12 Days of Wishbook, Day 1: Phone Calls Home for Our Troops

The 12 Days of Wishbook are upon us. This holiday season, thanks to USO Wishbook, you can give vital gifts to America’s troops serving in harm’s way with the click of a mouse.

Today’s gift – phone calls home – is simple, but it’s one of the most powerful things the USO provides for troops each year. Case-in-point: Alexander Carpenter’s story:

Alexander Carpenter with his daughter, Chloe, shortly after his third and final deployment as a Marine. Photo courtesy of Alexander Carpenter

Alexander Carpenter with his daughter, Chloe, shortly after his third and final deployment as a Marine. Photo courtesy of Alexander Carpenter

I got back from a 12-day-out rotation. It was close to midnight in Ramadi. Our staff sergeant told us to clean our weapons and then we could shower, eat and have some time off. I cleaned my [weapon] so fast … because, my baby girl was to be born that day. I frantically cleaned my [weapon] and got a buddy to go the USO call center with me. (I skipped the chow and skipped the shower.) I called three or four different people and no one answered. I was so scared, I didn’t want to go back out without hearing my baby girl’s cry. Finally, I call one more time and I get an answer. She has been born!!! Ten fingers, 10 toes, healthy and kicking! … I shouted “I’M A DAD!” No one said shut up. No one told me to be quiet. But [the others in the USO] clapped and congratulated me. Tears streamed down my face. I spent six more months of patrols and firefights with my brothers by my side. I came back to the USO every 12 days to call home to hear my daughter. I made it home and saw my baby for the first time May 26, 2007 (she was born Dec. 2006).

I fought from that first phone call on not for oil, not for WMDs, not for Bush: I fought for my brothers to my left and right so we could all see our babies. The USO made that call possible for me. And to this day I have never said thank you. … Thank you USO.

You can give troops the same gift Carpenter received that December night in 2006 by clicking here. And check the USO blog every day from now through Dec. 20 to discover the other 12 Days of Wishbook gifts.

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