Training group prepares to experience exodus
By Senior Master Sgt. Michael Bullington, 81st Training Group
/ Published December 09, 2014
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Have you have seen the previews for the latest "Exodus" movie?
Admittedly, I don't watch a lot of movies, but this one looks to be epic--with lots of big name stars, great costumes, and wonderful special effects. It looks so real that you practically believe you are right there, experiencing it all.
Though I am in no way advertising for this movie, I find the timing to be great since Keesler will soon be having its own version of Exodus, and everyone will be able to experience it right here.
Exodus is what we call the mass departure of non-prior service Airmen for the Christmas and New Year holiday time period.
This year, Exodus will take place Dec. 20 -Jan. 3. During this time, approximately 1,500 technical training Airmen will have departed to locations throughout the United States to experience the holidays with family and friends.
However, Exodus means more than just a mass departure of personnel; it also means a lot of time and preparation. Airmen throughout the 81st Training Group, wanting to leave for the holidays "on a good note," will be doing all that they can to finish out their coursework with high standards.
Military training leaders also have a huge role, too. Our MTLs, to include the Guard and Reserve liaisons, brief the Airmen on a list of actions that must be taken prior to their departure. These include the ever-important purchase of the travel tickets and submission of leave requests. As such, no Exodus experience is complete without proper planning and preparation.
To be best prepared for Exodus, Airmen should buy any shuttle tickets and airline tickets well in advance. By the way, did you know that NPS Airmen are authorized to purchase non-reimbursable and non-refundable airline tickets for their holiday travels? It's true, and it is less expensive. It's also true that shuttles run to and from both the New Orleans airport and the Gulfport airport.
While shuttle travel times start as early as 3 a.m., travel by privately owned vehicle is allowed 6 a.m. - 1 p.m. For T-shift Airmen, POV travel times are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Here are some final instructions for Airmen prior to departing for Exodus:
- Out-process with your MTL prior to departure
- No POV travel on Jan. 1, unless approved by the flight chief.
- Airmen must return no later than Jan. 3, 2015.
Remember, classes start back Jan. 5.
So, is that it? Not entirely, there is more to the Exodus experience for some.
While many Airmen depart the local area during Exodus, some Airmen stay behind. Among the many things MTLs do to prepare for Exodus, the MTLs also work to consolidate all Airmen who choose to stay behind into one dormitory to conserve heating and other resource costs. During this time, these Airmen still get to enjoy some time off, while also playing a vital role in aiding various organizations across the base during their duty day. In fact, the earlier the requests for these Airmen are submitted by requesting organizations, the better.
During this time, Airmen will be happy to know that the dining facility will not be closed.
Regardless of whether you experience Exodus at home with family, here on base in the dorms, Exodus should be a great experience; a time to relax, a time to reflect and a time to recharge for the New Year ahead.
Happy Holidays to all, and enjoy your Exodus experience!
For more information on holiday hours, visit http://www.keesler81fss.us/images/HolidayHoursDec2014.pdf