Basic Military Training grads celebrate first Thanksgiving as Airmen

  • Published
  • By Annette Crawford
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The 708 Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training Nov. 25 enjoyed their first Thanksgiving in uniform at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility here Nov. 26, 2020.

It was also their first meal during their seven and a half weeks at JBSA-Lackland in which they were allowed to talk, relax and have more than 15 minutes to eat. As several members of the leadership team in attendance noted, they were a group of “very happy Airmen.”

Col. Michael Newsom, commander of the 737th Training Group, which encompasses all of BMT, was on hand to greet and congratulate the Airmen in the very same DFAC he ate in when he was a trainee in 1982. He received his commission through Officer Training School in 1996.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd TRS, greeted Airmen as they came through the line. Several stopped to thank Toliver for her leadership and to excitedly share their career plans. Toliver was joined by her superintendent, Chief Master Sgt. Roberto Arteaga; the first sergeant, Master Sgt. Michael Brennan; and nearly all of her Military Training Instructors.

“I asked my MTIs what they were doing here on their day off and they told me, ‘Ma’am, these are my Airmen. I have to be here.’ They are so dedicated,” Toliver said.

The newly graduated Airmen shipped out to their respective technical training schools Nov. 27.