Despite deployment and austere conditions at locations around the world, the US military tries to provide its troops the resources and opportunities they need to celebrate Christmas, as well as the freedom to interact with local communities to honor the Christmas season. In most, but not all, cases, the military isn’t afraid to say “Christmas” or “Hanukkah” or otherwise acknowledge the point of what’s being celebrated — despite the occasional criticism from Scut Farkus. Some recent examples, from Colorado Springs to Japan:
Sailors at Fleet Activities Sasebo (Japan) brought Christmas gifts to orphans through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
Led by their battalion commander, LtCol Lawson Bell, Soldiers out of Fort Carson, Colorado, participated in an all-night march to downtown Colorado Springs, where they teamed with Catholic Charities to support the Marian House Soup Kitchen.
The III MEF Band at Read more
The US Army recently highlighted how Soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment continue to support the Holy Family Home out of Japan — a relationship that began during the American occupation at the end of World War II. As described by a unit commander,
“Today, as we begin the 59th visit of the children to Hawaii, we look forward on building on the tradition of love and friendship begun so many years ago,” said Lt. Col. Glen T. Helberg, commander, 2-27th Inf. Regt., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
The relationship between the US Army and the Catholic orphanage began when a Red Cross representative introduced members of the 27th Infantry Regiment to the orphanage — and discovered it in dire shape: Read more
From around the world:
Operation Christmas Drop, the annual event in which C-130s drop packages to remote Pacific Islands, completed its 61st year.
Airmen from Yokota Air Base, Japan, were joined by the University of Guam, the local community and charitable organizations to provide more than 39,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies to islanders during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 11 to 18.
A commenter on AF.mil site sarcastically noted it is only a matter of time before someone complains about the name of the operation hiding an attempt to conver the locals…
The Stars and Stripes had a few more details, including the Operation’s use of condemned Air Force parachutes, and the unfortunate consequences of using a chute that’s too small.
A San Antonio-based US Army Public Affairs Read more
Marines spread joy of Christmas, Soldiers donate to Catholic Charity, Toys for Tots teams with Christian non-profit…
Members of the US military continue to participate in traditional acts of charity and community service, even when such efforts are connected (however remotely) with religious organizations — despite Michael Weinstein’s efforts to quash such efforts last month.
The reason, of course, is that despite a somewhat unusual reaction from the US Air Force Academy last month, the US military has had no problem associating itself with religious organizations in their efforts to conduct humanitarian or charitable work. In fact, it seems the majority of such work is conducted in concert with organizations that are in some way connected to a faith group, probably because so many humanitarian and charitable organizations are faith-based to begin with.
And that’s OK — because there is no military policy, regulation, or Read more
A few news sites reported last week on the US Air Force Academy’s participation in — and then reconsideration of its participation in — Operation Christmas Child, in which shoeboxes with basic sundries and gifts are given to needy children around the world by Samaritan’s Purse.
The situation is fairly complex, as evidenced by the fact a few news organizations had to edit and reissue their news articles to correct misunderstandings about what really occurred.
Undisputed public statements indicate cadets at the US Air Force Academy came up with the idea to participate in Operation Christmas Child. They made an announcement in Mitchell Hall (the wing dining facility, with all cadets present) and subsequently sent out a wing-wide email explaining who to contact to participate.
A cadet who “didn’t think much about it at first” later forwarded the email to Michael Weinstein calling it part of the “religious problem” proving the US military “support[s] one religion, which is of course Christianity.” (Weinstein published the email, complete with the names and personal information of the cadets involved, though he redacted his supporter’s information.) Less than 24 hours later, Weinstein was in the local news
accus[ing] commanders of crossing the line by Read more