Christmas Message from National Commander

Posted: Dec 15, 2018

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS! FROM YOUR NATIONAL COMMANDER

I remember my 1st Christmas away from home. It was 1966 and I had just completed AIT as a combat engineer at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. My family had not seen me for 5 months. I was so excited about rejoining my family, having roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, gift giving.

Imagine my shock to learn I would not be going home. I would be carrying lumps of coal to keep our barracks warm and running hot water to keep the water pipes from freezing.  Sadly, I called my parents. I remember Dad telling me, “Well son, you take good care of yourself. We will all miss you.” I made the best of it.

The Christmas of 1967, I was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division, headquartered at Cu Chi. I had by then led many combat missions as an Infantry Platoon Leader. I was tired. Worn down from lack of sleep. I learned that I would be having roast turkey on Christmas day with my new family – my fellow combat warriors. 

I also learned that two hours before, there would be religious services from our army Chaplains representing Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews. It was strange. Our clothes wet and hanging from our bodies. Yet here we were, heads bowed in prayer, thanking God for being alive and wishing our families a joyous Christmas.

After the service we grabbed aluminum trays that were quickly filled with roast turkey and all the trimmings. All chatting away, there was no rank among us only the comraderie that exists among us. All American patriots.

Our youth has long gone. Many of us are suffering from medical problems related to getting old, others suffering from recent wounds received in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Wherever you are this Christmas, let us offer up a silent prayer to our fellow combat warriors; to family members not in the best of health; to our fellow active duty Infantrymen stationed in a foreign country far away from family and country.

We all thank God for His blessing. Unbowed by hardship we shall make the best of it because that’s what we are – Combat Soldiers!  

Best regards, 

Al Serrato



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