FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - Soldiers in basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill are on their way home for Christmas. They hit the road on Tuesday night for the post's annual Holiday Block Leave, which is a chance to see their family and friends before they graduate.
Going home was a two-hour process for the trainees. They had to get their bags checked, confirm they had everything, go to the correct group, and get on the bus that will take them home. Basic trainee, Tyrel Warpinski is taking a bus for 48 hours home to Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"I'm looking forward to spending quality time with my family, playing a few video games with my cousins, and eating good food," Warpinski said.
While the other soldiers were waiting to leave, they watched Christmas movies and had snacks provided by the USO. Warpinski has been at Fort Sill four weeks and said one of the biggest changes he's seen in himself is that he's standing up taller.
"My dad will pick up right on that because I might stand as tall as he is," he said.
Colonel Lee Overby said he hopes they share with their families pride about being a soldier.
"What they've accomplished so far and everything they've learned such as Army values and what it takes to be a soldier in today's Army," Col. Overby said.
While these soldiers are excited to go home, Col. Overby said they haven't earned this leave yet and it's really for cadre members.
"Over the course of the year, out of 52 weeks of the year, 50 of those weeks we're conducting training for the basic trainees," Col. Overby said. "So, this is our only opportunity for the cadre to take some well-earned leave."
He said the real challenge for those in basic training is when they return and Warpinski knows that.
"If I have enough self-discipline, it should help me because it will allow me to pass my BPFT physical training test easier," Warpinski said.
Around 160 trainees are staying on post and have various activities they can do while they're here. Some of them will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl this weekend to see the Army play.