Christmas in a Combat Zone

I was thinking this morning on my way in to work about Christmas, in particular, Christmas away from home.  I remember my Christmas in Vietnam – just another day merged into the many, highlighted by Christmas dinner in the mess hall.

In the week preceding Christmas, I had to leave Phu Bai for a meeting in Saigon at the 509th Radio Research Group headquarters and was trying to get back to Phu Bai on Christmas Eve – my goal was to get there in time to see the Bob Hope Christmas show at Camp Eagle, base camp area of the 101st Airborne Division.  It was a big deal that he was going to be that far north, and it wasn’t every day you were able to see the show in person.

For whatever reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t due to a snow storm since global warming hadn’t been invented yet, by the time I reached Danang, there were no flights leaving the Air Base and I would have to spend Christmas Eve night in the posh Danang Air Base passenger terminal.  As bad as that may sound, while dozing off in one of the plush waiting lounge chairs (and I use the latter terms very loosely) I was pleasantly surprised to be woken up by several members of the Bob Hope show entourage!  I can’t remember to this day who I met, but they were all very nice, and did a great job of lifting my otherwise despondent spirits that night.  Thanks!

No, I did not meet Bob Hope, I didn’t get invited to travel with them, and I did not get to Phu Bai in time to see the show.  I did however, arrive at Tri Bac Station in time to have a great Christmas dinner, and be on time for the evening shift.

Christmas in a combat zone?  Often just another day to a Soldier, but a day we need to make a special effort to lift our deployed Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors up in prayer as it’s a day packed full of memories for those young men and women so far away from their loved ones.

– duane

About RetiredMSG

Master Sergeant (E-8), US Army (Retired) (10/01/1990) MOS 98Z50, 98C source MOS Ft. Dix, NJ; Ft. Devens, MA; 8th RRFS Phu Bai, RVN; 407th RRD Quang Tri, RVN; 313th ASA Bn, Ft. Bragg, NC; Defense Language Institute-East Coast, Anacostia, MD; 1st USASAFS Vint Hill Farms Station, Warrenton, VA; Consolidated Security Operations Center, San Antonio, TX; HQ USASA Arlington Hall Station, Arlington, VA; Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers Education School, Ft. Devens, MA; 330th EW Avn Co (Fwd), Kaiserslautern/Gruenstadt, GE; HQ USAINSCOM Arlington Hall Station, Arlington, VA; 370th EW Co (HF DF Rear), Vint Hill Farms Station, Warrenton, VA; AFCENT Reserve Corps (Fwd), Maastricht, NL; HQ USAINSCOM Arlington Hall Station, Arlington, VA; HQ USAINSCOM Nolan Building, Ft. Belvoir, VA DoD Civilian (Retired) (12/31/2012) 2009 - 2012 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence 2010 - 2011 U.S. Forces - Iraq/Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission - Intelligence Department of the Army Civilian 2002 - 2009 Hq Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence 1990 - 2002 Hq U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command
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1 Response to Christmas in a Combat Zone

  1. John Mastro says:

    Christmas 1971 seems like a long time ago, but not a year goes by without remembering those that I served with, and those that did not come home. For Gary and Bruce there will always be an empty chair at the family table. I was still at 265th RRC, 1st platoon at Eagle and I was fortunate to see Bob Hope and Miss America. I can’t remember if it was Christmas Day. We had seats close to the stage but we moved for TV cameras. Dinner back at the platoon area was a combination of C rats and home goodie packages. Christmas night was spent on radio watch, keeping contact with our guys at the 101st FSB.


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