20051225

HO HO, Ho Ho Ho Christmas Eve. We chilled out by trying to watch a movie and enjoy a stoag as it was a quiet day. The movie began and so did the excitement. One post calls out that they have aggressors moving towards the parameter wall. A single pop up goes out to the north east then all the shooting began. AK 47 and M16 rang close with more illume going up into the sky. We were use to such probs and attacks and we continued to watch the movie. Quiet again. Another illume and then more shooting but this time a close 240G medium machine gun opened up and began to mow down the would be attackers. Easily going through 100 rounds the M16s continued to pick off dark shadows as the 240’s released hell. More illume and the shadows stopped. Nothing moved anymore and the night was quiet again. The weather last night and all today (Dec 25th) was like back in the states. A nip of cold, a light rain which is very strange. The burning trash just off the base made you think of fire places burning, except is was rubber and other nasty crap. We were a bit wound up and decided to perhaps watch some TV but when we turned it on it blew out. Not so good. Being the Marines we are we figured, adapt over come adjust and hell, we can fix this thing no problem, out comes the screw driver, out come the screws, pieces fall out and I send a Marine for the duct tape. A couple IEDs detonate off base, its about 2200 now and football it starting in the states, Operation TV patch up was underway. It was a Panasonic 24 inch and has a couple fuses in it-go figure. Replace the fuses plug in, put on ballistic glasses and stand back. As we plugged it in the devil shot out he back, small animals scurried away and a mattress caught on fire………….situation under control! The Lt and I debated what we need to pull out and tear off that wasn’t needed, we began with the burnt pieces. We called a time out and had some “Whoopers� that were sent to us……….man they are GOOD! So the Lt was feeding his pie hole and I told him I’ll give you $50 to eat all of those and the box and you can use some all the grapefruit juice you want to wash it down! He did pretty good and then realized the cardboard box wasn’t going to go down as easily as first thought and we bailed the idea. Christmas day morning began with me sleeping in. Quiet, peaceful. It was a bit nippley out but all in all good. We took care of some morning items that needed to take of and then lit up a nice stoag for breakfast. We hit some golf balls into the Euphrates river and everyone enjoyed more stoags………it was great and the sentries took cover from our slices! Went and delivered some Christmas presents to some younger Marines. Young Marines enjoyed their special gifts (things they need) and said a simple “Thank you�. Although I heard it, the words were meant for all of you back home. There isn’t anything that can replace the smile on a young Marines face when you give him a gift that he wasn’t expecting. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do that. I owe it all to you. We have some good chow today and I will take my place behind the serving line to dish out some good chow to the Marines today. Its not home cooked but its not MRE’s. I took my place and added a bit of “Elvis� to the chow line. Its ok mom, everybody that went through got plenty of vegetables, I made sure of it. We had a couple of Santa’s that conducted a frontal attack on one location as their fighting spirit rang through like the holidays as they kicked in doors and delivered their gifts, what a country! They opened up the BIG can of whoop ass on one terrorist but then of course we gave them a medal, some more ammo and claymore mines and fired our support by fire positions to let them continue their attacks. Im going to watch Madagasgar the movie now as a couple little warriors back home thought I would like it and if I watch it, it will somehow connect us and we too will be together this holiday. We hope you all back home have the very happiest of holidays and know we are honored to be on the front lines for you. Sleep well tonight the Marines are on watch! Merry Christmas & Semper Fi from Iraq! Capt B COMBAT UPDATE We are still kicking their Haji Ass! ((ANOTHER STORY!)) Seven-year-old Katherine Downing cries "I want my daddy back" during a happy and sad video call to her father Marine Staff Sgt. Robert Downing serving in Iraq by the Syrian boarder Friday morning at the Vista Boys and Girls Club. Barbara Downing, her son Bobby. 8, daughter Katherine, and baby Karla. 10 months, talk to husband and father via the internet for about 15 minutes during Operation Connect Global Event. Jamie Scott Lytle Order a copy of this photo Additional Links -->Visit our Photo Gallery (nctimes.com) When Sarah Cylkowski got the call, she hopped in her car at 1 a.m. Friday and drove through the night, from Tempe, Ariz. to Vista, Calif.She was going to see her husband for the holidays, if only for a few minutes. In two private rooms at the Boys & Girls Club, dozens of wives, mothers, fathers and children used Internet video-conferencing software Friday to interact with Marines stationed in Iraq. Reunited using tiny cameras, microphones and digital screens, the families laughed, waved and often cried.The project, dubbed Operation Connect, was hosted by Next Generation Business Resources, an Irvine-based telecommunications company; America Supporting Americans, a nonprofit military support group; the Boys & Girls Club of Vista and the Rotary Club of Vista.Participating Marines were from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, stationed near the Syrian border. There are more than 600 troops in the battalion, said Chief Warrant Officer Jason Scroggs, the family liaison. Many relatives didn't know if their Marine would be available to chat until the last minute.The project suffered some early kinks. Sound was spotty and a volunteer had to run out and buy headsets to reduce the echoes.But for Cylkowski, 20, nothing could spoil the mood."I understood maybe three things he said," she said after seeing her husband for the first time in four months. "But I could see him smile, and that's what matters."With tears streaming down her flushed cheeks, she walked back toward her car. "I would make this trip every day if I could," she said.Camp Pendleton resident Barbara Downing, 29, waited an hour to give her three children a chance to see their father, Staff Sgt. Robert Downing. The foursome crowded together to get into the camera's field of vision."Honey, you need to eat, you look so skinny," she told her husband."Yeah, you need to be strong!" added Bobby, the couple's 8-year-old son.The oldest daughter Katherine, 7, tried to maintain her composure, but when her father reached into his pocket and pulled out a crayon drawing she had made, her tears started flowing."They asked Santa for something I don't think he'll be able to bring," the mother said to her husband. "They want you to come home."She paused to listen to his reply in the headset, then laughed and said, "yeah, and an Xbox."Operation Connect came together in less than two weeks, said Gerald Kostecka, marketing director for Next Generation Business Resources, which provided the equipment. So many families showed up the hours had to be extended.Rotarian volunteer and former Marine Jack Dausman, 78, said the instant communication was a sharp contrast with the two weeks it would take to get a letter when he was serving in Korea and Vietnam."It makes a big difference," Dausman said. "Look at the expressions on these people's faces. It makes your Christmas."
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