Thousands of young men are trained to join the ranks of the Army each year at Fort Benning, Ga. After nine long weeks, proud Army moms and dads descend on this military installation eager to reunite with their loved one and bask in the excitement of the moment. The weeks of intense physical and mental training culminate with a graduation ceremony that all of these young men are sure to remember for a lifetime.
Soldiers who are stationed at Fort Benning for Basic Combat Training will complete a nine week course. Soldiers will be given training in drill and ceremonies, military customs and courtesies, Army values, first aid and hand to hand combat among other skills. Trainees must successfully complete this nine week course in order to be permitted to graduate.
Family Day is held the day before graduation. Soldiers will demonstrate the skills they have learned over the previous nine weeks. At the end of the demonstration, recruits will be allowed to leave with their families for a few hours. They may leave post as long as they remain within 50 miles of Fort Benning and do not drive motor vehicles, drink alcoholic beverages or utilize tobacco.
Basic Training graduation ceremonies are held on the parade field located at the National Infantry Museum. This parade field has a covered pavilion with bleachers for spectators. The National Infantry Museum is near the entrance to Fort Benning at 3800 South Lumpkin Road in Columbus, Ga. There is no cost for admission to the parade field or museum.
Graduation ceremonies are held on Thursdays. From October through March, the ceremonies are held at 10 am Eastern Standard Time. From April through September, ceremonies are held at 9 am Eastern Standard Time. In case of inclement weather, times of ceremonies may change. Visitors will be briefed as soon as this time is determined.
After the graduation ceremony, parents make take their son home provided he has submitted proper leave paperwork. Graduates will need to be picked up at the company area where they will be given final paperwork and pick up their bags. Parents of new graduates will sign their soldier out on a roster for accountability purposes.
Visitors going onto Fort Benning for family day activities or to pick up their soldier after graduation will need a visitor's pass. This can be obtained at the access control point near the Infantry Museum. Guests will need vehicle registration or rental agreement, driver's license and proof of insurance. They should also know the name of their son's company or building number.
Graduations are held outdoors except when raining. Guests should dress warmly during the winter months and be prepared for breezy conditions. During the summer, visitors will want to dress lightly and have plenty of sunscreen and bottled water. Guests may also need to walk some distance to the parade field, so comfortable shoes are a must as is a stroller for infants and small children.
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