Proudly Serving Those Who Serve

At RDU, we’re proud to support our military. As North Carolina is a state with many military connections, we routinely serve those stationed at Fort Bragg, Pope Army Air Field, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Marine Corps Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point Naval Air Station among others. Plus, we also serve many more local national guardsman and others who travel through RDU each year.

Our primary partner for providing service to veterans and active duty military is the USO of N.C. Since 2004, the USO has operated a center at the airport. This Veteran’s Day, we want to share some of the ways that RDU and our partners serve our military.

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A soldier chats with a volunteer in the USO in Terminal 2.

USO of N.C. RDU Center. Nearly 2,000 service members, veterans and their families pass through the USO of RDU Center in Terminal 2 each month. The airport’s USO is similar to an airline club and provides a warm, relaxing atmosphere to military and their members who are traveling through RDU.

Inside the USO, guests to the USO find complimentary computers with Internet access, snacks and beverages, a kitchenette, a living room with HD TV’s and overstuffed recliners, a changing room and children’s play area. Access the USO to the left of Starbucks in the Terminal 2 Ticketing Lobby.  Learn more about the USO of N.C. RDU Center.

"Millitary Tuesday" at RDU.

“Millitary Tuesday” at RDU.

Military Tuesdays. If you happen to come through RDU on a Tuesday afternoon, you may find yourself surrounded by hundreds of Army or Marine Corps personnel. That’s because Tuesday is a huge travel day for soldiers and marines completing training courses at either Fort Bragg or Camp Lejeune. Therefore, we’ve nicknamed this momentous movement of troops “military Tuesday.”

Airport Authority staff and USO volunteers meet the service members at the curb as they step off of a convoy of busses. They’re given extra assistance checking in with the airlines, which also brings on extra staff to assist. Afterwards, USO volunteers provide snacks, travel assistance and all of the services of the USO Center before the service members pass through security and on to their flights.

An Honor Guard prepares for a planeside ceremony.

An Honor Guard prepares for a planeside ceremony.

Honor Guards. One of the most poignant and moving events at RDU is when a fallen solider travels through the airport. On these infrequent occasions, the USO arranges an honor guard to meet the fallen service member and provide a meaningful and respectful transfer through the airport or to a vehicle to complete their final journey home.

Airport staff and the USO also provide escorts for family members to be present for the transfers, when possible. Our Fire-Rescue department provides a water-arch salute upon the aircraft’s landing or departure, and the USO honor guard performs a ceremony plane side, which is sometimes viewable from the concourse above.

Expedited Screening. The Transportation Security Administration offers a number of expedited screening programs at RDU, one of which benefits military service members. All members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, can benefit from TSA’s Pre-Check program.

Service members are automatically enrolled when using their Department of Defense identification number when making flight reservations. Accompanying family members age 12 and under can be processed through the expedited screening as well. When traveling in uniform, military service members can keep their footwear on unless it alarms during the screening process. Learn more about TSA screening benefits for military members.

About Andrew Sawyer

Andrew Sawyer is the External Communication Specialist for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and is the main writer for RDU’s website, electronic communication and airport publications. He’s also the primary face behind RDU’s social media channels. Andrew also assists with many other things, from media relations to event planning. In fact, he has an advanced degree in "other duties as assigned."
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2 Responses to Proudly Serving Those Who Serve

  1. Lewis R. Eccleston, Sr says:

    Why doesn’t RDU offer free parking for disabled veterans like Houston International airport?

    • Thank you for your interest in Parking services at RDU International Airport. At this time, the Airport Authority does not offer a discounted rate for members of the military, veterans or disabled veterans. RDU International Airport is self-sufficient and is not funded by tax dollars to cover the cost of operating, constructing or maintaining our facilities. Our fee and funding structure does not provide free parking for any members of the public. In regard to Houston International, each airport has its own funding system, operating structure, and policies. RDU serves a large population of active and retired military members with our proximity to the many military bases in eastern North Carolina. To show support to active military members, their family members, and veterans, the Airport Authority established the USO Center in Terminal 2. The Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Visit RDU.com and type USO in the search box). While this is not the answer you were seeking, your request has been shared with our team that regularly reviews services and amenities for our passengers. Thank you for your service to our country.

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