09:02 AM

DFW International Airport Unveils Plans For Conclusion Of "Welcome Home A Hero" Program

Army consolidating troop arrivals in Atlanta; Volunteer mission to serve troops at DFW continues with USO

DFW International Airport has unveiled plans for the end of the “Welcome Home A Hero” program, highlighted by twelve days of organized welcomes for the final Rest and Recuperation (R&R) flight arrivals. The United States Army last month announced that it would end the daily R&R charter flights into DFW and close its Personnel Assistance Point (PAP) at the Airport, consolidating the program into Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Army announcement signaled a conclusion to the daily “Welcome Home A Hero” volunteer greeter program that has welcomed every R&R flight since June 2004. 
The final R&R flight arrival at DFW is set for March 14, and the last departure is scheduled for March 30.
Starting March 3, designated volunteer groups will be asked to turn out to greet a flight arrival on specific days so the U.S. Army and program organizers can thank them as they welcome our heroes. The greeter schedule is as follows:
  • Youth and Scout groups – Saturdays, March 3 and 10
  • Church groups – Saturdays, March 3 and 10
  • Businesses – Sunday, March 4 through Friday, March 9
  • Veterans and biker groups – Sunday, March 11
  • Cities and chambers – Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13
  • Final R&R arrival event – Wednesday, March 14
“These final daily greetings give us a chance to pay tribute to the thousands of volunteers that carried out this remarkable mission at DFW Airport,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. “The overwhelming amount of support delivered to our troops at DFW over the past eight years will be forever remembered, and our mission to support the troops that continue to transit through DFW will continue indefinitely.”
For the final month of R&R departure flights, troops will be treated to lunches at the Terminal B manifest area, under the coordination of the USO. For information, contact the USO at 972-574-3933 or cbaloglou@uso.org.
The USO facility at DFW Airport will remain in operation serving troops, even after the end of scheduled R&R charter flights. Troops will continue transiting through DFW individually or in small groups on their travels between the United States and the theater of operations in the Middle East, and will continue to receive enthusiastic support at DFW.
“The thousands of remarkable community volunteers who worked so hard on behalf of our men and women in uniform will continue to look for opportunities to serve our military heroes,” said Jim Crites, DFW executive vice president for operations. “We have seen a tremendous outpouring of support from our neighbors, and they will continue to support the troops and the USO here.”
The “Welcome Home a Hero” program has been nationally recognized as a model for civic participation and grew into one of the largest public service projects in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  
Since June 14, 2004, “Welcome Home A Hero” program volunteers have greeted over 460,000 inbound soldiers transiting through DFW on their way home for two weeks of rest and recuperation (R&R) from active duty in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Hundreds of local organizations and more than 10,000 individual volunteers have greeted about 2,700 incoming flights during the life of the program.
Counting a ten-week period of R&R flights that started in 2003, DFW will have hosted R&R flights from the U.S. Army’s Human Resources Command for a grand total of 2847 days, or about eight years, by the time flights end.
By The Numbers: Welcome Home A Hero Program
  • U.S. Military R&R flights originally began at DFW November 2, 2003 and ended January 17, 2004
    • 76 Days, or 10 Weeks and 6 Days
  • U.S Military R&R flights resumed June 14, 2004 and will end March 30, 2012
    • 2,847 days of flights (or 406 weeks; or 7 years, 9 months and 17 days)
    • Arrivals will end on March 14, 2012
    • Departures will end on March 30, 2012
  • Totals:
    • 2923 days of flights (416 weeks; or the equivalent of 8 years)
    • 2700 flight arrivals
    • 2700 flight departures
    • 5400 total sorties 
  • About 920,000 soldiers have been greeted while arriving or departing at DFW
    • 460,000 arriving soldiers
    • 460,000 departing soldiers
    • Average of 158 soldiers per flight per day
  • More than 10,000 individual greeters
  • Hundreds of community and corporate organizations
    • Offices/companies/corporate groups
    • Veterans groups
    • Community groups
    • Church groups
    • Youth groups & Scout troops
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • North Texas Commission
  • Colleyville Chamber of Commerce
  • USO – DFW Airport
  • Defenders of Freedom