Deployment R&R program reaches one million participants
A Soldier participating in the U.S. Central Command Rest & Recuperation leave program walks through a crowd of greeters at the Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport. The program has reached about one-million participants.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 7, 2010) -- The Army will celebrate sending one million servicemembers on Rest & Recuperation (R&R) leave from combat zones Jan. 11, with ceremonies in three international airports.

The U.S. Central Command R&R leave program, which began in 2003, sends troops deployed in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom on 15 days of leave when on orders of at least 270 days. Those deployed for 15 months are eligible for up to 18 days of leave.

CENTCOM sends servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians back to the United States or to the destination of their choice from Kuwait International Airport and picks up the tab.

"It gives them a break from combat operations," said Lt. Col. David Homza, G-1, the chief of R&R policy for the program. "It refreshes them."

Homza added that R&R gives servicemembers a chance to relieve stress and it improves the operational readiness of units.

On Jan. 11, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Kuwait International Airport will hold celebrations marking the reunion of Soldiers with family and friends for the one-millionth time.

Planned activities in Dallas include appearances by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, the NFL Legends and the CEO of United Service Organizations. The Atlanta airport will host the Atlanta Hawks cheerleaders, members of the Atlanta Thrashers NHL team, a Coca-Cola sponsored singer and the Army Ground Forces Band along with other entertainment.

The group being heralded as having the 'one-millionth' participant won't be a particular unit, but rather a flight flagged for the title. Activities will be held in Kuwait as the one-millionth servicemember leaves the country, and the same group will be celebrated upon arrival in the States.

On average, the Army sends two chartered flights per day out of Kuwait, which either land in Dallas or Atlanta, passing through Shannon, Ireland or Leipzig, Germany, carrying a total of about 550 servicemembers per day.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16