Airmen at Sheppard Airforce Base Depart for Christmas Holiday - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Airmen at Sheppard Airforce Base Depart for Christmas Holiday

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Sheppard Airforce Base deployed over 1,300 airmen Saturday morning for its annual 'Holiday Exodus' tradition.

“We’re going to process about 1,300 fairly new airmen, said Sgt. Craig Pope, Senior Master Sgt. And Superintendent of Training Operations at Sheppard Airforce Base. “It’s probably going to be their first time on leave.”

For many of these service members it will be their first time seeing family and friends since starting basic training. The airmen will have two weeks off to spend time with family and friends.

“I do love the military life, but it’s good to get away, see family and everything,” said Airman, Shane Fortune.  “It’s just good to go home.”

Airman Jalen Gordon said he is going to use his time off wisely. “[Eat] a good home cooked meal, [chuckles] a real good home cooked meal. I miss my mom’s home cooking.  That’s something I look forward to and the time that we spend together,” said Jalen.  

“Glad to have mom’s home cooked meal,” said Shane.

Airmen, Rachel Madore said she is headed to New Jersey for Christmas and this year she is the gift.

"My mom doesn't know I am coming, so I am going to surprise her,” said Rachel. “Her boyfriend is picking me up at the airport and then we're going to meet her for dinner and I am going to be there. So I am so excited."

Shuttle buses transported service members to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Dallas Love Field (DAL), and Oklahoma (OKC) airports, where they will then board flights to their chosen destination.

All airmen will return back to Sheppard Airforce Base on Jan. 2 and report back to training on Jan. 3.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6