The scramble to go on leave during the holidays is always a pain for everyone. There’s the arduous process of having to submit your leave request via MOL (and typically anything involving MOL is an awful experience). There’s the last-minute leave block dates, which are unfortunately much more flexible than they should be. Being stationed in Hawaii, everyone had to buy plane tickets to go home. You can’t drive across the Pacific, and the longer you wait to buy your ticket the more expensive it would become. Even just as a Marine from the west coast, tickets from Hawaii usually ran about $400-600 depending on how far in advance you could buy it.
This never stopped the command from telling you, “The dates aren’t set in stone, don’t buy your ticket yet.” They would keep this mantra going until about a week prior, when prices had already skyrocketed. If you’re lucky, that date wouldn’t shift and morph and you’d be able to go home trouble-free to spend the holidays with your family. They plan the training schedule up to months in advance, but for some reason whenever it comes time to give a leave block they can’t lock it down until the last minute.
For those of you that don’t know what a leave block is, it’s basically the allotted time your battalion or company will give you to take leave. Grunts generally don’t get to take leave outside of a leave block unless it’s an emergency.
In other news, we had a pretty awesome VetNet panel yesterday courtesy of Google+. If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the whole thing here!