It’s always interesting to see how the military, and even the different branches within it, navigate “the holidays” at this time of year. Some, it seems, sincerely think mentioning the Christian celebration that occurs at this time every year is somehow forbidden.
For the record, however, Secretary of Defense James Mattis didn’t hesitate to send a message to the Armed Forces saying “Merry Christmas.”
The New York National Guard participated in an uncensored Christmas Eve Road March.
Task Force Raider in Poland “spread Christmas cheer” at a local Read more
In a summary of how Christmas was treated around the military this year:
Air Force leadership wished their Airmen “Happy Holidays“, without expressly saying to what holidays they were referring.
Fort Stewart had an actual Christmas tree with Christmas carols, though the quotation about the meaning of the season — “a time to grow and reflect” — was a bit off.
Schofield Barracks managed to only light a “Holiday Tree,” though seeming to tacitly acknowledge there was only one holiday that was celebrated with a lit tree in December.
The US Air Force continued its annual tradition of supporting Operation Christmas Drop.
Fairchild AFB managed to use the word “holiday” five times in a single caption — and didn’t use “Christmas” once, despite referring to songs, trees, and Santa Claus, all on Read more
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
US military leaders publicized their “holiday messages” in a series of videos just before Christmas. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his wife made a point of saying “Merry Christmas,” as well as including a still photo from a homosexual proposal during a homecoming ceremony.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Marty Dempsey and his family sang “Jingle Bells” and wished everyone a “Merry Christmas.”
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and her Read more
The US Air Force conducted its annual Operation Christmas Drop over Micronesia this year:
[Ongoing] since December 1952…Operation Christmas Drop is the longest running humanitarian airlift mission supported by the Department of Defense.
U.S. military service members, their families, and the people of Guam teamed up with the Christmas Drop Organization to ensure a successful mission. The Christmas Drop Organization is a private organization 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
The Stars and Stripes covers the 58th annual Operation Christmas Drop executed by the US Air Force over the Federated States of Micronesia.
The Christmas drop started in 1952 when the aircrew of a WB-29 bomber from Anderson flew over the Micronesian atoll of Kapingamarangi and noticed the islanders waving to them. [In the spirit of the holiday season] the crew quickly gathered some items they had on the plane, placed them in a container with a parachute attached and dropped the cargo as they circled back over, according to the Air Force… Read more