Fort Leonard Wood Graduation is a day that you will never forget, as you watch your recruit become a Soldier in the United States Army. Although fun, graduation can be confusing too, so we have all of the information you need for getting to Fort Leonard Wood, Family Day and Graduation Day layouts and much more.
Getting on base at Fort Leonard Wood
It can vary unit by unit but luckily, most units allow recruits to any number of friends and family to attend so you can bring anyone who wants to watch your recruit become a Soldier.
Getting on to base for Fort Leonard Wood graduation requires an ID and background check. Fort Leonard Wood does not accept state-issued driver licenses for Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington. If your ID is any of these states then you need to bring another accepted form of ID.
If driving to Fort Leonard Wood, you should enter through the main gate. For directions on driving from either St. Louis or from Springfield, check out the Fort Leonard Wood official directions. Rental car agencies are located at the St. Louis and Springfield airports.
If you need transportation from St. Robert to Fort Leonard Wood, Greyhound has a stop just outside the main gate of Fort Leonard Wood. Learn more about booking a Greyhound Bus to Fort Leonard Wood.
What’s the closest airport to Fort Leonard Wood?
Fort Leonard Wood is located just outside St. Robert, Missouri in the heart of the Ozarks.
The closest airport to Fort Leonard Wood is Waynesville – St. Robert Regional Airport (TBN) which is located on base. However, flights can be expensive as it is a smaller airport with less regular flights. We also recommend looking at:
- Springfield – Branson Regional Airport (SGF) – 1 hour 15 minute drive from Fort Leonard Wood
- Lambert – St. Louis International (STL) – 2 hour drive from Fort Leonard Wood
Hotels near Fort Leonard Wood
Trying to figure out where to stay near the base for graduation can be tricky. Luckily, Sandboxx Travel has added the distance from base to all hotel listings, and a team of travel agents with years of experience booking hotel stays for families attending military graduation.
The first hotel we’d recommend is the Fairfield Inn Fort Leonard St. Robert. Located only 2 miles from base, it makes it a perfect place to rest your head in between all those graduation activities. With an indoor pool, spa and gym as well as free breakfast, it will allow you to relax and rates start from $100/night.
We also recommend Comfort Inn Fort Leonard Wood/St. Robert. It’s also only 2 miles from Fort Leonard Wood. Comfort Inn offers an indoor pool and hot tub as well as free breakfast and coffee. Their gym and sun deck mean that you have time to unwind while enjoying all that graduation has to offer. Rates start from $130/night.
Fort Leonard Wood Family Day
*This pertains to those completing Basic Combat Training. Schedules and times vary by company so please check with your recruit before purchasing travel*
Family Day can be more exciting to many than the actual graduation, as it will be the first time in 10 weeks that you will get to see and spend time with your recruit.
It can begin as early as 8am so do check Fort Leonard Wood’s graduation schedule for information as well as the pack you will receive from Fort Leonard Wood in advance of graduation.
Family Day can vary between different companies and units but usually involves some display of what your recruits have learned over the last 10 weeks and an on-base pass. An off-base pass will be at the discretion of the command, but it tends to be uncommon.
Your recruit will also receive instruction as to the appropriate conduct while in dress uniform and when and where they must report back to. Please ensure your recruit arrives back to the designated area in time, if they are late, they may lose their off-base privilege for graduation.
Don’t worry though, there is plenty to do on base. Fort Leonard Wood offers a wide range of dining and entertainment options which can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood’s base directory.
Fort Leonard Wood Warrior Banquets
Since 2017, Fort Leonard Wood has introduced Warrior Banquets on Family Day for certain companies. Warrior Banquets take place at Pershing Community Center on Family Day and Drill Sergeants and Commanders are present.
Families, friends, and new soldiers get a chance to attend and enjoy a meal and a relaxed introduction to military life. Check sign-up to see if your recruit’s company will be doing a Warrior Banquet.
Fort Leonard Wood Graduation Day
Graduations can start at any time between 8am and 1pm so make sure you give plenty of time to get into Fort Leonard Wood as there will be crowds, and everyone has to present ID to get in.
There will be directions to whichever location your graduation is at, be sure to know your recruits company name and number in case there is more than 1 graduation taking place.
Graduations will take place in either:
For more information on where your recruit will be graduating, check out Fort Leonard Wood’s graduation schedule.
The graduation ceremony is an emotional time as you watch your recruit formally become part of the United States Army. There will be marches and cadences as well as some prayers and formal recognition of the top performers.
The national anthem and the Army song will be sung and all soldiers will recite the Soldier’s Creed. Each platoon will go on stage or in front of the stand and each Soldier will announce themselves. Graduation usually lasts between 30 minutes to an hour.
As a rule of thumb, there will be about 2 hours between when graduation starts to when your soldier will be free to leave base with you on graduation day.
Your new Soldier will be given an off-base pass which permits them to leave base on Graduation Day and we’d recommend you do.
Being in Fort Leonard Wood might be exciting for you, but your new Soldier has spent every hour for the last 10 weeks here and will want a change of scenery.
The cities of St. Robert and Waynesville are both within an hours drive and a nice break away from base. Also not everyone has family and friends that can attend graduation and soldiers are not permitted off base without an attendee.
Consider writing to your soldier in advance of graduation and asking if they have any friends who might not have anyone attending so you can sign them out on graduation day.
Please note that similarly to Family Day, your soldier needs to report back at a certain time at Fort Leonard Wood. Even though they’ve graduated, it could lead to repercussions for them so plan on leaving them back to their designated spot at least 30 minutes early to allow time for delays.
Where does my Soldier go after graduation?
Upon graduation from Basic Combat Training, your Soldier will report into Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood or one of the many AIT training centers across the country. The day after graduation is when most will leave or report to their next duty station.
The military will pay and provide the transportation to any AIT training. It is unusual for soldiers to get leave between BCT and AIT unless they attend BCT before graduating from high school.
If your recruit is graduating from One Station Unit Training, they are usually given until Sunday off as an off-base privilege as training restarts on Monday. It is important to check with your recruit as to where they are going for AIT or if they are staying in Fort Leonard Wood so you can arrange your travel plans accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about Fort Leonard Wood Graduation
What should I wear to graduation?
Graduation has no set dress code so you can really wear what you want. Graduation locations vary from outside to inside so if your recruit’s graduation is outside, try to dress to for the weather. Fort Leonard Wood has very warm summers with cool winters so try to check the weather in advance of packing.
Your new soldier will be in their dress uniform and will be looking their best so it can be nice to make some effort too but 10-inch stilettos can probably be left at home as you move around base and the local area. Whatever you feel comfortable in is the most important thing, your new soldier will be thrilled to see you regardless.
Do you buy graduation gifts?
Graduation gifts can be nice but are by no means necessary. Also, bear in mind that your soldier will likely be going on to more training and won’t be allowed to bring an excessive amount with them, anything they need will be provided for them or has to be standard issue. Check out our blog on military graduation gifts for some ideas if you want to buy your Soldier something.
Are there rules about what my new Soldier can do on and off base?
Yes, there are rules about your Soldier’s conduct and etiquette for Family and Graduation Day. Before they are given leave, they will receive instructions on these. Some of the main ones include staying in uniform unless swimming, they are not allowed tobacco or alcohol or any illicit substance, and there is will be a certain distance limit they are allowed to go if they have an off-base pass.
Is there a map of Fort Leonard Wood?
Yes, there is a map of Fort Leonard Wood available for download. However, for Family and Graduation Days, there will be signage and plenty of staff and military on duty to ensure everyone gets to their location to enjoy all that graduation has to offer.
If you have any requirements or special requests regarding access to base or getting around base, you should contact the base in advance to ensure there are no hold-ups upon arrival at Fort Leonard Wood.
We hope you enjoy your new Soldier’s graduation and we wish them all the success during their military career.