**Prior to making any travel arrangements, please review Fort Leonard Wood's installation access procedures. Due to the current pandemic and other security intelligence, there are restrictions in place that may impact your travel plans.**
Missing your service member and excited to celebrate his or her graduation, but not sure where to start? If so, we have you covered. We offer multiple flights per day between Chicago and Fort Leonard Wood, making your journey to graduation an easy one. Continue reading below for all you need to know about flying into Fort Leonard Wood, including what to pack, installation etiquette, and more.
Currently, we offer 1-2 daily round trip flights to and from Chicago on United Express, operated by SkyWest Airlines. United Express allows you to easily book your ticket from anywhere around the world directly to Fort Leonard Wood. United Express jet service provides seating for up to 50 passengers on each flight and with a direct flight to Chicago, United Express connects WSRA passengers with 978 daily direct flights to 179 U.S. cities and approximately 74 daily direct flights to 54 international destinations. United Express is connecting the Fort Leonard Wood Region with the world.
While in Chicago, active duty service members traveling with a United itinerary are invited to use the United lounge for free on the day of their travel.
United Express operates under United Airlines' baggage policy. You can read about carry-on baggage, as well as checked baggage for general passengers and military passengers by clicking here.
**May currently be impacted by Fort Leonard Wood's COVID-19 restrictions.**
Once you arrive on Fort Leonard Wood, you will be able to quickly claim your bag. Although it’s a small, rural community, the distances between the airport, hotels, and graduation locations are generally out of walking distance. We have the number for taxi service available in our terminal, but if you’d like to prepare ahead of time, you can do some research on Fort Leonard Wood Region taxi companies here.
WHERE TO STAY:
There are many places to stay in the Fort Leonard Wood Region, including hotels both on and off-post. Even if you choose a hotel outside the gates, you’ll still have easy access to Fort Leonard Wood, as well as other restaurants and shopping.
On-post hotels are exactly what they sound like - hotels located right on Fort Leonard Wood. If you come from a military background and have your own military ID, this might be a great option for you. If you do NOT have a military ID, staying on-post depends on current security guidelines, but generally it isn’t a problem. You can make a reservation at the hotels on post whether you have a military ID or not. You can click here for a list of hotels on Fort Leonard Wood or call: 1-877-711-TEAM.
One piece of advice about staying on Fort Leonard Wood...these hotels book up FAST! If you know when you’ll be in the area, make your reservation early.
There are several great hotels in the area surrounding Fort Leonard Wood and there are options for a variety of price points. Some hotels are close to restaurants or even have restaurants attached to the hotel. When you make your reservation, make sure to ask about an included breakfast, amenities - like a pool or hot tub - and information on their standard cancellation policy.
PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT:
If you’ll be in the area for a military graduation, think about what you’d be comfortable wearing to church and go that route. Your new Soldier’s Drill Sergeant will be in attendance, as well as his or her spouse and possibly other senior leaders and their spouses. It is a small Army and you’ll probably see these people again. It’s usually better to be safe than sorry.
One other quick tip, remember to test every outfit first by sitting, standing, jumping, and running in it. It has been awhile since you’ve seen your Soldier and you’re going to want to get to him or her quickly, so the last thing you want is to trip and fall as you’re trying to reach your Soldier.
Don’t forget a jacket and umbrella. Our Midwest weather is known to change in an instant. Be prepared for weather changes with these items.
You can also check out our blog post about packing for graduation for a number of other helpful tips and information.
Often times, family and friends also provide their graduating service members with a gift to celebrate Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, or One Station Unit Training graduation. If you need some gift ideas, we can help you out with our list of basic training graduation gift ideas.
For those who haven’t been on a military installation, including an Army post, in awhile or who have never been on an installation, you may notice a few things that are different...namely, there are a few etiquette rules everyone should at least be aware of. We highly recommend checking out our list of U.S. Army installation etiquette tips that might help you steer clear of some embarrassing snafus.
The Fort Leonard Wood website has also recently been redesigned and is incredibly helpful for those who are traveling to the area for graduations or just wanting to track your service member’s progress through training. They have unit graduations listed on their homepage, as well as popular links that many military families and friends find useful.
FORT LEONARD WOOD SECURITY:
Installation security at Fort Leonard Wood works hard to keep everyone, including your Soldier, safe. Being knowledgeable, aware, and prepared are the keys to ensuring you aren’t delayed at the gate when trying to get onto Fort Leonard Wood for graduation events or your flight.
Security protocol changes from time to time based on security intelligence. We highly recommend always checking the official Fort Leonard Wood website and contacting Fort Leonard Wood security personnel directly to ask questions or find the information you need to access the installation.