Airman wins flight to be home for holidays

  • Published
  • By Matt Veasley

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – ‘There’s no place like home,’ alludes to an emotional attachment and nostalgic affinity people have for that special place in their hearts. For servicemembers, going home for the holidays may not always be an option due to mission requirements, deployments etc. For one lucky Airman, Operation Home for the Holidays became a reality Dec. 18, 2023.

“When I received the call, I was in disbelief,” said Airman 1st Class Sagelee Nichols, 96th Security Forces Squadron specialist.

Nichols, a Sacramento, California native, became the eighth winner of Operation Home for the Holidays, which randomly gifts an Eglin-area active-duty military member the chance to win a free roundtrip flight home to visit loved ones over the holiday season.

“I even asked the Operation Home for the Holidays representative, are you sure, because I never win anything,” said Nichols, who couldn't wait to tell her mom she would be home for the holidays.

The campaign, by the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, made the dream of going home a reality for seven previous junior enlisted military members in the Gulf Coast area.

“We take great pride in our heritage and our strong military community,” said Tracy Stage, VPS airport director. “It is important to show our support and gratitude, especially during the holidays when so many young service members are far from family.”

This year would have been Nichols first holiday away from home since joining the Air Force in 2022.

“Wanting to protect my family is one of the main reasons why I enlisted in the Air Force,” said Nichols. “To be able to see them and visit in person for the holiday means everything to me and I am forever grateful.”