Home for the Holidays - Christmas With Friend
Private First Class Edgar Leal-Ramirez packs his duffel bag after an equipment layout at Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, Dec. 4.

<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- For 17-year-old Pfc. Edgar Leal-Ramirez, joining the Army was his first time away from home. For 17 years, the Soldier now stationed with 1st Brigade Combat Team's Headquarters and Headquarters Company has enjoyed the holiday season with Family. This year, however, he's spending it with friends - Army friends.

"These are my first holidays away from home," said Leal. "It felt weird, but at the same time, it is a good experience for me. It's just another step for me to be able to do stuff on my own."

For Thanksgiving, Leal went to 3rd Sustainment Brigade's Dining Facility.
"I stayed here in the barracks and ate at the 3rd Sustainment Brigade chow hall. The chow hall looked really nice, and everyone was in their dress A's or blues. They had ice sculptures, waiters, and some good munchies," Leal said. "Then Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews and Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo came in with their Families and sat right behind us. It was really cool."

Leal also spent time with his fellow Soldiers.

"I pretty much hung around with my battle-buddies," he said. "I work with them in S3. So we found things to do during our holidays. It was a little sad, but my battle-buddies are there to help me out; they are Family to me. We all went through the same training, and we're infantry, so we have a connection."

As much as he enjoyed his Thanksgiving, he still won't be going home for Christmas.
"My hometown is El Paso, Texas, but I have Family scattered all around the U.S. I'm kind of okay with being stuck here for Christmas, but at the same time, it makes me feel sad, because it's another holiday that I won't have time to go home and hang out with my Family. Christmas is my favorite because that's when my whole Family actually comes together, and I get to see Family Members I haven't seen for a long time. This Christmas, I was planning to go to Florida, but I can't because I have duties here."

However, Leal does have plans to visit home in the future.

"I'm going to try and save all my leave days for next October, then I'll be going home. Next year, I hope I can make it home for the holidays."

Page last updated Fri December 12th, 2008 at 13:55