Friday, 25 December 2015
Merry Christmas from the troops: Watch the touching messages from soldiers and sailors serving overseas to their loved ones back home
They might be thousands of kilometres away in dangerous war zones, but our troops have still got into the festive spirit despite being separated from their loved ones. troops and officers from the Australian army and navy have sent their Christmas cheer back home to the ones they love and miss, and the country they have given up their festive season to serve.
Showing the lighter side of the defence forces, many donned Santa hats, tinsel or other Christmas decorations, sending their messages with a mixture of emotions both happy and sad.
But by and large, they have smiles on their faces as they bid their families and friends a merry Christmas.
And mainly, they are thankful for the support they had received from those back home.
'I can't wait to come home and finally go on our honeymoon.'
Another, who identified himself as Leading Aircraftman Ben, opened his message with a distinctly Australian note while wearing a Santa hat and pigtails.
'G'day Australia... I'd like to thank everyone back home for for their help and support while we've been here. In particular, I'd like to thank my wife Gaylene, my son Xavier, my mother and father and my sister.'
Personnel Capability Officer Nicole took her place in front of a flag of a muscle-bound kangaroo wearing a slouch hat and holding an Australian flag.
She gave a 'big shout out' to Aussie Hero Quilts - a group who make quilts for service men and women - and thanked family and friends at home.
The majority of the defence force troops in the messages had been deployed to the Middle East.
A diverse range of people are shown in the videos, revealing some of the varying faces of Australian troops.
In total, about 2,200 troops were spending Christmas away from home,
Colonel Gavin Keating, Commander of Task Force Taji, in Baghdad, told the ABC despite being the challenges of being away from home, his troops were had high morale.
'There's no doubt that being in an army family is a tough job, it takes very special people, partners, and it can be tough on the kids as well,' he said.
Many had been deployed more than once, however, and were used to it.
Some would spend Christmas day playing a game of cricket against members of the New Zealand Defence Force, and in keeping with tradition, officers and senior non-commissioned officers would serve lunch to the troops.
There would also be carols and church services, he said.