FRG sends pine trees downrange

| January 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

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25th ID

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq — A real Christmas tree, complete with decorations, brought holiday cheer to the Soldiers of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who are deployed to the Diyala province of northern Iraq.

Tracey Murray, family readiness group advisor and the wife of the deployed battalion commander, helped organize the effort to send Christmas trees.

“One of our FRG leaders, Sherri De Silva, was here during the last deployment and remembered how they sent live Christmas trees to the troops downrange,” Murray said. “We decided to do it again to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to our Soldiers.”

“The Christmas tree is a nice morale booster for Soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Carlo Principio, generator mechanic, Company B, 225th BSB, 2nd BCT.

“It’s just amazing to see a real Christmas tree out here,” said Principio, who is serving his fourth deployment to Iraq, the third during the holiday season. “It’s one of the last things you expect to see over in the desert; the pine smell alone reminds me of home.”

The 225th BSB FRG contacted a tree nursery in McMillan, Mich., to begin the process of bringing the Christmas spirit to the troops, a journey of more than 6,235 miles.

The coordination to bring the 11 trees to the desert was no simple feat, Murray said, since the current deployment scattered the battalion across two provinces in Iraq, an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania.

“The coordination was a little trickier for this deployment,” she said. “The brigade is responsible for a much larger area, and the (225th) BSB Soldiers are literally everywhere.

“After we coordinated with the rear detachment and our deployed Soldiers, each of our company FRGs adopted a (forward operating base) and sent a tree to the battalion point of contact there, regardless if it was ‘their’ Soldier,” Murray said.

Each company FRG leader also sent individual boxes of Christmas tree lights and decorations to their adopted bases.

“While it is hard for our families to be without their Soldier during the holidays, we know it must be even harder for the Soldiers downrange,” she said. “We hope this brings a little bit of Christmas cheer to every one of our Soldiers.”

Lt. Col. Scott Murray, battalion commander, 225th BSB, 2nd BCT, said he was touched to see the battalion families’ and friends’ amazing efforts in taking care of the Soldiers during the holidays.

“Every Soldier who is away from home always thinks about home,” he said. “Anything you can do that would remind them (of home) and what it feels like during Christmas, is important because it lets them know people back home are thinking about them.

“It’s great to see the Soldiers’ spirits lifted in such a way by our families back home,” he added.

The battalion commander said seeing holiday decorations arriving from home was also a great morale booster for the troops, because it changes the mood and atmosphere around the workplace.


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Category: Community, Deployed Forces

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