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Christmas Down Range

My first Christmas in a combat zone was in 1965 in Vietnam when I was a member of the First Infantry Division, the Big Red One. I appreciated this story from the Big Red One in Afghanistan:
The party at Camp Taji included live music, food, and sporting events. It was for the troops from the several Army and AF units stationed there. “Being away from home, especially during the holiday season, we thought it was important to spend some positive, fun time with those of us we have here,” said Brigade Command Sergeant Major Thomson.

Pausing only for a prayer and a performance of “Silent Night” by one of the officers, troops competed in events ranging from volleyball to a horse shoe toss. SSG Joshua Horst said he will especially miss his newborn nephew, but he’ll spend this Christmas with his buddies. “The relationships we develop are a big thing,” said Horst. “We come together to support each other and have fun.”

This is the first Christmas away from home for 23-year-old Specialist Michael Randazzo. The helicopter repairer usually spends the holidays with his loved ones in NJ. While he does not envy his relatives who are braving NJ traffic, Randazzo said he misses everything else. “Christmas is everything to us, almost like a reunion every year,” he said. “Everything is home made. You really can’t beat it. It’s nice to celebrate like this, but it’ll never be the same.”
May God bless and protect these brave ones who are risking their very lives to protect our freedoms. Keep them in your prayers.

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