Fort Sill seeks community support for Adopt-A-Soldier Christmas program

By Christopher WilsonNovember 6, 2023

Fort Sill, 2021 Holiday Block Leave
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 2,000 trainees with 434th Field Artillery Brigade, Basic Combat Training, packed, lined up and prepared to board a bus or get into a car to go home for the holidays Dec. 16, 2021 at Fort Sill. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Fort Sill holiday exodus begins
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Spc. Valerie Kurgan, a basic trainee with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery, get a surprise visit from Santa Claus while waiting to go home Dec. 15, 2022 for holiday block leave. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SILL, Okla. (Nov. 6, 2023) — This Christmas, Lawton-Fort Sill community members are being invited to extend their family tables to include Soldiers in the Adopt-A-Soldier program, a Fort Sill tradition described as a crucial support system for trainees during the holidays.

Chaplain Capt. Chris McCarley, the program’s coordinator, expressed the essence of the program: "It's a great opportunity for the Lawton, Fort Sill family and friends to host our trainees... We're asking anybody who's active duty, National Guard, DOD ID cardholder that wants to volunteer to send me an email, and we'll get them an application to fit them with two to four trainees in their home for Christmas Day."

The program not only provides Soldiers with a warm place to spend the holiday but also contributes significantly to their mental health. McCarley notes, "For their mental health and the break that they get, to have a little sense of normalcy at Christmastime, it's huge. It pays off dividends for them while they wait out the rest of the holiday block leave timeframe."

Interested hosts are vetted through an application process. "We'll get the applications and start vetting them, looking through who has the right credentials... It will depend on how many trainees that we have that will actually stay behind of how many host homes that we're going to need," explained McCarley.

The program is rooted in tradition and underscores the importance of community support. McCarley added, "This is a whole new change for a lot of these young Soldiers... it's just a connection to the community and allows them that sense of normalcy."

Participants in the Adopt-A-Soldier program must strictly observe TRADOC regulations throughout the duration of the Soldiers' visit. This means no activities that could pose a safety risk, such as riding ATVs or shooting guns, and prohibitions on alcohol and tobacco use will remain in effect. Additionally, while gift exchanges are a cherished part of the holiday experience, they must be modest. Chaplain Capt. Chris McCarley has confirmed that any gifts given to Soldier guests should have a value of $20 or less to comply with the program's regulations.

Fort Sill's Adopt-A-Soldier program thus stands as a testament to the base’s commitment to the well-being of its Soldiers and the strength of the surrounding community.

Those interested in applying should email McCarley at