Fort Eustis soldiers head home for the holidays

Soldiers out of Fort Eustis are headed home for Christmas as part of “block leave.”

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Soldiers out of Fort Eustis are headed home for Christmas as part of “block leave.” It’s something that happens every year around the holidays, when Fort Eustis and its dorms close for Christmas.

This will be the first time many of them have been home since they left for Basic Training.

“It almost seems unreal how long I’ve been away,” said Private Matthew Harrison. “Seven months now, it’s surreal being able to think about this time tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with my family.”

The USO director for Newport News Williamsburg International Airport told 10 On Your Side soldiers had been arriving to the airport since 1 a.m. and they didn’t expect the last soldier to head home until 9:45 p.m.

Soldiers waiting for their flights were treated to food, games and even USO comfort dogs.

For some, the leave might not be as long as they hoped, but it’s a much deserved break.

“”It’s a tough job, said Private Joseph Baleto. “I’m only in training, but it’s still being away from the family and now I’m just going back it’s really exciting.”