Thousands of Soldiers Leave Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in Holiday Exodus

Thousands of Soldiers Leave Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in Holiday Exodus

Going home for the holidays, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was teaming with thousands of soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood.

It was all part of the the annual Military Holiday Block Leave that kicked off at midnight Wednesday.

Allman Reporter Aisha Khan was at the airport bright and early catching up with the men and women who protect our country.

Aisha almost caught Private Second Class Ragland Ronriquez of Virginia on camera as he tried to catch up on his sleep.

"I was dreaming about holding my daughter," Ronriquez said.

A little smile flashed across the soldier's face as the young father who's been away for five weeks doted on an image of his three-year-old little girl.

"She asks everyday where is daddy where is daddy and I'm going to surprise her," the soldier said.

And a surprise home visit to San Diego is also, what private Christiana Garcia had been planning on. She said that her two girls had no idea that she's on her way home.

"I will probably cry because this is the first time I ever left them," she said.

Garcia and about 5000 other soldiers who have been training at Fort Leonard Wood get two weeks to go home for the holidays.

"I just want to be at home and just do regular things," Garcia added, "eat breakfast together watch TV and just doing the small things together honestly."

Surprising their families seemed to be a common theme among the military men and women seen who were scattered across the airport.

After six months, Private Second Class David Abildgaard was going home to his three kids in Texas.

"I am really eager to go and see them and even though I will only be there for a few days I am going to enjoy every moment of it."

With so many soldiers going to their destinations at different times, a lot of them had plenty of hours to kill in between.

Some spent it sleeping, others listened to music and some like, Jaret Reed of Carson City, Nevada were staying glued to their cellphones.

"I've been here since 2 o'clock this morning," Reed said, even though his flight wasn't leaving until 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The 18-year -old has never been away from his family but he said that the long wait will be worth it.

"Seeing my family and the food," Reed said, "I missed the normal food so much and it's different but the brotherhood of the Army has really helped."

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