SHA'AB, Iraq - Many Soldiers spend Christmas either with their families or calling them from 5,000 miles away while they continue to answer the call for the nation.

For the more than 3,500 Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, this was their second consecutive Christmas season in Iraq. One of those Soldiers received a special phone call Dec. 24, 2008, and on the other end of the line was the commander-in-chief.

"It's definitely something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life," said Sgt. Aaron Simmons, a Texas City, Texas, native who was one of nine servicemembers to speak with President George W. Bush via telephone.

The president wished Simmons, who serves with Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, a merry Christmas and wished Simmons' wife Fawn and son Ethan a merry Christmas and thanked them for their sacrifice while he is away.

"He knew I was from Texas and that it was more special to talk to someone from Texas," Simmons said, referring to the president's home state.

The Striker Brigade is nearing the end of its 15-month deployment to Iraq. Simmons serves in northeast Baghdad partnering with the Iraqi Security Forces to provide support to the Iraqi people and build the local economy.

(Army Sgt. Zach Mott is with 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Divsion , Multi-National Division-Baghdad)