Airline Ensures That Soldiers Make It Home For Holidays

December 29, 2007

Soldiers from the Laredo, Texas based 436th Chemical Company, 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard had been scheduled to train this past week at Fort Bragg, NC, prior to deploying to Afghanistan. Because of the training, none of them would have been able to spend time with their families for Christmas. Due to a delay in their deployment date at the last minute, the Soldiers found out that they would still be in the United States during the holidays.

Thanks to the generosity of Southwest Airlines, who donated 200 tickets to the National Guard this past week, all 171 Soldiers were able to be at home with their families for Christmas. “Operation Home for Christmas” a program through Southwest Airlines siad that because most of the Soldiers in the unit resided in Texas, they donated round-trip tickets from North Carolina to Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

“We’re in the business of bringing people together, said Butch Cope, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines. “So, we decided to bring the Texas heroes home.”

Dora Cortez, who is four months pregnant, waited anxiously, along with other military families and friends on the Sunday before Christmas, for the plane to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, that carried her Christmas wish home. Cortez’s husband is currently getting ready for his second deployment, the first one being to Iraq.

“Southwest saved our Christmas,” she said.

Now that her husband was able to be home, she and her husband can see the ultrasound of their first child together, before he leaves again for North Carolina.

“I just hope he sleeps, eats and smiles as much as possible,” she said.

“This is great,” said Vince Cortez, smiling.

It’s great to see our airlines taking the time to ensure that our Soldiers are able to spend these important times with their families. My hats off to Southwest Airlines for this wonderful gift to our Troops.

Austin American Statesman


2 Responses to “Airline Ensures That Soldiers Make It Home For Holidays”

  1. Leta on December 30th, 2007 5:03 pm

    Now THIS is what American, Patriotism, Freedom, Troop Support, Christmas and just being down right humanitarian is all about.


  2. Twana Blevins on December 30th, 2007 6:04 pm

    Southwest will be my first choice.

    This is a great gift for 200 of our finest families. This is very good to know. Thanks for posting this heartwarming report.

    I will be calling Southwest and thanking them for their mercy and generosity
    shown to our military families.

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