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NEWS | June 16, 2022

BMT graduation restarts tradition, returns to parade field

By C Arce 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

More than 670 Airmen and their military training instructors restarted a basic military training graduation tradition on June 9. For the first time in 825 days, graduation returned to the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Parade Field.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, graduation events were held at the Pfingston Reception Center. Last week’s graduation also marked the return to two-day graduation events. The Airmen’s Run and Coin Ceremony & Retreat are held on Wednesdays at the PRC and graduation is on Thursdays at the parade field.

The 433rd Training Squadron was the first to once-again march down the historic “bomb run.”

“Those 679 graduates, their MTIs and leadership teams were celebrating the accomplishments of the 433rd Training Squadron, but they were doing more than that,” said Col. Jeffrey Pixley, 737th Training Group commander. “As they marched proudly down the bomb run in front of their families and loved ones, they weren’t just restarting a tradition, they were making up for the more than 70,000 graduates over the past two years who didn’t have the opportunity to participate in this important part of the BMT experience.”

The graduation also held an MTI mass formation to honor Col. Rockie Wilson, 37th Training Wing’s former commander, who relinquished command June 10. The formation is a sign of recognition and respect, and is also the highest honor the MTI Corps can bestow upon an individual or group.

“I have attended more than 100 BMT graduation parades, and each one was special, but I sensed a little more pride among the graduates on Thursday and I felt a sense of homecoming for the MTIs,” Pixley said.

Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, 2nd Air Force commander, reviewed the graduation ceremony.

Visitors should follow the USAF BMT Facebook page and www.basictraining.af.mil for the latest official ceremony and entrance requirements.