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Weekend America Series

Weekend Pass

The men and women serving in the U.S. military usually don't get a regular weekend like the rest of us. But when they do get a little time off, how do they spend it? Weekend Pass is our ongoing series about how American service members -- and the private contractors who support them -- let off steam and enjoy their downtime, here in the United States and abroad.


  • Seeking R and R in Qatar

    Four soldiers in Qatar

    In the old days, U.S. soldiers stationed abroad would be let loose for a few days to let off steam. But that's not the case right now in Middle Eastern combat zones. Not only does the U.S. military completely prohibit alcohol, but soldiers never leave their base for fun because they could be targeted anywhere.

  • Wild Kabul Nights for Civilian Security

    Private security contractor trains Afghans

    There are an estimated 30,000 private security contractors providing security in Afghanistan. Aid workers and even U.S. Embassy personnel depend on the private guards for their safety. With tensions escalating and the Taliban on the offensive, how do these private contractors chill out? We sent reporter Gregory Warner to find out.

  • Fleet Week in New York City

    Opening day of Fleet Week

    It's Fleet Week in the Big Apple, the setting for the latest installment of our Weekend Pass series -- stories about time off in the military. Reporter Kelly McEvers checked out how New Yorkers take to men and women in uniform -- and found the soldiers, sailors and Marines a lot more philosophical than you might expect.

  • For Some Sailors, Too Much Liberty

    Donna Renae serving in the Navy

    Fleet Week reminds Donna Renae of the old days. Renae served on a Navy ship in the '80s, just as the Navy was starting to let women serve onboard alongside men. She says being a woman among men on shore leave was something she can't forget -- even if she'd like to.

  • Liberty Ashore in Dubai

    Looking forward to liberty

    Thousands of U.S. military personnel take a break from duty in the Middle East in the clubs and shopping malls of Dubai. It's a port-of-call with some of the comforts of home -- including alcohol -- but soldiers, sailors and Marines are encouraged to enjoy "liberty with a purpose."

  • Downtime in Anbar Province

    Wii Time

    Now that the violence has lessened in Iraq's Anbar Province, soldiers are getting creative with their downtime on the base: video games, golfing and lots of chewing the fat. Adam Allington brings us their stories.

  • A Hug on the Way Home


    Soldiers returning home from war through Dallas Fort Worth airport are landing in the arms of two strangers. Linda Tinnerman and Constance Carman give out hugs upon re-entry.

  • 'Coon Hunting Back Home

    Matt Blakemore is a 28 year-old staff sergeant

    When U.S. Army Sergeant Matt Blakemore isn't in Iraq or Afghanistan, he likes to relax by hunting raccoons, aka 'coons. While on leave, Sergeant Blakemore goes hunting five times a week, often with fellow soldiers. Independent producer Michael May joined them in Killeen, Texas, before they headed back to Iraq.

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