In full fatigues and Santa hats on their heads, soldiers from all over the world blasted aliens and shredded guitar riffs at an Oklahoma City arcade Monday as part of Soldiers Day Out.
The annual event put on by the Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. offers soldiers stationed at Fort Sill in Lawton who have no nearby family or are unable to return home for the holidays a day of fun in the metro area — full of food, museums and, of course, video games.
The soldiers began with breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel before visiting the 45th Infantry Museum and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, playing arcade games and laser tag, and then finishing off the day with barbecue at Earl's Rib Palace.
Many of the participating soldiers are in Oklahoma to complete their basic training. During basic training, the young men and women very rarely are allowed to use their cellphones to call home, let alone see family or spend a day away from Fort Sill.
Pvt. Benjamin West, who is six weeks into his training, said the day was a welcome change of pace. West, 26, is an Arizona native who joined the Army after growing tired of toiling in the desert heat as a construction worker.