Where Your Service Men And Women Are Serving
Friday, 22 December, 2006
Christmas 2006 – Where Your Service Men And Women Are Serving
From roast duck and plum pudding in the Solomon Islands to secret Santa and sled racing in Afghanistan, the 412 Kiwi troops deployed overseas will do their best to fit Christmas celebrations in around their daily duties.
New Zealand troops are deployed on 19 missions around the world and although for most of them it will be business as usual on Christmas day, each mission area has its own unique menu and activities planned.
Solomon Islands contingent commander Major Nigel Gattsche said that while his contingent would carry out patrols and other tasks as normal, the officers would take over many of the soldiers duties for the day.
“In the evening we will all sit down together for roast duck, pork and beef followed by plum pudding and custard.”
Christmas plans in Afghanistan revolved more around sled racing in the icy conditions, contingent commander Group Captain Kevin Short said.
“We will all have to do our jobs just like on any other day but we will be doing a bit of sled racing and letting those who are not on duty have a slightly later start. All of us have bought each other secret Santa presents so they will be given out by a soldier dressed as Mr Claus in the evening.”
Activities on other operations include a sit down lunch in Bosnia with officers serving the soldiers and a roast dinner and presents in the Sinai. Troops in Timor-Leste will join New Zealand police in the country for a feast of turkey, ham, crayfish, prawns and scallops. In South Korea, the four NZDF personnel deployed will challenge their Korean counterparts to a game of jok-gu – a sport similar to tennis but played with feet rather than racquets.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jack Steer said the families of troops deployed overseas could be proud of what their loved ones were achieving.
“Our troops deployed around the world will use good old Kiwi ingenuity to have the best Christmas Day they can. Serving overseas can be difficult for both service people and their families left at home, especially at this time of year, but the work they are doing is important. Our thoughts are with our deployed personnel and their families this festive season.”