AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Deployed service members at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, celebrated Christmas with several events including Breakfast with Santa, a holiday concert, a movie marathon and a holiday meal served by base leadership on Christmas day.
One Airman even received a call from Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James.
“I was honored to get a call from the Secretary of the Air Force,” said Senior Airman Christopher Taylor, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group medical logistician from Hendersonville, Tennessee. “I know she’s very busy and there are a lot of Airmen in the Air Force so it’s pretty special to receive that call.”
James asked Taylor about how his career, life at AUAB and how he and his family were doing before wishing Taylor a Merry Christmas.
“That was neat,” Taylor said. “I’m thankful she asked about me and my family because it shows she cares.”
Tops in Blue, an expeditionary entertainment unit, performed at AUAB on Christmas night entertaining hundreds of service members with hit songs including “Uptown Funk,” “Your Lips Are Moving,” and “Thinking Out Loud.” The group also honored six airmen who were killed in action in Afghanistan on Dec. 21 with a moment of silence and a patriotic song entitled “Hero For Today.”
“For the rest of our tour we are going to honor those airmen and any other fallen or wounded warriors because they are our heroes,” said Jeremy Karcher, a vocalist with Tops in Blue.
“I joined Tops in Blue so I can honor the men and women who wear the uniform,” Karcher said.
Staff Sgt. Jessica Pitts, a vocalist and trumpet player with Tops in Blue currently on her second tour with the group, said she volunteered for a second tour after three years to honor America’s fighting men and women.
“I wanted to bring the feeling of home to deployed service members and honor our fallen airmen, that’s why we are here,” Pitts said.
“Every time we put on the uniform, every time we wake up in the morning, we are serving our country and it’s important we honor and respect that,” Pitts said.
While hundreds of service members attended a variety of events on Christmas day, AUAB hosted many events leading up to the holiday.
Capt. Christopher Fosburg, 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron Operations Flight commander, attended the Breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 19 with his five children and said it’s important people participate in holiday events.
“Events like this are really all we have,” Fosburg said. “We don’t have many moments to get together as a family due to work and everything and events like this provide an opportunity to create memories.”
Nearly 20 command sponsored families took part in the Breakfast with Santa event and several of them joined a few hundred service members at Memorial Plaza Dec. 23 for the Christmas at the Plaza holiday concert featuring the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Choir and the Protestant Contemporary Praise Team.
1st Lt. Kevin Stoll, U.S. Air Force’s Central Operations Directorate and lead singer for the praise team, said he enjoyed bringing some holiday cheer to AUAB.
Music is powerful and it can bring people together, Stoll said.
The holidays can be the hardest time during deployments so it’s important to take part in events like this and give people a taste of home, he added.
The praise team performed four songs including a version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” which was greeted by cheers from the crowd.
Hours before the concert several AUAB first sergeants delivered Christmas stockings filled with snacks, games and Christmas cards to security forces airmen.
“We wanted our security forces airmen to know how much we appreciate them for all they do to keep us safe,” said Master Sgt. Daira Hall, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing first sergeant.
“Our defenders stand guard and they do so honorably,” Hall said. “They have also recently lost some of their brothers in Afghanistan and I thought they could use some holiday cheer.”