Defense

December 30, 2016
 

Mission continues through Christmas

Staff Sgt. Katherine Spessa
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

Members of the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron participate in a white elephant gift exchange Dec. 25, 2016 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The mission continued over the holiday, but service members took time to celebrate the holiday by talking with their families and spending time with their units.

The day began like any other at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The sun rose blindingly bright over the mountains. Security forces members grabbed their coffee and their body armor on the way to their patrol vehicles. F-16 Fighting Falcons thundered down the flightline for their quick climb into the sky. 

What marked this day as different were the holiday decorations, lovingly sent from home, placed around each unit, and the cheerful “Merry Christmases” being said to passersby.

“Christmases aren’t the same downrange,” said Tech. Sgt. Joe Collett, 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expeditor. “It doesn’t feel like Christmas, it’s kind of just another day. So, you have to do those things that make it feel like Christmas.”

Christmas presents sit in lockers alongside flight gear in the 79th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Dec. 25, 2016 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Many units held Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges, along with other holiday events to celebrate Christmas while deployed.

Collett sat in the break room of his unit and played Christmas carols on his guitar. His bass voice rang out clear in the tones of “Silent Night,” and other familiar tunes. Units across the base continued their mission but still found ways to “make it feel like Christmas.”

Capt. Ashton, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with the 79th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, flew a mission and came back in time to watch his daughter open Christmas presents back home.

In addition to missions flown by Ashton, 679 missions were handled by airfield operations that day.

“We do what we do so people back home can do what they do,” Ashton said. “Today was no different.”
 

Sgt. Maj. Velma Lyons, Army Field Support Battalion-Afghanistan battalion sergeant major, prays during a Christmas gospel service Dec. 25, 2016 at the Enduring Faith Chapel, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. While holidays away from families can be challenging, service members celebrated Christmas by attending church and spending time with friends.

 

Capt. Ashton, 79th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, prepares to taxi before launching on a mission Dec. 25, 2016 from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. While units offered their members time to connect with families and celebrate Christmas, the mission still continued and 679 operations were flown that day.

 

Tech. Sgt. Joe Collett, 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expeditor, plays Christmas Carols Dec. 25, 2016 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The mission continued over the holiday, but service members took time to celebrate the holiday by talking with their families and spending time with their units.

 

A snowman figurine sits on the dashboard of a mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicle belonging to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron before a team left for patrols Dec. 25, 2016 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Units put up holiday decorations sent from home throughout their areas to help celebrate the season.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – November 14, 2018

News Why victory isn’t goal in Afghanistan – When Lt. Gen. David Petraeus returned from an inspection tour of Afghanistan in 2005 to brief then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he began with a simple image.     Business One company wants to help herd U.S. Army robots – A firm out of Boston is...
 
 

News Briefs – November 14, 2018

Navy warplane down in 2nd crash from U.S. carrier in month A U.S. Navy warplane belonging to the aircraft career USS Ronald Reagan has crashed into the sea northeast of the Philippines, but its two aviators were safely rescued. The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement that the F/A-18 Hornet had a mechanical problem...
 
 

Pilot dead, one hurt in crash at Texas AF base

One pilot is dead, and one was transferred to Val Verde Regional Medical Center when an Air Force T-38C Talon assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, crashed at approximately 7:40 p.m., Nov. 13 on base. Laughlin emergency responders are on scene. The names of the pilots are being withheld for next of kin notification....