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GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Spending the holidays away from home can be tough, but the soldiers at Forward Operating Base Vulcan celebrated Christmas the best way they could – together.
There are 85 Georgia National Guard soldiers assigned to the Combined Action Unit on FOB Vulcan. The job of the CAU is to support and train the Afghan National Police.
“Our mission ranges from providing training, to planning for and going on missions with the ANP as well as providing logistical support and mentorship,” said 1st Lt. David Esra, Qara Bagh/Wagez Police Mentoring Team Chief.
To help the soldiers get through the holidays, leadership within the unit came up with a plan. Going in a slightly non-traditional route, they hired a local restaurant to come to the FOB and prepare a traditional Afghan meal. After everyone had the chance to eat and socialize, the different platoons performed the skits they had put together.
“We wanted people to have the chance to mingle and eat,” said 1st Lt. Jace Walden, CAU executive officer. “We have an extremely high operational tempo here so we don’t get a lot of down time. The holiday season can be lonely for soldiers, especially guys who have never experienced a holiday away from their families before. It was a good idea to get everyone together in a non-stressful environment. We wanted to pull back for a day or two, enjoy each other’s company, and cut-up for a little bit.”
Each successive platoon performed their skits in an attempt to out-do the other. Some sang traditional carols with less-than-traditional lyrics; others created and performed skits. All the performances were good natured, and definitely intended to be funny.
The highlight of the evening was a solo by Pfc. Jason Garrett, a Milledgeville, Ga., native, who played guitar and sang “Roll With Me”, by Montgomery Gentry. While the song is not a traditional holiday carol, it was a song that all could identify with.
“We’ve got a really good group of soldiers. They’re very strong minded and they’ll get through the holidays,” said Walden. “I think one of the benefits of being on a small FOB is that you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you know. Everyone knows and is close to everyone. It’s what helps to get through all of the adversity we face because we are such a tight knit group. It’s going to help them carry through the holidays.”
With Christmas over, this task saturated team will be back to their normal operational tempo, a little closer to one another, and one day closer to going home.
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