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NEWS | July 7, 2021

The Air Force Starts Here Podcast: Guests return to BMT graduation

Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

In episode 53 of The Air Force Starts Here podcast, we discuss the decision to open Air Force basic military training graduation to guests starting July 22.

Col. Jeffrey Pixley, commander of the 737th Training Group, joins Jennifer Gonzalez, AETC public affairs, and speaks about balancing the risk to mission, force and community. 

“We often get asked if BMT will return to normal. The answer is no, we are ‘returning to better,’” Pixley said. “While we can’t wait to see family and friends fill the stands of our Pfingston Reception Center again, we have to do this is in a methodical, safe manner in order to secure the safety of our training pipeline.”

In March 2020, the Air Force suspended attendance at mass gatherings, which included BMT graduations. This was done to combat the coronavirus and protect the basic military training pipeline, as Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is the sole site for Air Force BMT.

Current entry requirements to access BMT graduation include:

  • Each graduating trainee will be allowed to invite two guests only (infants and children are considered a guest).   
  • All visitors must be fully vaccinated (last shot plus 14 days) according to current CDC guidelines, and must show proof of their vaccination (i.e., the vaccine card); photos or copies will not be accepted.
  • All guests of trainees – including Department of Defense ID cardholders – MUST be on the visitor list to enter the ceremony. No exceptions will be made. Trainees will provide their guests the required information to access the installation and ceremony.
  • Graduates will have the opportunity for on, or possibly off-installation, liberty following the ceremony to spend time with their guests.  In order to mitigate risk to other trainees and cadre, trainees will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate in off-installation liberty.  All other trainees will be able to spend that same time with their families on JBSA-Lackland.

BMT graduations are scheduled for every Thursday at 9 a.m. Central time. Opening day is subject to change if local conditions and COVID-19 protocols change.

For continual updates follow USAFBMT on Facebook or visit their website at

If you cannot attend the graduation, remember it streams live on Facebook for free. If you do get the chance to go, be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, bring sunglasses, and wear comfortable shoes.

Here are additional helpful details:

Access to Installation and Ceremony

The Ceremony

Liberty following graduation


The COVID protocols outlined in the information will be adhered to in order to maintain a culture of safety and to mitigate risk to the force, the mission and the community. Leaders at the 37th Training Wing, along with their mission partners, continuously evaluate conditions and adjust COVID policy as conditions improve or degrade. Information will be updated if/when conditions change.

Basic Military Training is conducted at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, known as the Gateway to the Air Force. All Air Force BMT is conducted here.

The Air Force Starts Here podcast is a professional development podcast designed to help communicate and inform Total Force Airmen across the globe on relevant, timely topics related to the recruiting, training, education and development fields. The podcast can be listened to on the government network on the AETC website, DVIDS, or via mobile application as well as on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.