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Soldiers In Training At Fort Leonard Wood Will Get Holiday Leave Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Fort Leonard Wood, taken 7-26-19
Jonathan Ahl
St. Louis Public Radio
The front gate at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri's Ozarks. Soldiers will be allowed to go on holiday leave despite coronavirus and travel concerns.

Fort Leonard Wood is moving forward with plans for holiday leave for its soldiers, despite concerns about the coronavirus and travel.

The two weeks in December known as block leave provides a rare opportunity for entry-training soldiers to leave the post and see their families. It will go on as planned but with new precautions.

Brig. Gen. James Bonner, commander at Fort Leonard Wood, said the leave is more important than ever this year.

“The operational tempo of our team in 2020 makes block leave vital to the well-being of our people. We must take care of the physical, mental and spiritual health of our military, civilians and families,” Bonner said.

Each soldier will be medically screened before going on leave, one of the additional precautions this year.

“Those that are symptomatic will be tested and quarantined, which may delay their travel, but our intent is to get everyone an opportunity to go home for a little while, even if not for the entire holiday block leave period,” said Col. Aaron Bohrer, Fort Leonard Wood’s chief of operations and training.

Soldiers will be subject to the same procedures when they come back to the base.

The military is also expecting soldiers to comply with coronavirus protocols and safety measures when they are away from the installation.

Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena said the message to those on leave is: “Make sure you’re wearing your mask and avoid those large crowds the most you can when you’re out visiting.”

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Jonathan is the Rolla correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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