SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE (KAUZ) - Thousands of airmen at Sheppard Air Force Base packed their bags to head home for Christmas Thursday night for holiday exodus. It is the day airmen training at SAFB leave for their two-week holiday break.
"Exodus is so special because for a lot of airmen it's their first break," airman Luke Vandenbogaed said. "They get to go home and see everyone they haven't seen."
SAFB Tech Sgt. Matthew Brown said seeing family at home is something most of them do not get many chances to do.
"When you get the opportunity to be there for Christmas and get the opportunity to spend New Years with your family you make the most of it," Tech Sgt. Brown said.
He also said when he was training at SAFB he never got to go home during holiday exodus. Although he does recall his first time going home after enlisting as unforgettable.
"I was able to go home and see my folks. it had been about eight months since I've seen them. I'll still remember getting to spend that time with them especially before deployment," Tech Sgt. Brown said.
Around 4000 airmen left the base during holiday exodus that is almost double the amount of last year...
"The technical training instructor, the military training leaders, the civilians that work on base all come together to volunteer tonight to help us move all these airmen in less than 12 hours," Tech Sgt. Brown said.
"They surprise their family so that's really cool to hear their stories," Ashley Stewart an employee at the Tickets and Travel Office on SAFB said. "Some of them are getting married. some of them are proposing really a ton of exciting stories."
Vandenbogaed said he is forward the most to showing his brothers some love.
"It's really to see my brothers and see they're sitting at home and I'm out there doing something," Vandenbogaed said jokingly.
Meanwhile Tech Sgt. Brown said he cannot wait to see his niece who calls him 'Uncle Crazy.'
The airmen who chose to stay on base will be treated to a big Christmas dinner followed by fun activities that are sure to keep them entertained.
Newschannel 6 will also want to see how you and your family are spending Christmas this year so post your photos on our Facebook page this weekend and on Christmas day.
You just might see your photos right on one of the newscasts.