Soldiers graduating from Basic at Fort Jackson SC who want to get married right away
This was a Post but I have decided to make it a page after numerous inquiries about the Fort Jackson graduation time table and the possibility of getting married after graduating or the next day before the soldiers go to AIT.
Here is the time table for soldiers finishing basic training;
Family Day- this happens on a Wednesday and the soldiers are restricted to the base that day. They will NOT under normal circumstances be able to leave the base that day. However, sometimes the soldiers DI will grant them permission to leave the base to apply for the marriage license. But that is not a given. Your soldier would need to talk to his DI about this. See for more info;
Graduation Day- The next day, Thursday, is graduation day. The soldiers generally get an off base pass for that day after graduation, generally starting at around noon. However, that pass will expire at 8:30pm (2030 military time) that evening if they are traveling by government transportation to AIT. Government transport is REQUIRED if the soldier is attending AIT west of the Mississippi. East of the Mississippi the soldier MAY travel to AIT with their immediate family and they do not have to be back on post by 08:30pm. See more info;
The problem with this schedule and trying to fit a marriage in, is that the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia SC (the one closest to Fort Jackson) requires both parties to apply for the license in person and then wait 24 hours to pick the license up. That means that if you apply for the license on Thursday afternoon when the soldier can leave the post, you cannot pick it up until Friday afternoon. For example , if you applied for the license at 1:00pm Thursday afternoon, you cannot pick it up until 1:01pm Friday afternoon. This will not work because your soldier will already have had to leave for AIT Friday morning.
So, in summary, there really is no way logistically to arrange to get a marriage license and get married on graduation day at Fort Jackson (unless the soldier can get permission to leave the post during Family Day). However….
The one exception…
All counties in SC adhere to the procedure of both parties applying for the license in person first and then picking it up, except Aiken County. Aiken County, SC allows you to fax in the marriage license application and then both of you can pick it up. You can download the marriage application here. What this means is that you can download the application, mail it to the soldier, have them sign it and return to you, and then you can fax it in (at least 24 hours before the Thursday of the graduation). Your soldier can leave the post with you Thursday afternoon and drive down to pick up the license in Aiken County and then you can return to Columbia and get married that afternoon.
One catch. Aiken is 66 miles from Fort Jackson, so technically you are violating the rules about not going farther away than 50 miles from the post while on a pass for that day. That being said, this is the only way I am aware of to get married in SC for a soldier on the day they graduate from basic training.
Any questions, call me at 803-446-3405.