US AND IRAQI SOLDIERS
TO RUN IN
5 K JINGLE BELL RUN
1st Cav to run a 5K Brave Warrior Jingle Bell Run on Christmas Day
Dec 16, 2009 News Update:
Msgt. Jovana Meyer 4-227th ARB, just confirmed in an email that
"I had breakfast with an Iraqi LTC the other day, I extended the invite to them, they fly M117, 171 over here, our sister battalion trains with them, well they are coming to the run, for the first time in history the Iraqi soldiers will run one of the American runs in Iraq. They will have 2 LT's, and 6 privates with their flag on race day. Their BG will attend to see his Soldiers run."
Corpus Christi, TX – (Dec 3, 2009) The e-mail read, “We are going to hold a Christmas 5K Jingle Bell Run to keep up troop morale.” It was signed, Master Sergeant Jovana Meyer, 4-227 ARB, 1st Cavalry Division, Camp, Taji, Iraq.
MSgt. Meyer is a Pen Pal of Tom Criser, the author of “The Ghost in the Orange Closet” and they have been corresponding for the last six months. It started when Meyer read the book and emailed the author with comments.
“The 1st Cav was my unit in Vietnam, so I was really happy to hear from her,” says Criser. He stated Meyer at one point said they have everything they need at Camp Taji, except they miss home baked cookies. “We shipped out a bunch the following week,” stated the author. “We had friends over, including a former Navy Captain, and baked all night.”
When Criser received a request from Meyer about finding a printer who could print 100 T-shirts at a price that fit within their budget, he put out a call to friends. James Chrobocinski responded and suggested Jim Sambol of Cup Graphics.
“If it’s for our troops, I’ll donate the shirts and graphic design,” Criser said he was told by Sambol. Shipping will be paid for by The Ghost in the Orange Closet’s publisher, TLV Publishing.
“My battalion commander is excited and can’t wait to see the shirts,” the next e-mail from Jovana declared. “Plan on surprising him…he has not seen the design.”
According to MSgt. Meyer, Operation Brave Warrior 5K Jingle Bell run is an event for soldiers and civilians serving in combat, and stationed at Camp Taji, to lift their spirits on Christmas Day by giving them an avenue to fight combat depression and/or PTDS. The run will take place on Christmas morning.
“It is going to be cool,” acknowledged the sergeant, and wrote, “I plan on having our BN CDR articulate his opening remarks, then our Chaplain will say a runner’s prayer, and a 1st Cav Apache helicopter will do a low fly-by following the Chaplain’s prayer.”
Throughout the event speakers will be set up to play Christmas music in the gathering area. Pictures will be taken which the soldiers in the 5K run will be able to send home to their loved ones in the states.
As the word of the event made its way through the Internet, Brent Roark a teacher at Padre Island Middle School offered to have his 6, 7, & 8th grade Kiwanis Builder’s Club write encouragement and thank you letters. Again, the conversation was “if it’s for our troops, let’s make it something special.”
“Part of my goal for this Christmas 5K run is to bring greater awareness to combat stress and PTSD,” commented MSgt. Meyer. Her goal is to let the members of her unit know all the assistance resources available. “We must encourage our soldiers to understand seeking help is a positive step and it will not hurt their careers.”
“I know Jim’s family and mine will be wearing the 5K run T-Shirts on Christmas morning in support of my Pen Pal and the troops there,” says Criser. TLV Publishing also will donate 20 personally autographed books of “The Ghost in the Orange Closet” as a prize give-away. The book is a journey of Vietnam Veterans using the Internet to recreate memories of Heroes, Honor, and Hope. It discusses how many combat veterans come home suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but don’t really know they have it.
For additional information, contact Cup Graphics, (361-852-8855 or email .