Tidings from Tikrit
Far from home for the holidays, Schofield soldiers in Iraq express their gratitude for family, colleagues, the public's support -- and just being alive.
Schofield Barracks soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team are located in Iraq this holiday season. The Star-Bulletin with the help of Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Clementson asked Tropic Lightning soldiers assigned since September to Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit, what they were thankful this holiday season isolated so far from families and friends in a war zone.
Staff Sgt. Jason Ignacio, maintenance NCO, HHC, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB):
"I'm thankful for all the good care packages we've received from friends and family in Hawaii. I'm also thankful that my family is home safe in Hawaii."
Pfc. Nancy Lightfield, Unmanned Aerial Surveillance, 25th CAB:
"I am thankful for my friends and family back in Hawaii sending gifts to my unit, keeping our morale up. I want to say hi to my friends Teresa and T.J. in Wahiawa."
Staff Sgt. Robert Adamove, operational law NCO, HHC, 25th CAB:
"I'm just thankful for the support of my wife and my son back in Hawaii. What they do for me means so much for me and helps me get through this deployment. Thank you."
Sgt. Richard Mamea, human resource sergeant, HHC, 25th CAB:
"I'm thankful for my wife, my family and friends, and for their support and their endless love sending me their prayers to me and all the soldiers."
Staff Sgt. James Hooks, PSS NCO, Detachment A, 556th Personnel Support Battalion:
"I am thankful for my family and the support they have given me. And I'm thankful that the soldiers from the 556 PSB have all been safe since we've been here in Iraq."
Staff Sgt. David Gilley, medic, Special Troops Battalion:
"We will probably have a little Christmas party out here and that will probably be it. I am thankful for all of the support for us back home."
Pfc. Kelsey Brown, medic, Special Troops Battalion:
"This Christmas I am going to spend the day sleeping and eating a lot of chocolates. I am thankful for being alive."
Staff Sgt. Celestine Nichols-Lynch, career counselor, HHC, 25th CAB:
"I'm thankful for the support of my family and just being alive here in Iraq every day."
Pfc. Rebekah Vandiver, Special Troops Battalion:
"I am thankful that my children are well taken care of by husband back home. I will be spending time with friends and I am sure there will be plenty of music involved."
Pfc. Heather Bender, medic, Special Troops Battalion:
"I am going to go to Mass first thing in the morning and spend the afternoon waiting by the phones so I can call home. I am thankful that even though I can't be back home with my family, which I am not used to, they still have made sure that I know they are thinking of me and they support us."
Staff Sgt. Jeffery Roseman, career counselor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB):
"I am very thankful for all the supporters back in the United States that have been sending us packages and gifts and making the soldiers feel like they're wanted and they're doing a good thing over here."
Staff Sgt. Demetris Dangerfield, communications NCO, Special Troops Battalion:
"I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to uphold a lot of the things we are doing here for America. This is my first tour here and I feel like I am doing this for the soldiers in my family. I am also thankful for God, allowing me to be here. For this holiday I am looking forward to a video teleconference with my wife back in Honolulu."
Capt. Nathan Setka, Special Troops Battalion:
"I plan on spending some time with my soldiers and calling home to let my family know that I am thinking about them. I am thankful for my family and friends and everyone back home who hasn't forgotten about us and sends us all those great things in the mail."
Spc. Laketra Wilson, mail clerk, Special Troops Battalion:
"I am thankful for being out here and being able to have a job that is not in harm's way. Being stationed at Speicher is a blessing because it is being built up and there is not a lot of danger. I am a mail clerk and it feels good keeping the soldiers' morale up. On Christmas Day, the S-1 shop is going to be doing a secret Santa, so we are going to be exchanging gifts with everyone inside the office and we are probably going to eat dinner together."
Sgt. Semiko Q. Powell, human resource sergeant, HHC, 25th CAB:
"The two things that I am most thankful for is freedom and my family. Those are the two biggest that a lot of people take for granted. I just want to say I love and miss you, Justin and Carrion, and I will see you soon. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."
Maj. Adrian Hughley, brigade adjutant, HHC, 25th CAB:
"I would like to thank my wife, Crystal, and daughters Serena and Jasmine back in Hawaii, my friends and family back in Georgia. Last but not least I am thankful for the professional soldiers who make my job easier."
Capt. Renny LeFebvre, commander, Detachment A, 556th PSB:
"I'm thankful to have a supportive wife and the rear detachment supporting us over here at Speicher, Iraq. Also, I'm thankful for my wife, Leslie, holding down the home front and continuing to do well at the University of Hawaii."