Morale: Ticket to Anywhere


October 17, 2007: Every American soldier going to Iraq or Afghanistan gets 15 days leave in the middle of a 12 month tour (18 days if it's a 15 month tour). The army provides free round trip travel from Iraq (Kuwait, actually) to anywhere in the world. Recently, as troops are in a second or third tour, they realize that they would relax more if they didn't go home. Now, between ten and twenty percent of those taking the leave, are going somewhere else. Australia and Europe are favorite destinations. Sometimes the troops arrange to meet the family, or a girlfriend, at the alternate destination. The problem with going home, as many discover, is that the family is often not on vacation with them, and the "vacation" turns into a grind, as domestic matters are tended to, and visits to, or from, many kin, eliminate a lot of opportunity for relaxation.

What troops really want to do on these R&R (rest and recreation) trips is, well, just rest, and maybe recreate a bit. More are doing just that, as the percentage of those going somewhere besides home heads for 20 percent, mainly among the half of the troops that are not married.


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