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USO Assists Soldiers Traveling Through RDU Airport

For some military men and women, it can take days to get home for the holidays, while others are stuck flying from one base to another without seeing family along the way. Volunteers at RDU Airport do their best to some cheer to troops passing through.

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USO Lounge
In the middle of the hectic holiday scene at the Raleigh Durham International Airport, there is a place that can be just as busy, but a little more relaxing for special group of travelers.

The USO's lounge is a place where military men and women can stay in comfort while waiting for a flight.

"It was the first time I've ever been to one and it was incredible," said Marine PFC Stephen Sica.

The day after Thanksgiving was extremely busy this year. About 40 Marines had flown in from California and spent the night at the USO lounge, waiting for a bus to take them to Camp Lejeune for training.

"I've got a wife and family at home that I am missing very much, and I'm sure these guys are missing their families just as much," Sica said.

The soldiers traveled through most of the holiday and missed dinner with their families. The USO always serves a big spread and keeps the troops entertained, though.

"They go out of their way to make us feel comfortable here, and its not a bad place to be," Sica said. "Away from home, that's the tough part. The good thing is we get to come here."

In the midst of all the Marines there was a Navy woman. Shaneil Hodge is a new mother heading back to her base in Washington state and flying with an infant for the first time.

"Hectic," Hodge said. "Makes me nervous going on the plane because I don't want her to cry."

Hodge might have needed stress relief room more than anyone else on Friday.

"They always have food for you, and its comfy here," she said. "They make you feel like you're at home."

It's all done through donations and with help from volunteers.

"I guess we all want to tell them that we really appreciate what they're doing," said volunteer Angela Bull.

Those in charge of the USO said they're always in need of more volunteers, food and supplies to keep things running this time of year.


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