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Basic Military Training grads celebrate first Thanksgiving as Airmen

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Col. Michael Newsom, commander of the 737th Training Group, which encompasses all of Air Force Basic Military Training, speaks to two Airmen eating their Thanksgiving meal at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Newsom reminisced about his own meals in the same dining hall when he was a trainee in 1982. He was commissioned through Officer Training School in 1996. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Airmen from the 322nd Training Squadron work the drink line at their Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. Two Airmen from each flight assist with drinks as their flights go through the line. This was one of the changes made due to COVID-19, and cuts down on the number of contact points in the line. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, speaks to two Airmen at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, greets an Airman as he comes through the line at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airman was one of 708 who graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, speaks to three Airmen at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Airmen from the 322nd Training Squadron who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, enjoy their Thanksgiving meal Nov. 26. They shipped out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. The Airmen were able to relax and talk -- something they had not been able to do their entire seven and a half weeks in BMT. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Hungry Airmen go through the line at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Servers await the next wave of hungry Airmen celebrating Thanksgiving at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

This worn podium top at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility has likely seen thousands of trainees pass by during their stint in Basic Military Training. Thanksgiving Day 2020 was no exception, as 708 Airmen who had graduated BMT the day before enjoyed a more relaxed meal than they had in several weeks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

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.

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Basic Military Training grads celebrate first Thanksgiving as Airmen

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Col. Michael Newsom, commander of the 737th Training Group, which encompasses all of Air Force Basic Military Training, speaks to two Airmen eating their Thanksgiving meal at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Newsom reminisced about his own meals in the same dining hall when he was a trainee in 1982. He was commissioned through Officer Training School in 1996. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Airmen from the 322nd Training Squadron work the drink line at their Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. Two Airmen from each flight assist with drinks as their flights go through the line. This was one of the changes made due to COVID-19, and cuts down on the number of contact points in the line. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, speaks to two Airmen at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, greets an Airman as he comes through the line at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airman was one of 708 who graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Lt. Col. Shamekia Toliver, commander of the 322nd Training Squadron, speaks to three Airmen at the 322nd TRS Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from BMT on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. Toliver and several members of her staff were on hand to greet and congratulate the newly graduated Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

Airmen from the 322nd Training Squadron who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, enjoy their Thanksgiving meal Nov. 26. They shipped out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. The Airmen were able to relax and talk -- something they had not been able to do their entire seven and a half weeks in BMT. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Hungry Airmen go through the line at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their first Thanksgiving meal in uniform at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on Nov. 26.

Servers await the next wave of hungry Airmen celebrating Thanksgiving at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Nov. 26, 2020. The Airmen graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25, and enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training on Nov. 25 enjoy their Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 26 before shipping out to their respective technical training bases on Nov. 27.

This worn podium top at the 322nd Training Squadron Dining Facility has likely seen thousands of trainees pass by during their stint in Basic Military Training. Thanksgiving Day 2020 was no exception, as 708 Airmen who had graduated BMT the day before enjoyed a more relaxed meal than they had in several weeks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Annette Crawford)

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.

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