JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron supplied transportation for approximately 5,000 trainees as they left for the holidays Dec. 23, 2021.
But this year, for the first time, they are providing transportation on their return trip. The annual event, known as “Exodus,” allows Airmen the opportunity to spend the holiday season with their families and loved ones.
The operation is no small feat in terms of coordination.
“It encompasses all installations within Joint Base San Antonio, so students in training at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, -Camp Bullis, -Lackland, and -Randolph are all going home on Christmas leave,” said William Cope, 502nd LRS contracting officer representative supervisor. “The numbers start to climb pretty quickly.”
Since trainees usually buy tickets for their home trip a few days before the operation starts, the operation does not have a great deal of time for planning.
“Ticket sales continue until about Dec. 14 and transportation begins Dec. 18,” Cope said. “That only leaves a couple of days to build a plan.”
Cope said his team has the experience and ability to handle these challenges, and the benefit to the trainees is significant.
“Getting to go home and see their families obviously helps with morale and welfare,” Cope said. “They know they’ll have a safe, efficient trip to the airport and back.”
Cope is also thankful for the help and cooperation he has received from the San Antonio International Airport.
“They have been so accommodating,” Cope said. “From the meetings we have had, they have worked with us to make sure these trainees get processed, no matter what time they show up.”
For the work they do, the 502nd LRS also has a built-in reward as well: “Some of the most fun is seeing the trainees get on the bus,” Cope said.