• Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Boase, an intelligence chief, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), walks alongside two Soldiers who are dressed as "Santa's Helpers" while they delivered care packages to the Soldiers and civilians of Forward Operating Base Salerno, in Khowst Province, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2012. Boase, along with his helpers, delivered more than 200 care packages to the Soldiers and civilians of FOB Salerno for Christmas.

    Rakkasans receive support for Christmas

    Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Boase, an intelligence chief, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), walks alongside two Soldiers who are dressed as "Santa's Helpers" while they...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Crabtree, command sergeant major of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), visits Soldiers of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, at Forward Operating Base Gardez, in Paktya Province, Afghanistan, to ensure the morale and welfare of his Brigade's Soldiers during the holiday season, Dec. 25, 2012. Crabtree, along with the Col. R.J. Lillibridge, commander of the 3rd BCT, visited four different combat outposts and forward operating bases on Christmas in hopes to help boost morale during their combat tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Rakkasans receive support for Christmas

    Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Crabtree, command sergeant major of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), visits Soldiers of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, at Forward Operating Base...

  • Soldiers assigned to Camp Clark, in Khowst Province, Afghanistan, enjoy a large Christmas lunch on Christmas Day. The dining facility maximized every effort to ensure the Soldiers experienced the best dining experience possible while deployed away from their families during the holiday season.

    Rakkasans receive support for Christmas

    Soldiers assigned to Camp Clark, in Khowst Province, Afghanistan, enjoy a large Christmas lunch on Christmas Day. The dining facility maximized every effort to ensure the Soldiers experienced the best dining experience possible while deployed away from...

  • First Sgt. Patrick Brossman (far), senior noncommissioned officer, Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), shows his son, Pfc. Jerry Brossman (near), an infantry team leader, assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, sectors of fire for their M240B machine gun while on tower guard at Forward Operation Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2012. The father and son team pulled guard so the other guards were afforded the opportunity to enjoy their Christmas lunch. 1st Sgt. Brossman has served in the Army 19 years, while his son has just reached his 19th month. This is the father and son's first deployment together.

    Rakkasans receive support for Christmas

    First Sgt. Patrick Brossman (far), senior noncommissioned officer, Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), shows his son, Pfc. Jerry Brossman (near), an infantry...

  • Capt. Alfsen, chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), leads Soldiers in the playing of holiday music at the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2012. The group played holiday music on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to raise the morale of troops who are currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during the holiday season.

    Rakkasans receive support for Christmas

    Capt. Alfsen, chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), leads Soldiers in the playing of holiday music at the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Salerno...

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 25, 2012) -- During this holiday season, Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will be spending the holidays deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The currently deployed Rakkasans are unable to spend the holidays with their families, but with the reality of deployment at hand they still have the support from both the American people and the military.

With many Soldiers being all-too familiar with deployment life, some are new to the Army life itself. To be away from family and friends for the first time could prove to be painful and lonely, but being deployed does not mean the nonexistence of the holiday season here in Afghanistan.

Soldiers are receiving both the large amount of support from the American people in the form of care packages as well as great effort from the military to help cope with being away from loved ones during this highly celebrated season.

However, many Soldiers will spend their Christmas day doing the same duties as any other day.

Pfc. Geoffrey Mckenzie, a chemical equipment repair specialist assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, was part of the force protection detail, which included a six-hour tower guard shift.

"This is one of the most important jobs for us while being deployed," said Mckenzie. "We are the first line of defense for [Forward Operating Base] Salerno."

The first-time deployer continued on to say, "I knew what I was signing up for."

A native of Jamaica, McKenzie is full of pride in his job and is thankful for having earned his place in the Rakkasans.

"I am extremely proud to be here," said McKenzie. "Very proud to be serving in the United States Army and the Rakkasans. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Though most of the world will be celebrating Christmas with their families and opening gifts this Christmas, there are still many Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Rakkasans have not lost sight of the mission.

Although they find themselves in a distant part of the world, the Army keeps morale a high priority.

Military support plays an important role in the morale and welfare of the deployed men and women.

"Morale is as important as bullets," said Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Crabtree, command sergeant major of the 3rd BCT. "During the holidays we talk to our Soldiers about how much they've accomplished, not only in Afghanistan, but in their lives."

Army support comes in many different ways, such as camp KOKORO, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility for Soldiers. The facility is designed to give a few days of rest and relaxation, as well as offer strong religious support to help with combat stress.

"We have five chaplains here," said Capt. Willie J Newton Jr., battalion chaplain, 3rd STB. "Some of which will be traveling out to the combat outposts while some will stay here to conduct religious services and offers support to the Soldiers."

Another tremendous asset the Soldiers receive is the American people's' tremendous amount of support.

"The American people have been very supportive and have provided a vast amount of resources in the form of care packages," said Newton. "Just yesterday we received more than 50 care packages."

Donations are sent here from multiple organizations and families who choose to support the troops. A percentage of the packages arrive to Forward Operating Base Salerno and then are organized into categories for further distribution amongst the Salerno community through the use of the chaplain's "free-x," a service provided by the chapel where they offer free items to Soldiers.

During the holiday season, the mail distribution center at Salerno prepares for massive amounts of donations.

"Over the past week we have averaged around 9,000 pounds of mail per day," said Crabtree. "The BCT receives hundreds of care packages from great organizations from all over the country and we ensure they are distributed to the small bases."

With the support from both the military and the American people, Soldiers this holiday season might have to spend it away from their family and friends, but they will not have to spend it alone. U.S. Soldiers have the support necessary to help keep morale high and keep them going, even through the holiday season.

Page last updated Thu December 27th, 2012 at 00:00