More than 6,000 Ft. Jackson basic training soldiers heading home for the holidays

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From Patrick Jones/Fort Jackson

“Home for the holidays,” is the theme for thousands of the soldiers in Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson in Columbia. But they will head home for the holidays on Monday. The national forecast shows nearly half the nation has a high probability of waking up to a White Christmas. The soldiers do not return until Jan. 2, to resume training.

Many Soldiers in Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training begin departing the post Monday for “Fort Jackson Victory Block Leave 2017,” to spend the holidays with families and friends.

Fort Jackson transportation planners and travel offices have worked for months to plan a smooth departure for more than 6,000 soldiers who will travel by commercial airlines, buses, trains and, in some cases, with family members by privately owned vehicles.

Commercial buses will begin leaving Fort Jackson early Monday for airports in Charlotte and Columbia and departures will continue through early afternoon Dec. 18. A smaller group of Soldiers will travel by bus for departure from the Columbia Amtrak station.

Anyone traveling by air will encounter much higher than normal congestion, especially at hub airports as military personnel in training from all services head home for the holidays.

Fort Jackson will have cadre at the Charlotte and Columbia airports who will oversee the movement of Soldiers, ensure proper behavior, assist with processing through security, ensure Soldiers board the proper transportation for home and again when they return, conduct presence patrols and ensure they identify and take care of any Soldier who becomes delayed or stranded.

Approximately 350 Soldiers will remain at Fort Jackson through the holiday period. The holdover battalion for those Soldiers not traveling during Block Leave is the 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment.

Soldiers will begin returning to Fort Jackson the day after New Year’s and they must be back by midnight Jan. 2.

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