Basic Combat Training (BCT) graduation ceremonies are set to reopen to the public on May 21 on Fort Sill, with graduations for Advanced Individual Training (AIT) courses set to reopen in June. Family Day events tied to BCT graduation are slated to restart on May 20.
“Moms and dads and families all across America are going to have a chance to come see their loved ones graduate,” said Maj. Gen. Ken Kamper, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general. “We’re very, very excited about that.”
Basic training and similar graduations have been paused throughout the force as a part of ongoing efforts to curve the spread of COVID-19 among trainees and service members. Now, as more of the general public and service populations are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations and injection rates continue to fall, reopening graduations offers families the chance to support their loved ones entering service in person.
“When graduations open to families on May 20th, they will all be held at the Fort Sill Polo Field for the time being, so please keep an eye on the 434th Field Artillery Brigade page for updates and to see the way events will transpire on Family Days and Graduations,” reads a post from the Fort Sill Facebook page.
Fort Sill BCT Graduation Schedule
- 09:30 am – Arrive for graduation (In lane vetting will begin no earlier than 8:30 am) at Fort Sill Polo Field; enter at Key Gate West
- 10:30 am – Graduation Begins All attendees must follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines.
- 11:00 am – Trainees visit with families, but must stay within the Polo Field. Food Trucks, USO, SFRG will be available for lunch. Seating will also be available.
- 1:00 pm – Trainees will disperse for accountability formation.
- 1:15 pm – Trainees will return to BN.
In the event of inclement weather, graduations will be moved to the Cache Creek Chapel on Fort SIll.
While Fort Sill can’t require attendees have their COVID-19 vaccine, Joe Gallagher, civilian deputy to the FCoE and Fort Sill commanding general, says families are strongly encouraged to get theirs as the best means of defense against infection.
BCT Family Day is held the day prior to graduation, with the first slated to open to the public on May 20.
Families will be authorized not only to visit with their graduating loved ones, but they will be allowed to spend the day on or off base together. Trainees will have to return to their respective battalions prior to 2000, or 8:00 p.m. local time.
Questions about BCT graduations that were answered in a recent Facebook Live
- Will Soldiers be authorized leave between BCT graduation and the beginning of AIT training?
- Can families transport their graduation Soldiers to their next appointed place of duty?
- No. The U.S. Army is using sterile air and ground transportation because of the pandemic.
- Can you hug your Soldier?
- Can you bring pets to BCT graduation?
- It is not advised (though Maj. Gen. Ken Kamper joked that a Yorkshire terrier might be OK though.
“We appreciate the support of the American people as we continue to defend this great nation of ours. It is honestly a privilege and an honor to train future Soldiers and leaders of this great organization through a culture of values, fitness, and resiliency,” concluded Kamper.