KABUL, Afghanistan (December 26, 2011) —While traveling on a holiday might not be most people’s ideal way to spend Christmas, International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John R. Allen wouldn’t have spent the holiday any other way as he traveled across Afghanistan to wish troops a merry Christmas.
“I know we can’t be with our families on Christmas Day, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, if I can’t be with my family, than standing here with you and serving with you,” Allen told troops at Forward Operating Base Shindand in Herat province.
For U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. John Mohlenhoff, who serves as a driver at FOB Shindand with the 838th Advisory Group, the general’s visit certainly added to the meaning of the day.
“It’s not every day you get to see a general come here, especially on Christmas Day, to tell everybody they are doing a good job,” Mohlenhoff said.
In addition to FOB Shindand, Allen visited troops serving at Camp Stone and FOB Andraskan in Herat province and Camp Marmal and Camp Spann near Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province.
Allen emphasized his appreciation for his expanded military family and the contribution that family is making to the Afghan people.
“In a very real sense, this is a family you’ll never forget because of the things that you have shared, things that you do, and the cause in which we’re all engaged,” Allen said.
“For the rest of your lives, you will share this moment together – a moment when you were a part of something bigger than yourselves. Every one of you here is contributing to the liberation of a country and giving Afghanistan hope.”