Basic military training graduations closed to the public to prevent spread of coronavirus

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Every week, around 7,000 guests attend basic military training graduation ceremonies at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Families proudly watch their loved ones reaffirm their Oath of Enlistment and march across the field for a Pass in Review, but JBSA is now closing the ceremonies to the public to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“It was a proud moment and very emotional for us to watch my granddaughter graduate last Friday,” said Norma Cantu. “Her father is in the Air Force and my husband was in the Marine Corps, so she’s following a family tradition of serving our country.”

Little did Airman Madison Cantu’s family  know they would be among the last guests allowed to attend training  ceremonies at Lackland until further notice.

Airman Madison Cantu poses with little brother, Austin Cantu, after BMT graduation ceremony at JBSA-Lackland March 6, 2020/Photo-courtesy of Norma Cantu

“Gatherings of this size increase the possibility that the virus could be transmitted to our training population,” said Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, 2nd Air Force commander. “We realize families want to show support to their loved ones and they will be disappointed they can’t participate in the graduation events, but we have a responsibility to protect not only our Airmen but those citizens they will come in contact with as they travel to their follow-on training locations.”

Basic military training graduation events will be live streamed via 37th Training Wing’s Facebook page every Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. March 13.

“It is our responsibility to keep our force, our families and our base communities safe,” Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander said.

The news comes as more coronavirus evacuees arrive at Lackland for a fourteen-day quarantine.   A group of nearly 100 passengers from the Grand Princess cruise arrived Tuesday night, and another group is coming soon.

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