Fort Jackson Army Trainees fly home for the holidays

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) —

Trainees at Fort Jackson are making their way home for the holidays.

According to Leslie Ann Sully with Fort Jackson, together more than 6,000 basic training trainees and advanced individual training soldiers are leaving their post to be with family and friends for the holidays.

On Monday, over 200 trainees will be flying out of Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Staff Sergeant Terrick Thomas says the holiday break has provided the trainees with a little extra pep in their step.

“They’re super excited. You know normally when we wake them up early in the morning, they’re kind of sluggish and moving kind of slow, but when we were getting them off the bus here at the airport, now they’re running so you can definitely tell they’re really excited,” SSG Thomas says.

For Army Specialist Cinthia Coronel and other trainees, extra sleep is something to be excited about as well.

“To have more sleep, to be a little bit more in control of my time. Kind of decide a little bit more how my schedule goes through the day. And of course, first and foremost to see my family and friends,” says SPC Coronel.

The USO provides a place for that much needed R&R while trainees wait on their flights. The USO also offers trainees help with flight plans, food, or just giving the trainees someone to talk to.

The USO’s Center Operations Supervisor Megan Barton says it’s an honor for her and her team to provide the trainees with any help they need.

“Some of them are going as far as Alaska. Some of them are going… not very far away… but I think it’s good to have somebody sending them off and welcoming them back when they get back,” Barton says.

Fort Jackson’s Commander Brigadier General Jason Kelly says time to recharge is just as important as the training.

“Like all things, it’s very important to pause. Especially this time of year. Not only are we going to take that break and re-energize ourselves but we’re gonna reflect on all that we’ve accomplished this past year and as we prepare to go into the next calendar year, we’re gonna do so having paused,” BG Kelly says.

And to help him recharge, BG Kelly says he and his family will enjoy a nice cruise out of Miami, Florida.

He has a special message for all of the trainees and soldiers at Fort Jackson, saying, “I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a very prosperous New Year, and look forward to seeing you all back at Fort Jackson…soon.”

The trainees will enjoy a little over two weeks off before returning to their post.

Categories: Local News, Midlands Military Matters