Hawaii Based Soldiers Spend Christmas In Iraq

Dec 24, 2006 09:22 PM

by: Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - There is no season of peace and joy in Iraq.

Thousands of Hawaii-based soldiers there face the threat of attacks and roadside bombs. Christmas Eve is no different.

Our Hawaii-based soldiers are deployed this Christmas Eve.

For the soldiers, Christmas in Iraq does not feel like Christmas at all.

And for their spouses here in the islands it's hard to be in the Christmas spirit.

At Camp Falcon Iraq those on patrols think about the mission, not the holiday.

But back at camp, soldiers try to make the most of the holiday.

Captain Jay Tobin says, "This is a dangerous place Lord and we recognize that. We also acknowledge that you protect us daily".

Soldiers celebrate the birth of Christ at this church service.

Sgt. Eric Tisinger adds, "it's extremely important, it reminds them not only of home but of their faith."

Care packages are a reminder of home. Local army wife Pua Mamea sent her husband eight Christmas care packages. "I made sure he had his tuna, corn beef, box ramen noodles, rice. His local friends samoan friends he shares his food."

His favorite gift was a photo of her.

Mamea says she sent, "a little snowglobe we made snowglobes and he said oh I got a picture of you."

Her husband has been in Iraq since July but Pua is by no means alone this Christmas.

Mamea adds, "I'm looking forward to the holidays and I think he is too. With family and friends around that's good it keeps me going."

And Christmas came early for Mamea last night.

"I got to talk to him. He called for a brief 5 minutes and I got to wish him a Merry Christmas because it is Christmas Eve there. He sounded happy, he is making the best of it, he is doing good."

Pua is looking forward to February when her husband gets to come home for a mid-tour break.