As of this moment, I have been to three military graduations, all from basic training; two have been Naval graduations; while this last one has been from the Army. I wanted to comment on the basic procedure as well as the (in my opinion) lack of security on a military installation.
The two Naval ceremonies I attended were quite some time ago, and I would have to say, the Navy does security better than the Army. I will not at this time mention the names of the bases I have been on, but will tell you I needed to provide ID for all. For the Navy ceremony, you drive up to the gate, present your ID then follow the line of cars to the parking area. You are told where to park, then you get out of your car and follow the line of people to the graduation facility. There you get in a line (much like the lines at an amusement park) and wait until you are allowed to enter the facility. When the graduation is over, you go outside to meet your sailor; there are only certain places you are allowed to go. Once you leave the base (usually with your sailor) you are not allowed back on. When you return your sailor, you drop him/her at the gate, likewise if you go to pick them up again, you also pick them up at the gate.
The Army post is totally different. You present your ID at the gate, then you have free rein anywhere you want to go on that post. The day of graduation, we drove onto the post and there was no-one directing you where to go; in fact we stopped a couple of times for directions but no-one told us where to park etc. We stood outside the facility that was housing the graduation, waiting for our graduates to appear. There was a different battalion holding their graduation and as soon as the doors opened; people waiting to go inside starting entering the facility; while people from the current graduation were trying to exit the building. Two different times, someone came out and asked people to wait, but there was no-one enforcing the order.
The biggest difference between the Naval base and the Army post, was the return of our soldier. We drove right up to the barracks and stood outside while they were all called to attention; they were required to dumped out everything they had purchased (checking for contraband) and the drill sergeant walked around poking at the purchases with his foot.
I was really surprised by the fact that you could wander around the Army post with no instruction or guidance. I would have to say, I enjoyed the Army graduation because the graduating class was small and much more intimate, but I would have to say the Navy base has better security.
And can anyone tell me WHY there are no inspection of vehicles entering a military facility?