NEWS | Oct. 11, 2019

Take an Air Force Trainee home for Thanksgiving with Operation Home Cooking

By Rob Rubio 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

San Antonio area families can express their warmth and hospitality to Airmen and trainees at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland by allowing them an opportunity to enjoy a holiday meal and family atmosphere through “Operation Home Cooking.”

Now in its 44th year, the program provides the opportunity for families to share their traditional Thanksgiving celebrations with Air Force Airmen and basic trainees. Throughout the years, families have generously opened their homes to these young men and women, recognizing that many of them are away from home for the first time.

This program is designed for family participation and not intended for groups. This ensures everyone wanting to participate has an opportunity to do so. Last year, local residents hosted 4,498 Air Force members for Thanksgiving dinner.

Families within the San Antonio metropolitan area may invite two Airmen/trainees as a “General Request” by calling 210-671-5453, 5454 or 3701. To request an Airman/trainee under the “By Name Request” program, you must be a family relative (e.g., mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent or spouse) and live in the San Antonio Metropolitan area.

Exceptions will be for Airmen in the eighth week of training. To request an Airman/trainee using the “By Name Request,” call the same numbers as listed above. Requests can be made weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning Oct. 28.

Reservations are required to host Airmen/trainees (e.g., people can’t show up on Thanksgiving Day “no notice/unannounced” and obtain trainees).

Due to heightened security measures, hosts without a current Department of Defense identification card (e.g., active duty military, retired military or civil service) will require a background check and a visitor’s pass prior to entering the base. Hosts can pick up their visitor’s pass at the Luke Gate Visitor Reception Center off Military Drive (open 24/7) up until Nov. 27.

Once the total number of Airmen/trainees eligible for the program is reached, requests will stopped being taken. The phone lines will remain open until Nov. 27 or until all eligible trainees have been requested, whichever occurs first. Anyone who calls after we reach our total number of Airmen/trainees may be placed on a waiting list and called back if more hosts are required.

Out-of-town relatives who have trainees in basic training that will be graduating during Thanksgiving week may request them “By Name Request” for Thanksgiving lunch/dinner.

Since trainees are not permitted to have personal transportation during training, hosts must pick up “General Requests” at the Pfingston Reception Center, building 6330.

If the Airman/trainee is a “By Name Request,” they will be picked up from their respective squadrons on Thanksgiving Day between 7 and 11 a.m. All Airmen and basic trainees must be returned back to their respective squadrons according to their designated return time which will be no later than 7 p.m. Sponsors should plan accordingly for traffic.