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'Welcome Home' program for US troops comes to an end in Dallas

Larry W. Smith / EPA

Troops exit the airport marking the last Rest and Recuperation (R&R) flight at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday. The Army is officially closing the DFW Personal Assistance Point hub to service members returning from over seas, traveling between the United States and Iraq and Afghanistan.

Larry W. Smith / EPA

Troops exit the airport in Dallas, Texas.

Larry W. Smith / EPA

Troops wait outside on the curb for their bus after exiting the airport.

Charles Hadlock of NBC News reports that volunteers have welcomed home soldiers in Dallas from each of the 2,700 chartered R&R flights since the very first one on Nov. 2, 2003:

Sgt. Hank Slaughter, 47, who returned from Kuwait earlier this month after serving in Iraq, smiled and shook hands with each of the 50 strangers who had come to greet his flight.

“This is great.  This is definitely more than I expected to see,” said Slaughter.

When Slaughter mentioned that he didn’t have a ride to his home, volunteer Pat Brown, 80, offered to take him.  “He’s from Fort Worth and I’m from Fort Worth, so I’m going to take him home,” Brown said, laughing.

Soldiers returning home for their two weeks of R&R will now be routed through the Atlanta airport, ending a nearly greeting program run by volunteers at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.