mynavyguy - Graduation from A-School isn't as big of a "hoopla" as graduation from Boot - it is VERY informal in comparison. There are no programs or greeters at the door and the dress is from casual to dressy. The whole thing takes less than an hour - and that includes the Sailors walking across the platform to receive their certificate and the "pinning of the badges," as well. (And don't forget - Your Sailor can choose who pins the badge on them).
Liberty or Leave will depend on what phase your Sailor has achieved and whether or not they are scheduled to be on duty - they may have watch or patrol, so you'll need to check with them to make sure of their schedule. (If they're not scheduled to be on duty, you may be able to spend time with them ON base during their Liberty if they haven't phased up)
Hope that helped and didn't confuse you more! ;)
Here is the scoop on MA graduation at Lackland.....
Stay in an area half way between the airport and the base. It is called Ingram Park area. Most anything there would be better than those closer to the base.. Don't stay at hotels near the base. On the base would be great, but hard to get a reservation. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, near the hotels near the base....dangerous area, taxis took forever, no stores or restaurants. You can't walk anywhere. I spent a fortune on taxis. There is a Harley Davidson store in Ingram Park with several hotels and restaurants within walking distance. I would choose one of those hotels. I would rent a car next time....It was $50 everytime I got in a cab.
Ok, enough of the bad issues. You will want to go to the visitor center at the Military Rd. gate on the LEFT. You and your taxi driver will need day passes. You will enter the base on the RIGHT gate of Military Rd. Once on base, turn right for 1/2 mile. The building name is Carter Hall....The outside of the building says Security Forces Academy (or something like that). Enter the building and immediatly to the left is a door to theatre type room. This is where the ceremony is held. It was about 45 degrees in there...dress warm. It was a lovely ceremony and lasted about 45 minutes. They held it up waiting for last minute families to arrive. Photos are encouraged and the staff was very friendly.
A School is 7 weeks, but that is after the Sailor classes up. Some class up right away and some may be there a week or two before classing up--seldom more than two weeks. Check out the other discussions, especially Break down week by week, for more information. As far as Independence Day, they will be off on the 4th, but I don't believe that they will be off other weekdays that week. Your Sailor will know his schedule once he arrives at Lackland.
I stayed at LaQuinta Inn, which is located right across from the base on Military Drive. I booked through Priceline and they accepted my bid for $45 a night for double occupancy, which brought the total cost to just under $60 for the night. I don't know that I would book through Priceline again because you don't know which hotel in the area will accept the bid, but it worked out for me this time. My Sailor was at the Gateway Inn and checked out Thursday night and stayed with me since my room had 2 double beds. This allowed us to leave more quickly after his C School graduation since we just had to go to one hotel to get things and he was also with me so I didn't have to be concerned about finding the right place.
The room was roomy and comfortable, although the bathroom was a bit small. The only thing I did not like is that when I arrived, I was told there was no room and was offered a room at another LaQuinta Inn location down the road. The clerk indicated the night would be free if I took that. As I was considering it, a manager came in and indicated that 2 rooms would soon be available if I wanted to wait. In the meantime, another couple came in and the poor wife almost had a nervous breakdown right there when she was told there was no room for the night due to some people deciding to stay over another night. I hugged her and explained to her that I was in the same situation, but there might be 2 rooms coming available if she would just wait even though the clerk was offering her the room at the other location. The manager came back and indicated that both rooms were ready and we were checked in. The poor Air Force family member was still almost in tears and very much upset about being told there was not a room when she had booked weeks ago. I don't understand why the clerk told that couple there was no room instead of telling them there would be a short delay. Anyway, it all worked out and I hugged her again and wished her, her family, and her Airman well.
The room was not 100% clean due to the rush, but it was serviceable and worked for the night. They do offer complimentary breakfast, but my Sailor wanted to eat at Subway on base instead, so I don't know how good the breakfast at LaQuinta Inn would have been.
We went and got my base pass Thursday evening, which helped make things faster for getting on base Friday.
C School graduation, like A School graduation, is very short. The graduation and my Sailor's frocking took just over 30 minutes total. The Sailors had to pick up their orders and turn in their hotel receipts afterward, but we were leaving within 15 minutes following the ceremony.
Popular places in the area are the Riverwalk, SeaWorld, San Antonio Zoo, and the Alamo. Many Saiors are ready to leave by the time graduation comes around, so if you want to see any of those, you may wish to go down before graduation.
i have a question for someone. after graduation what do the sailors do? can they come back home with us or do they stay down in texas a little longer. i also heard a lot of people get set back. is this true?
If your Sailor has his orders (and they usually do), he most likely will have opted to take leave between "A" School and his first duty station and he can leave with you after graduation. It's rarely more than one or two out of each class that gets set back and sometimes not even that many.