FORT HOOD, Texas Aca,!" Aca,!A"Ho, ho, ho. What do you want for Christmas little boy'Aca,!A? the bearded figure in the red suit asked the smiling child in his lap.

The jolly man was surrounded by the trappings of the season. A lit Christmas tree and stockings adorned the area while Soldiers wearing elf hats directed excited jumping children to a buffet of assorted cookies. Merry music played in the background as Soldiers and family members laughed and joked with each other.

The 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)Aca,!a,,cs Family Readiness Group hosted a holiday open house event at BLORA Dec. 4.

The free event, open to all Wagonmaster Soldiers and family members, included door prizes, cookies, beverages, holiday music, gift stockings for the children, and a visit by Santa Claus.

Aca,!A"I like kids. ThatAca,!a,,cs one of the reasons I agreed to do it,Aca,!A? Pfc. Rob Floyd, Santa Claus and signal support systems specialist A Company, 15th STB said.

As Santa, Floyd and his Soldier-elf helpers gave stockings to the SoldiersAca,!a,,c children with a coloring book, stickers, crazy straw, crayons, candy, and a penguin toy in them.

All who came were invited to enter a raffle drawing for a lunch box containing a key chain, two mugs, a gift card, and pen all with the 15th SB emblem on them.

Soldiers and family members in attendance werenAca,!a,,ct the only ones who enjoyed the party, some of the volunteers said they did as well.

Aca,!A"I usually volunteer for stuff like this, I like helping out,Aca,!A? Spc. Justin Cleveland, signal support systems specialist, A Company, 15th STB said.

He also explained why FRG functions, like the open house, are important.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs good for the family because some of these guys wonAca,!a,,ct see each other all year.Aca,!A?
Julie Grant, 15th STB Family Readiness Support Assistant and chief coordinator of the event agreed.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs important to share down time while weAca,!a,,cre here because last year we werenAca,!a,,ct here,Aca,!A? she said, referring to the unitAca,!a,,cs last Christmas in Iraq.

Aca,!A"Families need to bond with each other to support each other while their Soldiers are deployed in Iraq. FRG is the way to do that,Aca,!A? Grant explained.

Col. Larry Phelps, 15th SB commander announced some of the raffle winners and joked with the Soldiers and family members.

Aca,!A"Just calm down,Aca,!A? he told the crowd just before the last prize drawing.

Aca,!A"We havenAca,!a,,ct got to the Mercedes just yet,Aca,!A? he joked.

Phelps closed the event with a few words about those deployed.

Aca,!A"Keep those Soldiers who arenAca,!a,,ct with us, and their families, in your prayers.Aca,!A?