Basic Combat Training Graduation

Fort Jackson, South Carolina
October 16-17, 2019


Jay and Joyce traveled to Columbia South Carolina on October 16th to be present the next day for the graduation of Joseph Gardynik from Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson.

It was a long drive, about five hundred miles one way, but we arrived in time to be with Karri‘s family and Joseph for a pizza dinner and to learn about some of the highlights of Joseph’s 10 weeks of rigorous training.

Our accommodations that night were at a Hampton Inn, which was nice and had a very good breakfast to get us on our way the next morning.

The next morning we got moving early. We learned that there were 1,123 graduates in the class. The ceremony was held on a very large parade field that had covered bleachers. We estimated that they were about 4,000 friends and family there to watch the ceremony and they came in about 2,000 cars, which meant traveling around the base was mostly at about 2 miles an hour, but that was okay.

The guest speaker for the day was a Command Sergeant Major, and he asked the crowd of proud parents and others if they had noticed any change in their soldiers. Of course the crowd went wild because all of the graduates were certainly more mature and they looked very smart indeed in their uniforms. He noted that the soldiers had been through a lot of training and that one part of their training was how to make a bed. The CSM observed that evidently many parents had had 15 years to train their soldier how to do it and failed, but his Drill Sergeants did it in 15 minutes. That brought a great laugh. There was a band and the graduates marched smartly as they passed in review.

After the ceremony we congratulated Joseph again, took some pictures, said out good-byes to his family, and headed back to Tampa; another long drive.

Karri drove her son Joseph up to Fort Lee, Virginia, where he would undergo about 12 weeks of Advanced Individual Training to be a wheeled vehicle mechanic.

Although the trip up and back was pretty strenuous, it was nice to see so many proud Americans who certainly supported their Armed Forces.


(Click on any picture to enlarge it.)