U.S. Army Milestone: 1 Million Soldiers on R & R

Linda Tinnerman, a USO volunteer, greets Soldiers arriving at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at the start of their Rest and Recuperation leave, Jan. 11.

One Million served and counting best describes the CENTCOM Rest & Recuperation Leave Program’s mantra as the program hits a major milestone – its 1 millionth traveler.

“The program provides our service members the opportunity to get away from the stresses associated with their missions and focus on family and friends,” said chief of R&R Policy in Army G-1, Lt. Col. Dave Homza.  “We accomplished this significant milestone with the help of the great Soldiers, civilians and contractors who run the Personnel Assistance Points in Kuwait, Atlanta and Dallas.”

Since the program began in 2003, it has proven itself extremely beneficial in helping Soldiers return to theater refreshed and ready to finish their tours, thus improving unit effectiveness, said Homza.

“The fact the Army has reunited 1 million service members with their friends and families serves as a testament to the Army’s commitment to the overall well-being of our force and demonstrative of how important we feel it is to offer Soldiers respite from battle,” said Homza.

Commemorations kicked off Jan. 11 at the Dallas Fort/Worth (DFW) International Airport, the Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and the Kuwait Gateway.  The commemorations highlight the service of military and civilian personnel and their Families who have sacrificed tremendously in defense of our country.

It is also a chance to recognize the many military, civilian and volunteer individuals and organizations that support our Service Members and the R&R program 24/7. Their efforts are indispensible to the success of the program.  The ceremony provides an opportunity to focus attention on this good news story and highlight our Nation’s commitment to our deployed military and civilian personnel.

Approximately 550 service members fly home on R&R leave daily as they take part in the R&R Leave Program.  Two aircraft fly troops from Kuwait City International Airport to two gateways in the United States, one in Atlanta, Georgia, the other in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.  There is no cost to the Soldier for the roundtrip airfare, nor is the Soldier charged any leave time while in transit.  Leave begins when Soldiers set foot at their leave destination.

View a photo slideshow of the Soldiers’ return.

View video of Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff of the Army,  welcoming the one millionth servicemember.

View video of Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Dowd, commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, talking about the importance of having one million R&R passengers and commemorating that with a ceremony.