Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Operation Sleigh Ride Brightens Troops’ Day

Two determined U.S. Army officers ensured soldiers serving in Afghanistan
would receive packages from home in time for Christmas.

U.S. Army Cpl. John Chriswell

BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Dec. 27, 2005 — Christmas in Afghanistan will never rival a Christmas at home, but for two U.S. Army officers from the 1st Personnel Command, they have gone above and beyond to bring home to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Col. Philip J. Smith, 1st Personnel Command commander from U.S. Army Europe and Capt. Peter M. Perzel, commander of the 510th Postal Company, delivered more than 10,000 pounds of mail to forward operating bases at Salerno, Ghazni, Orgun-E and Sharana, during Operation Sleigh Ride on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

"Seeing the smiles on the faces of these soldiers as they receive packages from home makes being here during the holidays worth while," said Smith.

While being here through the holidays is rough on just about everybody, missing family and home are some of the biggest problems most soldiers have to deal with.

"Dressing up as Santa is only one part of this journey today," said Perzel, "Delivering the packages their families have sent them for Christmas, helps the distance between them close, which completes our travels here."

For one soldier in Organ-E, it meant the world to see Santa.

"I thought that I was not going to get mail for awhile, but seeing the helicopters come in brought a light to all of us," said Staff Sgt. John Brooks. "And seeing Santa come off the back put the icing on the cake."

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