Every year, I tell my wife not to buy me anything for Christmas. I explain that I am a grown man, and that I can just use my money and earning power to buy myself anything that I want. I also tell her that after having so many Christmases and Thanksgivings and Birthdays etc. doing something in the service of my country (usually somewhere in the world that could only be described as "super craptastic") that I am just glad to be home.
But there was this one Christmas that I spent here that was pretty cool.
But, despite all of the cool and uncool places you can spend a holiday, I think all any veteran really wants for Christmas is to be home. I won't have to stand another QRF, fire-watch, presence patrol or attend another targeting meeting, intelligence update, or BUB while holding Christmas dinner in my hand on a paper tray.
I wouldn't trade those experiences over my 24 years, because without them, I wouldn't have the perspective to appreciate how much I enjoy the gift of just being in my own living room on December 25th.
I want Mrs. Deebow and my family to know that watching my little Deebow open gifts that Santa brought and placed gently under the tree we cut ourselves and having a hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll sitting next to her; all while surrounded by piles of used wrapping paper and empty boxes is one of the greatest joys of my life. I wouldn't trade it for a 20 foot pile of money or a rucksack full of gold. Everything else is just extra.
To my fellow warriors and veterans who are serving during this holiday season; please know that my only Christmas wish for you is for to be home with your families, enjoying the mountains of used wrapping paper and a hot cup of coffee and the laughter of your children and the warm company of your families. Merry Christmas to everyone who is forward deployed and on QRF, fire-watch, coming or going from a patrol, on their way to a targeting meeting, or sitting in a BUB. Thank you for the freedom to enjoy my Christmas in peace.
And most of all, and this likely never gets said enough; Merry Christmas to the troops and contractors who are manning the chow hall and the kitchen. I always appreciated the fact that some of the best food I have ever eaten on a holiday far from home was cooked by someone who thought it was not just their job, but their duty to ensure that Christmas dinner was as close to homemade as it could be 8,000 miles from my dining room.
Oh, and Mrs. Deebow? Yeah, well; I have some gifts to open now.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.