Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006 in Iraq

Surprise Christmas phone call received from Nate

What a wonderful Christmas present for the Salatin family this year!

Nate's parents received a special Christmas gift when he was able to phone home on Friday, Dec. 22, and again on Saturday, Dec. 23, to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. It was a complete surprise because his Unit had been out of touch for weeks, and they weren't expecting to hear from him until after the holidays. He was able to talk with his parents and siblings and, though hopeful of being on base through Christmas Day, his Unit received orders they were heading out again on Dec. 24. He was somewhere in the desert of Iraq on Christmas Day.

We in America enjoyed a peaceful Christmas safe in our homes because of our troops in Iraq and around the world ... men like Nate ... who were far from home fighting the war on terrorism there so we don't have to face it here.

Because they are on patrol they don't have regular access to telephones or computers or mail service so communication has been sketchy. It's winter now and extremely cold. For the past several weeks Nate and his Unit lived in their vehicles as they kept watch over the area between Syria and Baghdad which sees the heaviest traffic from foreign terrorists slipping into Iraq. As I've described before, Nate's Unit sweeps for mines and IEDs on the roadways and, while they've thankfully not had any fatalities, a bomb exploded recently under a vehicle that caused injuries.

Nate's family sent a Christmas package to him that included some Christmas ornaments so he decorated the inside of his military vehicle with those! Knowing Nate is to know optimism in the face of adversity.

Nate's parents relayed the following to their network of family and friends:

Thank you again for upholding Nate in prayer, and supporting him in so many other ways. He sounded good on the phone. Thank you, also, for remembering our family in prayer. Both the burden of concern for Nate, and the support of so many caring friends are very real to us. Nate is now just over half way through his twelve months of active duty.

No matter how you feel about the war in Iraq please support our troops. They need to know America is behind them in their efforts to keep us free.

Be safe, Nate. God bless....
Lance Cpl. Nate Salatin, 21, from Augusta County, VA, is currently serving with the United States Marine Corps in Iraq. Past posts about him include Merry Christmas Nate ... Semper Fi, Christmas, Nate, Happy Thanksgiving, Nate, Nate, 9/11 ... a Nation Remembers.


Anonymous said...

Semper Fi, Nate, and all the Devil Dogs!

It struck a cord with me when you said that his unit was not able to have regular access to communications. When I was deployed for the first time, in 1979, I often received letters that were mailed 2 to 3 months before. If the ship's schedule changed enroute to a port of call, the mail would get rerouted several times (usually in the wrong direction). Overseas phone calls, depending upon where you were, could run as much as $8.00 per minute.

Email didn't exist, but we did have onboard every ship a MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) station. This was a way of patching a phone call, via shortwave, to the U.S. It was a hit or miss deal and you had to speak as though you were talking on the radio....because you were. "I love you, Honey. Over."

I don't know what my original point was, but I am so proud of the young men and women that make up our military today. It is just a shame that their heroics aren't the headlines on our daily papers.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Thank you, Phil, for your service to this country. We as a Nation are not loud enough in our recognition or thanks to our military men and women ... and to try and get the mainstream media to recognize them is nearly impossible. They are looking for the negatives. If they were in Iraq and there were 100 men to talk with, they would ferret out the one who was against the war and slammed the President. Forget the other 99 who believe in what they are doing and honor our President.

We must start to take control of the information outlets in this country so the liberal agenda will begin to fade from the forefront.

I want my children to be proud of their nation, proud of the military, and proud of their President. How can they as long as liberals are praised while conservatives are belittled?

Nate is an example of today's military -- NOT what John Kerry would have you believe. Nate volunteered for the Marines, he was at the head of his freshman class at VMI before activating last summer to go to Iraq, and he is a leader in the community.

That's our future conservative leadership. We will be in good hands!