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JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Soldiers in training depart on annual holiday block leave exodus

By U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence Public Affairs | U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence Public Affairs | Dec. 20, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Starting in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, nearly 3,000 Soldiers training at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence, or AMEDDC&S HRCoE, departed Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston via the San Antonio International Airport for their Holiday Block Leave.

This annual event allows U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Soldiers, who are stationed on Joint Base San Antonio completing various Army medicine training courses, the opportunity to spend the Holiday season with their families and loved ones.

For many trainees in courses like Advanced Individual Training or the Basic Officer Leadership Course, this leave is their first opportunity to return home after joining the military. They are returning to their communities as representations of the Army.

“Holiday Block Leave is a great opportunity for the students to reset and refocus, spending time with their family and friends during the holiday season,” said Col. Shauna Snyder, commander, Medical Professional Training Brigade. “The students return with a renewed focus and motivation to complete their training and move on to that first unit of assignment.”

While spirits are high because of the season, safety is the top priority. A 100 percent accountability of AMEDDC&S HRCoE Soldiers is paramount, before Holiday Block Leave, or HBL, and upon return.

“The entire HBL process is amazing to witness, with an incredible amount of teamwork required to get our Soldiers home to family and friends,” Snyder added. “The phenomenal support from the community of San Antonio is key to success in this operation, along with the dedication of the leadership and cadre.”