European Command Updates R&R Policy
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 16, 1996 Rest and recuperation leaves for Operation Joint Endeavor troops began recently.
Service members can travel to Germany or the United States. They would fly from either Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Taszar, Hungary, and land at either Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt, Germany, or Philadelphia.
Joint Endeavor service members slated for peacekeeping duties over 180 days are eligible for up to 15 days of rest and recuperation. The policy, approved March 21, affects active duty personnel, reservists and DoD civilians deployed to Bosnia and adjacent areas.
According to U.S. European Command officials, personnel assigned in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary may take R&R. Service members may travel in battle dress uniform and must have a leave form and their identification card to depart. Those taking leave may also take one carry-on bag and one checked bag not exceeding 66 pounds.
Army officials said contracting the airlines caused a short delay in beginning R&R flights. However, they added negotiations moved very quickly to award contracts and start the leave program.
Officials said they expect about 235 people per week to fly to Philadelphia and 550 per week to fly to Frankfurt. Flights from Tuzla will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, while flights from Tazsar depart on Fridays.
To help service members before and during their R&R leave, the Army is coordinating several travel services. Carson Wagonlit, a commercial travel agency, is setting up offices in Tazsar and Tuzla to help service members schedule connecting flights from Frankfurt and Philadelphia.
Those heading to Philadelphia will also receive help from the United Services Organization and airport military personnel assistance point. Both agencies will assist service members during their Joint Endeavor furlough.
For those flying to Germany, Rhein-Main is setting up a tent staging area for family members to meet returning personnel. Troops will first enter through the air base terminal, then move to the tent for their family reunions.
Vacationers without family transportation from Rhein-Main will have a couple of travel options. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is increasing its rental car inventory for European travel. Rental cars will also be available at Frankfurt International Airport, collocated with Rhein-Main.
Officials also said the German Federal Railway is offering discount train fares for Joint Endeavor service members on R&R.
One detail still working is billeting space for troops returning to their Joint Endeavor duty stations. Since most returning flights will leave in the morning, officials said there's a need to provide bedding for those arriving a day in advance.
DoD civilians deployed to Joint Endeavor sites may also take up to 15 days' leave and may fly on government transportation. They will not receive extra days for travel. Service members serving less than 180 days in the Joint Endeavor areas are not eligible for R&R leave.
Travelers will receive a booklet prior to departing Tuzla or Taszar that has emergency telephone numbers for use if they need help in returning to Joint Endeavor. The services will also have a 24-hour military control center to handle emergencies. The center's DSN telephone number is 330-6247 and the commericial number from the United States is 011-49-69699-6247.