Army trainees leaving Fort Jackson for holidays

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) -- The Army's largest training installation is sending about 8,500 soldiers home for the holidays.

The troops are leaving Fort Jackson on buses, trains, aircraft and private vehicles.

Those who are in the midst of the 10 weeks of basic training, as well as the advanced individual training courses, are getting about two weeks off. The soldiers are to return on Jan. 4.

Approximately 200 soldiers stay on Fort Jackson through the holiday period. A special battalion is established to ensure the soldiers are cared for and enjoy the holidays with entertainment and specialty foods.