Friday of Graduation weekend held the main event: the Graduation Parade at 9:00am. Before the parade began, they held a ceremony for trainees who had earned certain physical training achievements. They also had a ceremony for Airmen who had trained to be Military Training Instructors (MTIs) aka drill instructors. That was cool to see because although they are the people who make BMT hell for the trainees, their job is a very important one. You have to volunteer to be a MTI, and most do it because they feel so strongly about making fantastic Airmen out of new recruits.
The Graduation Parade was pretty awesome to watch. They announced where each flight was standing; Michael's flight was just to the right of the flight holding all of the state flags so it was easy to remember where they stood. The flights marched by right in front of the bleachers, and because Michael was right on the end, I was even able to pick him out of the group!
After the parade, I had to go find Michael again, though it was much easier that time since I knew exactly where he was standing. His mom and sister got to see him for the first time after the parade which was exciting for everyone. Pam and Neil and the boys came to the parade as well which I'm sure was exciting for them, seeing the ceremony from the stands this time!
We did a little photo-op with the new Airman by a plane (if anyone knows what this plane is called, please let me know!).
That morning we also got a tour of the dorm that Michael had been living in for the past two months. He had drawn me a rough sketch of what it looked like in a letter a few weeks ago, but it was cool to see it first hand. I am proud to say his hospital corners and general tidiness were very impressive. (His was the bottom bunk).
I also had to take a picture of the water fountain in the hallway of their dorm. There are lots of rules that the trainees had to follow that many of us would find useless--such as not using the water fountain in the hallway. The sole purpose of that rule, along with not getting to use certain trash cans, was to teach the trainees to follow every order, no matter how trivial it may seem.
After the dorm tour, Michael had "town pass" which meant he could leave base. In hopes of bypassing the heavy traffic that was bound to be leaving base, we ate lunch on base and browsed the souvenir stands. I have to say, Lackland is probably a very wealthy base with all the families of graduates that come in each and every week!
For the rest of the afternoon, we mostly hung out in our hotel room with Michael's friend Wil and his mom and sister. Suddenly being able to move around freely, talk to family, and leave base was all a little overwhelming for Michael, so we chose to keep it low key. So low key in fact, that we all took naps!
To top off the night, we ate at a fantastic authentic Mexican restaurant frequented by the locals called Chacho's. It was great food at very cheap prices--what more could you ask for?