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Joint Base San Antonio suspends public attendance for non-mission essential mass gatherings, to include BMT graduation

The women of flight W039, 3707th Squadron, of 1979, and their families, attend the U.S. Air Force basic military training graduation parade, Oct. 18, 2019, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Families attend the U.S. Air Force basic military training graduation parade, Oct. 18, 2019, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) --

Out of an abundance of caution, beginning March 13, Joint Base San Antonio officials will suspend all guest attendance for mass gatherings that are not deemed mission essential, to include basic military training coining and graduation ceremonies to reduce potential spread of COVID-19.

“Each year, about 40,000 Airmen march across the parade field with up to 7,000 family members in attendance each week for the momentous occasion,” said Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander. “Gatherings of this size increase the possibility that the virus could be transmitted to our training population. We realize families want to show support to their loved ones and they will be disappointed they can’t participate in the graduation events, but we have a responsibility to protect not only our Airmen but those citizens they will come in contact with as they travel to their follow-on training locations.”

“It is our responsibility to keep our force, our families and our base communities safe,” said Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander. “These force health protection actions are necessary to ensure mission readiness for our forces and their families.”

JBSA officials will continue to monitor and discuss the situation with medical experts to determine when guest attendance at graduation events will resume.

“This is a prudent decision to protect our people and the community in which we live and work,” said Maj. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing commander. “Infectious diseases don’t respect the fence line and these actions make sense to protect us and our neighbors.”

Basic military training graduation events will be livestreamed via the 37th Training Wing’s Facebook page every Friday beginning March 13 at 9 a.m.

JBSA also has a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 updates.

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