Field or Gymnasium – based on season
Uniformed Service Members presenting a graduating certificate must check in at 10:00 in the Ida Lewis Auditorium. All presenters can wear their appropriate service uniform.
Family Pasta Dinner and Breakfast
The iconic Thursday Pasta Dinner and Friday Breakfast is open to all family members and supporters. Enjoy meeting your recruit’s infamous Company Commanders and connect with other families. Both meals are served by the Coast Guard Auxiliary on-base at the Harbor View Club.
Prices for the pasta dinner are $14 per adult, $7 for children between 6 and 12, and free for kids under 6. Friday’s breakfast is $7 per person and kids under 6 are free. Both cash and cards are accepted as payment at the door.
You can also purchase your recruit’s company flag to show your support during graduation. This is a copy of the flag your recruit has been carrying during boot camp. It will be a great memento of the challenges overcome during their time at Cape May.
The dinner starts at 5:30 pm and in located on-base at the Harbor View. Although dinner ends at 7 pm, many families grab a drink afterward at the bar. It’s a great way to connect with the parents of your recruit’s friends.
The breakfast starts at 8:30 am and ends roughly at 10 am. It is also at the Harbor View.
After breakfast, you have plenty of time to visit and shop at the Exchange prior to the family briefing at Ida Lewis.
Reversion, what it means for you and your recruit
Reversion refers to a recruit being ‘held back’ for a short period of time based on a medical issue or remediation in specific training areas. In most cases, reversion is 3-5 days and provides a boost in confidence for the recruit. Most recruits rejoin with a renewed sense of rigor and successfully complete their training.
If your recruit is reverted they will receive a new graduation date, which means you might need to make changes to your travel arrangements.
The closest airport for Coast Guard boot camp graduation
The nearest large airport is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which is a less than 2-hour drive from Cape May.
The nearest commercial airport is in Atlantic City (ACY), which is about 50 minutes from Cape May. Although slightly closer, Atlantic City is served by a few low-cost carriers whose cancellation policies have left many families missing graduation. If at all possible, we would choose to fly into PHL.
Booking your flight to graduation
Recommendations for booking your flights:
- Book your flight after week two of training, but start your search today
- Book your recruit’s ticket home to ensure they are on the same flight with you
- Purchase Sandboxx TravelPlus Protection to avoid change fees
- Send a Sandboxx Letter to your recruit letting them know of your travel plans
FYI: Most families fly in to Philadelphia on Thursday in time for the Pasta Dinner returning home on Friday after graduation.