About ten-thousand soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood have gone home for the holidays–all at once.
Business manager Jane Weixelbam (wexel-baum) with the Fort’s World Class Travel office says ticketing started three months ago. Seventy-eight shuttle buses took about 4,500 soldiers to Lambert-St; Louis International Airport early yesterday morni8ng. Nineteen Greyhound buses took several hundred more who didn’t want to fly or didn’t need to fly to their destinations. She says about 5,000 troops left in personal vehicles or with family members who had gone to Fort Wood to pick them up.
The soldiers have been at the fort for basic training or advanced infantry training. This is the first trip back home for them..
The airport is usually a pretty empty place about 3 AM, when the buses delivered the soldiers. Shops and restaurants have been closed for hours. That’s why the USO is so important when about 45-hundred soldiers show up all at once to go home for the holidays. Weixelbaum says the USO is “critical” at those times because it feeds and entertains the troops until their planes leave. [
In two weeks, they’ll do it in reverse. .