Been trying to get this post written for a while, and a tweet caught my eye today and motivated me to write.
#USArmy Photo of the Day: “Holiday Tour.” http://bit.ly/gEwG88. Tell us about some of the concerts or shows you’ve seen while deployed.
As I was thinking about our deployed alum, the holiday season, and my own experience being deployed during the holidays I wanted to share what it is like. I was also looking for the picture I took of my Thanksgiving plate in the mess hall in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Couldn’t find the pic, but I can still tell the story.
Let me start off with a very recent email from one of our recent grads and recipients of a holiday package.
LT Kathryn Cavan Rogan writes
First of all, thank you so much for the package! I loved everything. I now take my Potsdam pink travel mug to the DFAC in the mornings and get my coffee. And of course I loved the healthy snacks! You all know me so well.
It really means so much that you all take the time to send deployed Soldiers care packages. People in my unit were shocked that my college sent me anything. But it’s hard to understand how special of an ROTC program Clarkson University really is. You treat all of the cadets as if they are family. I have nothing but great memories of my time in Potsdam with Clarkson Army ROTC. I am so proud to have come from this program. I think about you guys all the time. And I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I am being looked at for Captain in January. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting upstairs and having MSG Empey and MAJ Praynor yell at me for who know what reason.
See you all soon! Have a great end of the semester and a wonderful holiday break. I will be home in January for my R&R. I will do my best to come and visit. If not, I should be home before Graduation!
As I think back to my own career two distinct events regarding the Holidays come to mind.
The Holiday Season in 2003 I was in Afghanistan, and I already mentioned the heaping Thanksgiving meal plate (turkey, ham, yams, crab legs, stuffing, and gravy). There was also the USO show right before Christmas that featured Al Franken, Karri Turner from JAG, Daryle Worley, a couple of Redskin cheerleaders, and Sergeant Major of the Army Tilley’s daughter who sang. On Christmas day we even had a Christmas parade on the base featuring Gators and HMMVWs decorated to look like Santa’s sleigh, and a local who brought camel.
The second event was a little more reverent. Easter sunrise service in the desert of Iraq just after Desert Storm. What struck me most about that day was that it doesn’t take a big fancy church, our Sunday best, and chocolate candy to remember the reason for the season.
So I hope this Holiday season, and more importantly every day you pause to think about those that are serving in harms way. If you’ve got a good story about the Holidays on the frontiers of freedom, or you got a holiday shipment from the GKB leave us a comment.