It’s that time of year again – the holiday season is upon us. Not only do we see decorations and hear holiday music playing all over, but there’s another telltale sign – thousands of TRADOC Soldiers making their way home for the holidays through airports, train stations and bus depots all across our nation.
TRADOC’s Holiday Block Leave program, or HBL, sends more than 40,000 Soldiers from training centers nationwide back to their homes for the holidays. It offers troops throughout the training base – in basic combat training, advanced individual training, basic officer leader courses and many others – a well-deserved break from their initial military training.
HBL is also a chance for our great instructors, drill sergeants and other cadre to take knee and enjoy the season with their families.
This year’s program started Dec. 18, when more than 7,000 Soldiers from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, departed for their leave, most of whom went through Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Thanks to the great support of the USO of North Carolina (and others across the nation), our Soldiers had somewhere to comfortably wait for their flights, hot chow to fill their stomachs, and places to charge the cell phones they were so happy to be reunited with!
A number of the basic trainees represented TRADOC and the Army very ably during media engagements at the airport with various Charlotte, North Carolina, media outlets, as well as a nationally syndicated radio show and Army Times.
Our TRADOC centers of excellence will continue moving troops this week and I encourage you to speak with these young Soldiers, if you see them during your travels. Share your knowledge and experience, and make corrections professionally if they need to be made. These Soldiers are the future of our Army, and they only grow right with the investment of our time and attention.
My wife Claudia joins me in wishing you and your family a safe and enjoyable holiday. Best wishes for the holiday season!
Pictured above: U.S. Army Soldiers currently in Initial Entry Training (IET) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, return home for the holidays during Victory Block Leave on December 18, 2017. Drill sergeants and other cadre assisted and supervised departure operations from Fort Jackson; the nearly 7,000 trainees left from four main transportation hubs, Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte airports, and an Amtrak station in Columbia, S.C. Victory Block Leave will end on January 3, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Roby Di Giovine)