Getting Leave and Passes During Air Force Basic Training

soldiers standing in formation
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During the final week of Air Force Basic Military Training, you will receive passes (free time) to spend by yourself or spend with your family members, if they are attending the graduation events. Some of these passes will be for on-base, and some will be for off-base, so that you can visit the local sites in San Antonio, Texas.


Your first pass will be immediately following the retreat ceremony on the Thursday of graduation week. This will be an on-base pass, and you can go anywhere on Lackland Air Force Base. The pass lasts until about 1930 (7:30 PM). You don't want to be late. I don't know if it would actually happen, but recruits are told they will be recycled if they break curfew. Best not be a "test case."

Ask your loved ones to bring lots of food (especially junk food). Neither of my daughters were "sweet-lovers" before basic training. Both of them were into "health foods." However, a week before graduation, I talked to my daughters on the phone, and they asked me to bring food, any food, but make sure I brought lots of "junk food."

After we checked into our hotel, before returning to the Reception Center, we found a grocery store, and a drive-through Chinese Restaurant (China Rose, located on Military Drive, just north of Hwy 90). Between the grocery store and China Rose, I bought 2 quarts of fried rice (one quart of chicken, one of beef), a cheesecake, an apple pie, a package of cookies, a 12-pack of coke, and two chocolate pudding "snack packs." My thoughts were to give my daughters a wide choice and save any leftovers for the next day.

What leftovers? Zero, nada, zip, nothing!

Friday and Saturday

Your first off-base pass will be on Friday, following the graduation parade and open house. You can go anywhere in the San Antonio area. If you do not have friends and family attending the graduation events, there will be buses available to take you downtown (and back), however, if you're going "solo," you must have a "flight mate" with you at all times.

When my daughter's graduated, there was only one off-base pass, and they wanted to go to the Mall (they didn't buy anything -- they just wanted to look around. Some things, not even basic training can change). After the mall, they just wanted to spend the rest of the time laying around my hotel room, with a long, relaxing, hot shower, and a few hours of TV and talk.

Whatever you decide to do, you have to be back at the dormitory by 1930 (7:30 PM). Don't be late. Don't even think about being late. On Saturday, there is a second off-base pass. You'll be released to the reception center around 0900 (9:00 AM), and must be back in your dorm by 1930 (7:30 PM).


If you wish, your visiting loved ones can attend church services with you on Sunday morning. Following church services, you're released for an on-base pass. If you won the Warhawk fitness award, you'll get another off-base pass. Regardless, curfew on Sunday is usually 1800 (6:00 PM), because you need to pack up and get ready to out process from basic training first thing Monday morning.


The Air Force doesn't grant leave (vacation) following Air Force Basic Military Training. On the Monday following graduation, you'll out process from basic and proceed directly to your technical school. Your first leave will be upon graduation from technical school, before heading to your first duty assignment, or a 10-day period around Christmas, whichever occurs first.