We all want to be home for the holidays, but for those serving in the military that isn’t always possible. Here’s how a few of our troops have celebrated in seasons past.
World War I: During WWI, members of the Expeditionary Force spent Christmas on the Western Front. Kirkland H. Day wrote home to say that he and the other American soldiers raised $200 dollars to provide gifts and food for families in a French village. “Some of the cases we found were too pitiful for words,” wrote Day. “One mother with 11 children – father killed in war – had absolutely nothing, not even shoes,” he said. The soldiers found the Christmas spirit through service. “Yes, it was a real Christmas, made so by doing for others. I hope your Christmas was as real as ours in France,” Day wrote. Read his entire letter here.
Sergeant Victor E. Chapman graduated from Harvard and moved to Paris to study architecture. When the war began, he immediately joined the French Foreign Legion alongside fellow American, Phil Rader. Both men hoped to become aviators. Rader was a newspaper reporter and sent home vivid descriptions of life along the Western Front.
Rader and Chapman were part of the Christmas truce of WWI. Rader wrote of peeking out of his trench on Christmas morning, “Thoughtlessly I raised my head. Other men did the same. We saw hundreds of German heads appearing. Shouts filled the air. What miracle had happened? Men laughed and cheered. There were smiles, smiles, smiles, where in days before there had been only rifle barrels. The terror of No-man’s land fell away.”
The soldiers all shook hands and posed for photographs with one another. “The hatred of war had been suddenly withdrawn and it left a vacuum in which we human beings rushed into contact with each other. The awfulness of war had not filled the corners of our hearts where love and Christmas live,” wrote Rader. The following morning a soldier hopped out of the trench, eager to continue the comradery experienced the night before. The crack of a rifle rang out and the man fell dead. The truce was over – but none there would ever forget the Christmas when for just a day, the war ended.
Vietnam: It didn’t feel like Christmas in the hot and steamy jungles of Vietnam. Troops still decorated trees like this one and enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Jewish soldiers celebrated Hanukkah, and many received cards and gifts from home. Entertainer Bob Hope made yearly visits to Vietnam to boost morale with his USO Christmas show for troops.
Major Hershel C. Gordon was serving in Can-To when he noticed a Vietnamese orphanage overflowing with children. He teamed up with friends in Lubbock, Texas to gather holiday gifts and supplies for the children. The 619th TAC Control Squadron painted the orphanage and cleaned up the grounds. Military doctors provided the children with medical care. Similarly, other GIs rendered service in orphanages across Vietnam.
How did you or your family member celebrate the holidays while serving in the military? Tell us about it and search our archives for other holiday military photos.
I don’t remember Bob Hope making it to Can Tho in 1966, but I do remember that Roy Rogers and Dale Evans did. It was a great show at Binh Thuy Air Base.
I have only located one person who was assigned to 22nd TASS and stationed there in 1966.
Heard it at Phan Rang AB over the radio.
I was in Can Tho with the 93 Construction Battalion during ’70-’71. We were building a bypass road going around Thot Not a few miles north of Can Tho. We occasionally stopped a small school house on the west side of the road [somewhere] and would walk in, just to be friendly and share a few petty things — food items mostly.
What I saw….. all those friendly smiles!
Christmas 1972 – Takhli, Thailand. Enjoyed Christmas Lunch at the Chow Hall. For dinner, had my usual fried rice and Pepsi. Read letters from my wife and kids and opened the box from my wife, with chocolate chip cookies that almost made it to Thailand intact. Oh well, the crumbs were still delicious! For my office, I had found a small evergreen tree and made decorations with bond paper colored with magic markers. Later I played my guitar and sang some Christmas carols with my buddies who lived in our hootch, until home-sickness set in so deep that we finally went back to our rooms and just felt sad and lonely.
We were stationed in Bangkok Christmas 1972. My dad was David Freist. I was only 3, so I don’t remember much.
Will the human race ever give themselves the opportunity to come together with common will to help one another, sans self-interest or deceptive intent, or a perception that they are worth more or are better than their peers? I believe more than 90 percent of all human energy is spent on an insane road to self-destruction. Perhaps that is what we all deserve. What do you think?
Sadly, I agree with your insights.
From a 79 year old Army Vet.
You are full of “SH1T”
Dear Gerald, No human can bring peace on earth. When many of these stories on this site were happening, people had been raised with a strong moral sense of right and wrong if not outright Biblical teaching and a relationship with God our Creator and Savior. Please seek truth in the Bible Gerald. Ask God to show you truth. The book of John should interest you. I will pray for you also. Sincerely, Jan
Perhaps, but we must do what we can to help those less fortunate, those who are in misery, while we still have time. I don’t know if there is an afterlife, but I know I have some power to help others on an individual basis right now, every day. That is my philosophy. So I don’t worry about the entire world: that is too much for me.
Theres a Ahole in everybunch. Congrats you made this one
Gerald, I believe it is sadly the nature of the beast.
To pdk and V, you both posted on 30th December in response to the 12th December comment from Gerald and subsequent posters to said comment.
If you’re going to insult someone can you please name which poster you are responding to so we all know exactly who you are insulting ?
My brother spent Christmas’s of 1942, 1943, and 1944 in a Japanese POW camp. The only message my mother had from him was relayed by Ham Radio operators from all over, it came in April of 1943 that he was alive and well and in a POW camp, hope to see everyone soon. That soon came in August of 1945 when the camp was liberated.
My father , Homer Mefford Jr,also spent 1942,1943 and 1944 in a Japanese POW camp.He was on the Bataan Death March and was on one of the Hell Ships.He died in 1981.In recent years,many seem to want to shame us for the sad internment of Japanese Americans during this time.While I agree 100% that this was wrong and never should have happened,at least these people were not starved,beaten and slave labored as was the American POW’s.All of us kids grew up with a terribly damaged man.A severe alcoholic,who could not hold a job.I wish someone had explained to us kids what our father had endured.Maybe we could have helped him .
My father also spent those same 3 years in Japanese POW camps in Java. He was liberated from Changi Jail, Singapore in 1945 and also passed in 1981. I remember his nightmares when I was a kid which were very frightening, but my mother helped him to find some kind of normality by hetting him to join a FEPOW association where he could meet fellow ex POWs. It was the only time he could relax and tlak freely about his experiences with those who could truly understand.
My Father was in the Army Air Corp and found himself in North Africa for Christmas 1942. He shared a pup tent with a fellow that had attended private school and college. This fellow spoke French. So they wandered over to a farm and convinced the farmer to loan them two Arabian horses. They rode into town and purchased some raw chicken, french bread, oranges and wine. Also a few bottles of scotch. Then they found a flea market and bought a used frying pan. They returned the horses and took their loot back to camp. They cooked the chicken and their crew had a fine Christmas dinner. My Father was a flight engineer on a B-17. He flew 85 missions. 50 in North Africa and 35 in England. He had many near misses but came home in one piece.
I thank you for your father’s service to our country. May he RIP.
Hi Cathy, My Dad Sgt Lawrence Rosenberger was a Ball Turret Gunner and Armorer on a B-17 stationed in England from June 22,1944 till August 4, 1944 when his plane was shot down over Craxhaufen Germany while on a bombing mission to Bremen. He spent the remainder of the war in a prison camp (Stalag Luft IV) in Germany. In February 1945 he and some 10,000 other prisoners were marched out of the camp. For several weeks in the dead of one of the worst winters in history they were marched to Nuremberg then Mossburg where they were liberated by Pattons 3rd Army. After liberation Patton troops discovered a Concentration camp in the area. Dad said it was the most sickening thing he had ever witnessed.
Your father was a lucky one … to have started flying in ’42 and go through 85 missions and then come home! My father (Bill Kennedy) was a navigator in B-17’s, but only got in the fray in April ’45. After about 5 missions, he was injured (took some flak in the back) and while he was in the hospital, his plane with crew was shot down over Germany. They crash landed, and all survived. One guy was operated on by a German surgeon very successfully. Germany was in such disarray by that time, the rest of the crew basically hiked out of Germany. My father’s brother (Robert Kennedy), not so lucky — was killed right after the Bulge in Feb 1945. My father made it to age 87 and passed in 2010. Brave, brave young men they were!!! Regards, Connie Kennedy
What an amazing ‘side story’ you shared from your father’s experiences in WWII. My dad was a Waist Gunner on a B-17 G in the 8th Air Force flying out of Raddelsden, England from Big Week, Feb 1944 until VE Day. Dad wouldn’t only talk about his missions (32) after he turned 75, but he down-played any mention of heroism stating “it was my job”. The rarely viewed medals including 2 DFC’s and Bronze Stars indicated his daylight raids over Germany were anything but ‘milk runs’.
Your father must have been an amazing man!
Thanks for your comments. Dad did 50 missions with the 15th in North Africa. Then came home and went to Tampa Florida to train new crews. One time they had a practice and from several bases assembled over the Gulf of Mexico. They had 600 B-17 and some P-51 (or others) in formation. Target: Jacksonville, Florida But Florida was dangerous. One of the planes caught on fire in the air. They all had to bail. He decided combat was way more fun. So he went with the 8th and his next 35 missions were all pounding Berlin. At the end he was turned down for the DFC which left him very bitter.
85 missions, wow what an accomplishment and an even greater feat to make a beautiful memory in the midst of all that hell.
I heard a sermon one Christmas about a Prisoner of War Camp near Liverpool during WWII. The Catholic prisoners were taken to midnight Mass in the nearest Catholic Church in Warrington. As midnight came nothing started. As minutes went by one of the prisoners asked the guard why Mass was late staring. It turned out the organist had suddenly become ill and they were changing the music to hymns everyone knew well and could sing unaccompanied. The prisoner sitting in front of the guard said he was an organist in his home town and would be willing to play if he was allowed. He did so and Christmas memories were made that night of opposite side coming together to celebrate the great feast.
That is a beautiful story.
I have the privilege of having a very special friend, Roland Martin, who was the pilot of the B-17 “Iron Maiden” and shot down on the second bombing run by the US 8th Air Force on Schweinfurt in October 1943. He spent two Christmases in German POW camps. I sent this fold3find to him wondering how he had fared doing his time. His reply ….
Thanks for that David… the WW1 one day “armistice” still sends shivers down my spine.
My two Christmases were much like many, far away from home. We had a very talented man, Harry Korger, who wrote music, directed plays and played instruments before joining up. He was shot down on the first Ploesti raid. He organized Christmas programs that were spirited and enjoyed by all. I have very little remembrance of details, but it was an emotional uplifting moment in time for all of us.
Happy New Year.
Spent Christmas of 1970 on Helemano Military Reservation and was invited to share Christmas dinner with the family of my NCOIC. Spent Christmas 1971 there also but had Charge of Quarters Duty I believe and called home in the middle of the night setting plans on my early release after New Years.
Thank you for all the stories and to those who served and are serving now. You have stood watch, fought, and made us feel we are safe.
I think both soldiers and civilians would feel fully protected when our insane “Commander-in-Chief” is removed and all of us here and abroad are no longer in danger and facing fear of losing our democracy and trust in us by our Allies.
Why do people have to politicize everything? It turns from a friendly sharing of memories into another attack session. We are truly sick of it.
My dad was in the Seabees during WWII, mostly serving in a couple of tropical islands and the Philippines. He never talked about it and came home a changed, almost broken, man. War can do that. Do you realize that most of our US history we have been at war with someone?
I salute all of our young people who became heroes in their own right, standing for their country and willing to fight for its values.
Just had to go there didn’t you. You would have preferred a known conniving crook that shook down every country she visited as Sec of state in anticipation of being crowned Queen of the free world. How’s their foundation going now? Merry Christmas Try shutting down cnn for the rest of the holiday season
Why do you feel the need to politicize everything? Have you lost your senses, because you voted wrong in the election? Don’t be a sore loser! Get over it and start supporting this great Country, or get out!
Beverly, you are correct; he has destroyed so much of what was good about our country.
Well, I was enjoying all the uplifting stories and posts until I got to this one. Why couldn’t we just keep on with the uplifting stories and posts??
Your political comments in this forum are unwelcome and disgraceful.
You never gave a day for anyone but yourself Like most Dems your a taker not a giver
I left Fort Meade Maryland in 1963 for assignment at NATO Base in Naples Italy. Little did I know that I would spend almost 6 years, 5 Christmas seasons, away from my siblings and family before coming home. That assignment took me all over Italy, Turkey, Greece and Morocco. We communicated by letter, but to hear each others voice, we recorded messages on tape and forwarded to each other. I still have my grandfathers voice where he talked to me. He was born in the 1800’s. He had 3 sons who survived WW II and 5 uncles who fought in Civil War. Only 2 came home from that.war
What a treasure that you have your grandfathers voice! Did you know you can put that on some genealogical sites, like Family Search, and your children and grandchildren will be able to hear it also through the generations. (It’s free.) Wish I had something like that of my grandpas!!!
I am descendant of many family members who have served between 1917 and 1975, a few which did not return. Although I am saddened by deaths and problems some have when they did return, I am grateful for their dedication and service. To all that have served and those who continue to serve and their entire families. Without your service to our great nation, we would not even have the Hope of Freedom. I and my entire family thank you…
All of these stories of Christmas in a war zone are a treasure and should be shared and remembered. I am the principal of a Lutheran school in Connecticut. Our students present the most fabulous Veterans Day Celebration each year for our local Veterans to thank them for their service. I plan to share many of these stories next year unless you object. We have not yet focused on the service men and women being so far from home on Christmas. This is another important piece for our students to recognize. Thank you so very much for sharing these personal accounts. And, thank you, Veterans and your families, for the sacrifices made for freedom throughout the world.
You have my permission to share. The children of today are not getting much education of WWI and WWII. I am a member of a Rosie The Riveter chapter locally. It is a national organization. We celebrate and honor the women who worked in the factories to help us win WWII. We give presentations at local libraries and nursing homes. We are always well received. I took my Father’s letters home from WWII and typed them into a book. It is 56,000 words. The original letters are at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC
You may share mine. Thank you and God bless!
also have letters from my uncle from world war 11 dday to the battle of the bulge would the library of congress want them???
the web site is Vetrans History Project(Library of Congress). Once in go to “Field Kit” and other sections of the web site. They have very specific guidelines of what they will accept and how to give it to them. I donated 330 letters. One key to so many letters is that my parents were married 6 months before my father was drafted. So he had someone to write to continuously. Secondly, he was a flight engineer in a B-17. When not flying they had plenty of time to write. The Red Cross supplied them with paper. At some point he switched to V-mail.. Locally I give talks of his adventures. It is always well received.
Consider contacting the NATIONAL World War II Museum in New Orleans for making a donation of the letters. The Museum is a Hands-On kind of experience, with a strong, continuing outreach program to engage the public.
In Columbus, Ohio a National Veteran’s Memorial and Museum opened in November. It might be a good place for the letters. I was there for the dedication. It is really a great place to visit. Check out he website
National Veterans Memorial and Museum | NVMM
Judy, they likely would, especially if you have a series of them. They would help many in the future. Reading a unit history showing troop movements is one thing, but personal memories of an individual soldier written very shortly after things happened are priceless.
Even if someone never left the states they would still show how things were on the homefront.
Once men who served in a particular war are all gone there will be no one left to say what things were like during that conflict if their memories are not collected while they can still remember things.
There was an oral history project some years ago that did taping of service men’s reminiscences of their WWII service. I knew someone who participated. He was an engineer who led a battalion that built bridges across Europe from the time they waded ashore on D-day until the war was nearly over. I had heard bits and pieces before, but listening to his complete story was fascinating.
I would think that reading an unbroken series of letters would be just as interesting, especially for someone interested in the history of his unit, and for future descendants wanting to know what he went through.
Look at the National Archives site and the LOC site and see which one did the recordings. Then ask about either donating the letters, or making a transcription of the letters and donating that. Or, perhaps they would accept a recording of you reading the letters aloud.
I can’t believe you are the only person who has such treasures, nor can I believe they would not want them.
I was 3 days old when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I was born in Ft. Benning and my father shipped out when I was no more than 3 months old, and my mother was pregnant with my brother. My father was in the European theater for the entire war. He survived 7 major battles including Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Battle of the Bulge and Germany. My brother and I didn’t know who he was when he returned in 1945. He received a Purple Heart, and he suffered from PTSD which they called battle fatigue at the time. I didn’t really appreciate his sacrifice until after he died, but I do honor his memory now.
My father in law fought in the same areas, which leads me to believe your father was with Patton. Dad was with the artillery and received a bronze star, either for his idea about how to get the tanks through the hedge rows or for devising ply wood shelters for the men during the time of the battle of bulge. He was never sure of which.
My family has served since the Revolution (at least three “grandfathers”), including the Civil War, WWII (grandfathers were too old for WWI) and Vietnam (two brothers, one of whom was killed after making a decision that saved the life of one of his men). A niece just retired after more than 20 yrs and two cousins are in the Air Force (as was their dad). I also served, as did another brother.
I was stationed at Cam Rahn Bay Vietnam during Christmas of 1967 when Bob Hope was there. I was not able to attend the show as I was on duty at the time. This was just before the Tet Offensive in Jan 1968. I remember receiving a care package from people from my hometown of which I really enjoyed. Many of use received care packages from home and we would share with one another. It made being away from home a little more tolerable.
Cathy Rosenberger, Where are you from?
Born Washington DC. Lived in Maryland my whole life. Rosenberger is married name. Husband was in Vietnam around 1966-67. He was the driver for Colonel Patruchie (sp). It was a cushy job and they only took only bullet in the side of the car in one year.John Rosenberger passed away about 20 years ago.
Many thanks to all. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate and many more Happy New Years. It’s all about sharing. Gifts, memories,stories, etc. You never know what makes another persons day special
Christmas 1969, 1970 and 1971 were spent at Lackland AFB, TX providing meals to the men going through AF basic training. In 1972 I was serving on the cold side of the cold war at the 710th AC&W radar site at Tin City, Alaska, on the tip of the Seward peninsula nearest to Russia. Tomorrow was only 25 miles away across the date line.
A few days before Christmas a small group of us traveled to Cape Prince of Wales and hosted a party for the school children. The highlight of that day, for me, was finding crayons, water color paints and other art supplies from The American Crayon Company in Sandusky, OH. Prior to entering and after leaving the Air Force I worked at that factory.
I was on duty in a guard tower in US Army Support Command DaNang on Christmas Eve in 1969 with an M-60. There were three of us with M-14’s, helmets, flak jackets, etc. I can’t remember which day before Christmas but a buddy who worked in Special Services got me a ticket to the Bob Hope Show at Freedom Hill Marine Base. We saw Connie Stevens and Neil Armstrong who had just walked on the moon.
MY DAD WAS IN THE 8TH FA, B BATTRY.,IN THE 25TH DIV. IN KOREA. CHRISTMAS OF 1950 THE MEN WERE GIVEN TURNS TO GO BEHIND THE LINES FOR A CHRISTMAS DINNER OF TURKEY LEGS AND MASHED POTATOES. THEY WOULD RETURN TO THEIR STATIONS AND THE NEXT GROUP WOULD TAKE THEIR TURN. LATER THAT DAY A GOOD FRIEND OF DAD’S WAS KILLED. NOT A REAL MERRY CHRISTMAS, BUT EVERYONE UNDERSTOOD AND STILL DID THEIR JOBS. THANK GOD FOR ALL OF THEM.
Well I cant share my experiences but I can share a small bit of my fathers.
Pfc Donald Kaiser E co 318th inf 80th inf division was in France Dec 1944 in a “resting” position. Then onward to Luxembourg and Belgium to rescue the 101st. No details from him over the years. But reading the Morning reports, Battalion reports, and other history letters and reports I know why it was his secret. He was injured in a train accident in Austria 7 May 1945. Cared for by 305 Bn medics, evacuated to First General Hospital in Paris. Amputation of left leg mid May. Eventually transferred to Percy Jones Hospital in Battle Creeck Michigan where he was eventually discharged in September 1946.
Thank you Dad for your service to your country and raising us to manhood.
This story was told me many years ago. In the 1960’s a communications unit on Shemya Island in the Aleutian Islands archipelago was on duty Christmas eve. Suddenly a message came across the teletype. It was a picture of a Vodka bottle (all done in x’s of course) with the message “Merry Christmas from your counterparts in Russia! True story or urban legend?
Oh, I hope it’s true!
I’d like to think it was true!
Spent Christmas in Germany ’62,’63 and ’64 while in the US Army. My unit always paired up GI’s with a German Family to spend Christmas. Formed some long term friendships then.
Spent Christmas Day in Da nang AB, RVN in ’68 flying Marines down to see the Bob Hope Show. We got in trouble for loading the C-123K with more passengers than allowed but we got the Marines to the show. Spent Christmas in Rhein Main AB, Germany in ’74, ’75 and ’76.
Did manage to see the Bob Hope Show on his Farewell Tour at Rhein Main when we were visiting my wife’s family. I was in the lobby of the hotel when Bob Hope and all the Military folks were passing by. I said I had missed his show in Da Nang in ’68, he stopped, shook my hand and asked me if I was coming to the show that night. I said I didn’t have tickets, he asked me how many were in my party. I started to say 2 when I saw the crew of the KC-10 we were flying home with, they held up four hands. When I said 6, he motioned to a USAF Col to give me tickets. Great Show by a Great man who never forgot the American GI’s.
Like many, I served during the Korean war — being away from home especially at Christmas time may be sad, but we were ready and willing to serve our country — the greatest privilege one can have. There are those who served before me and after who believed war was hell but stepped up to the plate to make their mark in history to live and die for whet they truly believed. I served with men who made the ultimate sacrifice — the true heroes — men who sometimes gave their lives for another as did our Savior -.- men who loved and were loved.
I resent this politicizing — we are honoring the memories of great men and women who served our country — people who in conflicts not of their choosing, but willingly. Let’s serve our country as civilians and support whoever is elected and remember those who gave their all. Thank you for sharing. God Bless.
Just found this site and red many of the above stories about these brave men who were in service or died for our freedom.
We live near te US Military Cemetery in Margraten Netherlands where since WW2 all the graves are adopted by civilians.(see “faces of Margraten” website)
Our family adopted the grave of Gene Gilmore of Celina Ohio who died in Germany the 28th of March 1945. All the special days in the year we put flowers on his grave and sent pictures to his wife whom we visited in 2015. She passed away this year in august at the blessed age of 101. We will stay in contact with his daughter Carol. We thank you all for yr service.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Many more words could describe how I feel about your generosity of time and efforts you make on behalf of those buried so far away from home, but I’m crying too hard to write anything more. Please share a hug with those involved with the remembrance of those who died all to soon. You are truly great and awesome. Love, Jan W. Fortine Montana.
Theo – My own sentiments – Our Boys from so far from home, appreciate your kindness. And Bless those families that look after them. Thank All!
My grandmother always cried when she heard “I’ll be home for Christmas” on the radio. She said that’s what her brother had written to her in his last letter. Sadly he was killed on Christmas Day in the Battle of the Bulge. His name was Elmer Meinschein. I moved to the Netherlands for a few years in the nineties, I asked my grandmother if there was anything she’d like me to bring her as a souvenir. Her only request was that if it wasn’t too far away could we visit her brothers gravesite, it is in Henri-Chapelle Cemetery in Belgium. We did and it meant the world to her to know that family was finally able to pay their respects to her dear brother. It was a very moving experience. I felt great appreciation and respect for the people who took the time to maintain this space so lovingly for those who made the ultimate sacrifice so far from their homes and loved ones.
My grandfather was part of the Expeditionary Forces in France.
His name was William Howard Meehan. They called him “Monk”.
I spent Christmas Eve with my dusters in 1968 set up on corners of a 1st inf div. unit NDP, did not even seem like Christmas. We were north of Phu lo on thunder road.
1rst L T Braunig ! I was with the 1rst CAV.the,1/9 ,67 68 that war was HELL, but that Christmas of , 67 for 8 hours a small group of us , on a search mission we encountered a small group of NVA a, crazy thing happened !
A flag of truse went up! surprised the hell out of us so we also put one up, we were able to convers with their broken English, and our squad leader’s BROKEN VIETAMESE we exchanged what home goodies we had along with our “C” and ” LRRP’S” THEY even showed us how to use “Chopsticks”.
Two days later we were out again but this time . however, the war was back on,
I truly enjoyed reading all the uplift stories..Our children need to read more of these great stories of Christmas past filled with giving and sharing. My father served in Vietnam US. Marines 72-73’ and he passed after I was born on July 4th, 1973. So sadly I don’t have stories of his service to share with my children or grandchildren. However I’d like to think that he must of been a great man to serve our country much like all of you and your family members fathers, uncles, brothers or sisters who served or have served. Peace be with you all in the coming years.
I was at Ton Son Nhut as part of MACV Advisory Team 62 in 1970. My mother had sent me a tiny tabletop Christmas tree that artived on Christmas Eve and was set up on a table in my barracks. Not the best Christmas I ever had but not the worst either.
This forum is no place for political venom.
Need to say “Welcome home” to everyone here. Glad you made it. Thank you for your stories and sacrifice and support.
I enjoyed all the letters. My brother Jerry was in The Battle of The Bulge.
He was a clerk and his hospital 28th was bombed. I have his letters and
many pictures. He received the Purpel Heart and his captain put in for a Bronge star. He has medals but I don’t know which ones I do know
he got one from Belgium. My husband was in the 6th Marine Div. and served in the South Pacific. My brother Ted also served in the Marine Air Force. I am thankful they all came home
Most people, even veterans, do not know that every discharged service member or a member of his family is authorized one free set of replacement medals:
When my own records were reviewed and my replacement medals received, I was surprised to discover that I was authorized twice as many as I had been issued while on active duty. Please pass the word to families of departed veterans; this may be an important way to remember their service in a shadowbox.
My father was 2nd Baat. 501 PIR, 101 AD landed on D-Day and went all the way to Bastonge, and then was wounded on 1 Jan, 1945. Christmas in the Ardenne with nothing. My Christmas in Viet Nam was a lot better. Had our maid/laundress bring her children to our hooch and we gave them presents. Her husband came with them and we found out that he was Viet Nam CIA.
During the Vietnam period, I had a daughter who had only seen me 30 days in 36 months. I was a picture. In 20 years in the Navy, the only Christmas I missed was while I was serving in Vietnam with the NavAdvGrp. Traveled all over the country. Heard the moon landing on Armed Forces Radio. Met many Vietnamese who had left family land to live in shacks in Saigon to evade the Communists. They climbed on anything that floated to escape the country at the end of the war. My dad served in the amphibious force at Okinawa and Iwo Jima. My oldest son and my baby brother are both retired Navy, too.
Our ship, the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), departed Alameda, CA on Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December 1964, bound for Vietnam. Shortly after putting to sea, one of the ship’s two evaporators failed and we diverted to Pearl Harbor for repairs. While there for more than three weeks, a package arrived from my parents in Texas. It was a homemade fruit cake, and it was delicious! Of course, it was shared with all hands and didn’t last long. But it was a touching moment, a reminder from home that we were remembered at Christmas.
pdk and V, you both posted on 30th December in response to the 12th December comment from Gerald and subsequent posters to said comment.
If you’re going to insult someone can you please name which poster you are responding to so we all know exactly who you are insulting ?
My father SSgt Allen Bower talked several times about their Christmas Eve 1944 air raid on Bittburg. He was always concerned about the German children that may have suffered during this Christmas time air raid. He was a tail gunner/armorer on a B-26. 9th Air Force 391st Bomb Gp. 572nd Bomber Squadron.The other crew were:Pilot-Robert Pancoast,Co-Pilot -Richard Kipp,Bombadier-Sundae Minilla,Top Gunner-Herbert Labgold,Waist Gunner-James Fitzgerald.I spoke to my father by phone two days before he died. He talked about how rough a time the boys on the ground were having it that December and the Bittburg raid. He had 39 combat missions. Allen Bower,Jr.
Riv Div 572 Christmas 1969 had next to nothing except my sister’s needle point Christmas tree about 1 1/2 foot x 1 foot to remind us of home. I think everyone came by to just stare at her handiwork. I still have it up in my living room.
Christmas 1944 was a hard time during WWII. My Dad served on the LSM-134 and was part of the original crew. Christmas 1944 was between the Leyte operation and the Luzon operation with no mail until early February. He had hoped to get a fruitcake from home. During the 1940s syrup was sold in large cans with a large tight lid. My Grandmother made her traditional fruitcake which was soaked in red wine, placed the cake in the can and sealed the lid. When the LSM-134 finally got mail, they dumped the sack on deck to sort and a can with no labels rolled across the deck. Dad immediately claimed it, but he was only given the can if he could identity the contents. He knew it was “Mom’s Christmas Cake” which he shared with the rest of the crew.
Thank you Fold3 for allowing me to share Dad’s favorite war time Christmas story. He’s been gone now for 5 Christmas’. I was told the story every year of my memory and it gives me joy to be able to re-tell his story.
I can’t hear Silent Night without thinking of my father, Lt. Willard Heckman. A World War II B-17 navigator, he spent two Christmases as a POW in Stalag Luft VII. In December of 1944 after lights out the American and British POWs began singing Silent Night. To their surprise after the first verse they heard the second verse in German coming from the guard towers. Five months later the war in Europe was over.
How touching! It would seem that Heaven does intervene in the lives of men who are trapped in the evil doings of others.
Although I know that this is basically an American site, the mention of Silent Night brings back memories of 1940 when I was a boy at a grammar school on the outskirts of London. We were in a bomb shelter at the school and German bombers were overhead when one of the teachers suggested that we might hold an impromptu concert to occupy the time. One boy, who had a beautiful voice and later became a world renowned opera singer, offered to sing “Silent Night’. On being given permission, he sang this lovely carol in German to an audience of pupils and staff, many of them reduced to tears by the beauty of his voice in such circumstances.
Although I served with the Royal Navy in WW2, including a period aboard a U.S. provisioned escort carrier as part of the British Pacific Fleet, my family has a long history of service with the British Army. My Great Uncle served for 23 years in the Royal Lancers, including service in the two Boer Wars, in India, and in WW1. My grandfather, father, and four uncles also served in WW1, with three of my uncles being killed in action, with no known grave.
After leaving the Royal Navy, I emigrated to Sydney, Australia to marry the girl who I had met here whilst with the British Pacific Fleet. Sadly, she died about five years ago and now I live in a retirement complex in a country town about 80 kilometres south of Sydney.
This is also a great story. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year.
It doesn’t matter which country you served. All GI’s have the same emotions, fears and longings for home. Even though I was US Air Force, I served with the RAF at two bases. RAF Kirknewton, Scotland and RAF Chicksands, England. Your comments are welcome and very pertinent. Thanks for your service! Gooday, Mate!
My former husband served in Korea and Vietnam. He was send to Vietnam in l964 when President Johnson started the big buildup. He has now passed away but the stories and photos from Korea and Vietnam are chilling. He was in Bien Hoa when the north Vietnamese blew up the flight line. Our daughter was a baby when he left but we told him good night every day so she would not forget him.
I certainly didn’t do anything heroic on Christmas ’68 (or many other times), but I tried to cheer-up some fellows who deserved it. I had signed out of the 720th MP Bn, at Long Binh, but couldn’t get up to the newly formed Americal Div until the 26th due to all available aircraft being diverted to support the Bob Hope Show. The evening of Christmas Eve, I found out they were asking for people to go to one of the hospitals to help wheel patients outside for Midnight Mass. I wheeled a couple men out, stayed with them and returned them to the ward with a few not so profound word. To this day, this rates as one of the most meaningful Midnight Masses I’ve attended.
correction: Christmas ’67. Brain-fade
correction: I was off by a year–it was ’67.