Military stories from past to present, both wars.

“I’ll be home for Christmas”

December 24th, 2008 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

our awesome 5K sled for Xmas in TQChristmas with Marines at BAMCOn the road with my airlineChristmas in TQ5K run at TQ“I’ll be home for Christmas”

For the first time in 10 years, I will be home for Christmas this year. See, Santa always shows up early for Airline pilots and Military personnel who are on the road serving somewhere in the world during this holiday, at least, that is what I tell my kids. Having resigned to the fact that I would be gone each year, I made a promise to myself to have as much fun as I could and share the joy of Christmas with the other poor souls stuck with me on this awesome holiday. I can remember the fresh snow of a Salt Lake City Christmas Eve, walking down from our hotel to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing in Temple Square back in ‘98. Then there are the non eventful nights in a hotel in some random city across the US, where everything is locked up tight and I’m left to watching Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a wonderful life” and switching back to “A Christmas Story” during commercials wishing I had a Red Ryder action pump BB gun.

Christmas in Iraq during December 05, is a memory that I won’t soon forget. I asked folks to send their old sweat shirts over for a big 5K that my office put together on Al Taqaddum Airbase. Through some connections with the Engineers, we were able to have a sleigh built that fit on top of a gator, you know, one of those six wheel machines to lead the run. We mapped out a route that took us down the main runway of TQ Christmas morning and into the ceremonial clamshell hanger for coffee, hot chocolate and sweets. That was a great time and one of those things where we took a potentially lonely and hard situation and made it fun for a couple of hundred folks who got up to hang out with us that morning. Of course, all made possible by the unlimited support I had from the states!!

Then the next year, I spent Christmas in San Antonio Texas just down the street from the Brooks Army Medical Center “BAMC” where the best burn unit in the world is located. If you are wounded and burned in Iraq or Afghanistan, within 24 hours, they will have flown you to Texas where immediate treatment begins. It’s truly amazing, the work they are able to do and the lives they have saved there. A friend of mine was the OIC there for the wounded Marines in BAMC, so he picked me up in my Dress Blues that I carried for three days and let me visit all the men there from a Lt. who was about to be discharged to a Lance Corporal who had just arrived four days before. You realize the strength and courage of our young men when they are faced with impossible situations in life such as the disfigurements that the IED left them. Even with everything against them, they are positive and upbeat.

These are memories of Christmas past that come to my minds eye in a flash. We as a country are not at war, but our military is and as we sit around the table tomorrow, please hold hands and say a prayer for our guys and gals still over there away from their families sitting on some FOB or base in Iraq and Afghanistan during this Christmas season. I pray that it’s a peaceful non eventful night for our troops and to my brothers over at Camp Eggers and the Embassy in Kabul, we are thinking about you daily! To all of you who by chance read this, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year in 2009!

Semper Fi,

Taco

PS, Christmas came early for my friend, Gunny John, he was promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant, so be sure to go visit his site, write on the right.blogspot.com and say congrats

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