By 1st Lt. Shaun Bruner
2-43 ADA UPAR11th ADA BDE Public Affairs
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar - From the outside, the tents on the site of Bravo " Beast Mode" Battery, 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery "Warriors" Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, look like your ordinary Army tents; drab with tan arches built for form, not function. Upon entering, however, a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and even "snow" greet the eyes and make you forget the desert surroundings.
With the holidays well under way, the Soldiers of Btry. B took it upon themselves to bring some cheer to their patriot site by decorating the tents with colorful holiday decorations.
"It started out pretty mild, just one or two Christmas trees on site," said Sgt. Danielle Brown, supply sergeant for Btry. B. "Then it turned into a bit of a competition, with each tent trying to out-decorate the others."
With jingle bells and holly in short supply in the deserts of the Middle East, the Soldiers got creative.
"We bought some decorations, but a lot of it we just made with what we had," said Pfc. Jessica Saysombat, an advanced Patriot launching station operator and maintainer assigned to Btry. B. "We made a lot of paper snowflakes and stretched out cotton balls to make the "snow" around the Christmas trees."
Not all the presents under the Christmas tree were just for decoration. Families, friends, and churches of Btry. B Soldiers sent dozens of care packages with small gifts for the troops that will unfortunately not get to spend the holiday season with their families..
The care packages contained a little of everything, from blankets to board games, to granola bars to candy.
"It really means a lot to the Soldiers," said Capt. Seth Kadavy, commander of Btry. B. "It's not fun being far away from your family around the holidays and these gifts really make a difference at a time when morale can start dropping pretty low."
Although Christmas trees, wrapping paper, and sparkling lights may seem a bit out of place in a deployed military environment, they serve to remind the Soldiers of home and the fun of the holiday season.