JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
“Are you ready to join the ranks of the world’s greatest air and space forces?”
On a chilly Texas morning, Defense Logistics Agency Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas challenged the Air Force’s newest Airmen and Guardians during their military training graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Jan. 6.
In a spine-tingling response, the nearly 500 trainees simultaneously shouted the U.S. Air Force’s motto “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” as their loud response echoed throughout the large outdoor parade field.
“Today represents a new start in our new year and a start of a journey,” Canlas, the graduation reviewing officer, told them. “This journey will be hard and challenging, but anything worth doing always is. I can also tell you, it will be incredibly rewarding.”
Every Thursday, except three non-accession weeks, an average of 650 Airmen and Guardians graduate from basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and officially start their Air Force or Space Force careers.
“You are joining an organization that values teamwork, dignity, respect, and inclusiveness,” Canlas said. “If this kid from the Philippines can make it to one-star general, I know the sky is the limit for you. I can’t wait to see where you will bring us in the future.”
Canlas graduated from high school overseas in the Philippines and was commissioned in 1992 as a distinguished graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned his pilot wings in 1994 and is a command pilot with more than 4,400 hours in the C-21A, KC-135R and C-17A.
“The Air Force has been a huge, fun adventure that has been both personally and professionally rewarding,” Canlas said. “Each day, I have the honor of serving side by side with some of the finest citizens our country has to offer — people who are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. This creates camaraderie and a sense of teamwork found nowhere else.”
Fifteen formations of “flights” performed a long-standing military tradition Pass in Review, respecting Canlas with an “eyes right” drill command salute, before returning to formation to receive their Airman's Coin. The coin ceremony signifies the end of Basic Training and marks the official transition from trainees to Airmen.
The ceremony concluded with the Airmen singing the Air Force Song, reaffirming their Oath of Enlistment, and reciting the Airman's Creed.
During his visit to JBSA, Canlas met with the 37th Training Wing Commander Air Force Col. Rockie Wilson; visited the 320th Training Squadron and toured the Erwin Airman Training Complex; and visited the 344th Training Squadron, Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence.
The 320th and 344th Training Squadrons are both subordinate units of the 37th Training Wing, which is the largest training wing in the U.S. Air Force. It consists of four training groups and graduates more than 80,000 students annually. JBSA-Lackland is referred to as the “Gateway to the Air Force.”