‘Tropic Lightning’ sergeant relives the gift of giving during holidays

| January 6, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Chase Martin (left), intelligence analyst, HHBN, 25th ID, hands a care package to a fellow Soldier, Dec. 24, at Camp Liberty, Iraq. Martin received more than 100 care packages from members of his family and his hometown community in support of "Operation Iraqi Star.”

Sgt. Chase Martin (left), intelligence analyst, HHBN, 25th ID, hands a care package to a fellow Soldier, Dec. 24, at Camp Liberty, Iraq. Martin received more than 100 care packages from members of his family and his hometown community in support of “Operation Iraqi Star.”

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Jesus J. Aranda
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

 

BAGHDAD — During the holiday season, while many Americans are surrounded by the comfort of their homes and in the company of their loved ones, some Americans are far away, in service to their country.

Recognizing this, many military supporters, family members and volunteers donate hours of their time to ensure deployed service members know people back home are still thinking about them, still hold a special place for them and still honor their sacrifices.

For Sgt. Chase Martin, an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, the support of such people has always been available to him during his military service.

“The community I live in is very supportive of the military,” Martin said, of his hometown of Idaho Falls, Idaho. “We have a National Guard unit nearby, and many (people) know what it is like to have a loved one deployed.”

Many people in Martin’s family are active members of a charity group known as “Operation Iraqi Star,” a volunteer-driven group that sends gifts and care packages to deployed Soldiers during the holidays.

“My parents and wife took out an ad in the paper,” Martin said. “We had many volunteers who packed the boxes, donated items or shipped the boxes to help out.”

Martin said the experience of personally delivering the community’s gratitude was a fulfilling and familiar privilege.

“It feels great,” Martin said, with a smile. “It was two years ago that I was passing out gifts from home while deployed, and here I am again.”

During 25th ID’s prior deployment in 2008 to Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Martin said just as many care packages were sent from his hometown in support of the Soldiers. Because of this, his co-workers were not surprised when dozens of care packages began to flood Martin’s mailbox.

“The mail clerk here recognized me from last deployment,” Martin said, laughing. “A lot of mail comes for me.”

Martin said because of this influx of mail, many deployed Soldiers could enjoy a gift when he or she may not have received one.

“It feels good knowing that as we draw down here – and live in an austere environment – that someone is thinking of us,” Martin said. “(People) here will appreciate a gift sent from a stranger, and their morale and spirits will be boosted.”

Operation Iraqi Star collected more than 100 care packages and special gifts that were distributed to the Soldiers serving at Camp Liberty, Iraq, on Christmas Eve.

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Deployed Forces, News

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