With the holidays upon us, families come together to reconnect and celebrate. But for many military families, the one person they are most proud of and wish they could be with this holiday season may be missing – their servicemember. Whether it is a brother, sister, father or mother, there are family members who cannot join in on the festivities. They are spending their holidays defending our nation.
Coast Guard men and women, along with all members of the Armed Forces, continue to stand the watch around the world. They ensure that we can scour the stores in search of the perfect gift, deck the halls with our family and ring in the New Year safely. From a smallboat station along the Great Lakes to a patrol boat off the coast of Bahrain, Coast Guardsmen remain vigilant.
“After nine years in the Coast Guard, missing holidays has not gotten any easier,” said Lt. Eric Burley, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy and currently on deployment with Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. “I’m happy to have a tight-knit crew to spend the holidays with while serving in the Middle East. It truly is a home away from home on board and I feel truly lucky to spend time with the women and men onboard USCGC Monomoy this holiday season.”
While there are servicemembers who are used to being away for the holidays, many are experiencing being far from home for the first time.
“This is my first holiday away from my husband and kids,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Sarah Whorton who is also currently deployed with Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. “It’s tough for all of us, but the support I’ve received has been amazing. It makes the work so much more enjoyable and helps the holidays we’re missing back home to not seem so far away.”
We know full well that our deployed service members cannot serve their country without the continuous support from their loved ones at home. It is through those family members, friends and communities at home advocating for their servicemember that they are able to perform the mission with that much more passion and drive.
Despite the absence of our deployed servicemembers we can still find time to acknowledge their sacrifice. This holiday season, take time to reflect on those who have made a difference in your life and the community. In the spirit of the holidays, be sure to show your thanks and gratitude for the servicemember in your life.
We are eternally grateful for the courageous and hardworking deployed men and women for all that they do in protecting our great nation.
To see more holiday “shout-outs” visit the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.