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September 08, 2004

Operation Santa

The second rotation of troops to Iraq is underway. Many of our Marines will be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas . . . and others will spend these family-centered holidays far from home. For many of these young men and women, this will be their first Christmas away from friends and family. Although they have made a choice to serve their country, it's going to be a lonely holiday. And not just for the Marines but for family members back home as well.

One of the hardest parts of this deployment for me is knowing that my son and his brother Marines will be spending Christmas away from home. Every Christmas morning for the last 20 years, my son has looked forward to a stocking, hung by the chimney with care, chock-full of carefully chosen and wrapped gifts. The week before our Marines deployed, Connie listened as I told her that I knew this would be a hard time and that I thought I'd send Christmas in a box to his platoon.

She looked at me and said, "Just his platoon?"

Okay, his company. "Just his company?"

The Marine Corps Moms are rolling again. Operation Santa will bring a touch of home to the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. While we are starting with 1/7, we hope to add other battalions, depending on volunteer commitment and energy.

Here's a glimpse of of stockings-under-construction by Grandma Elf, Bette Conrad, that will be filled by loving hands here at home, and sent to the sandbox where they will be passed out at Christmas by Gunnery Sgt. Santa stand-ins:

Santa's Workshop

We are seeking sponsoring "platoon parents" (individuals, church groups, club, employee organizations, etc.) to coordinate Christmas for a group of 30-40 Marines. Each adoptive parent will take overall responsibility for a platoon of Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will provide Christmas stockings and guidelines for making Christmas a merry occasion. The program parameters call for each Marine in the platoon to receive an individual Christmas stocking filled with wrapped gifts - toiletries, candy, games, tools, etc. There should also be a box filled with gifts to be shared by the Marines in the platoon. This could include board games, DVDs, books, a small Christmas tree, decorations, Christmas music, treats, etc. The coordinator will be responsible for any fund-raising to purchase gifts, pay for postage, etc. for that platoon.

As an example, I will coordinate the overall response for my son's platoon. My mom and I visited a local Walmart store over the weekend and asked for their support, handing them a flyer with program details. They will present it to their Community Outreach committee and we hope to get a gift certificate from them that can be used to purchase stocking stuffers or board games. We'll get decks of cards from a local casino. I'm stocking up on DVDs. I'm asking friends and groups to donate 40 small gifts that can be wrapped and placed in a stocking. Other folks will donate board games and DVDs. Local scout troops are writing letters to the Marines and making decorations. My sister, a secretary at a small country school, will ask folks in the community to bring their portable sewing machines to the school library and spend an evening sewing Christmas stockings. A church group will make cookies and gingerbread. It's a community response to the troops who are ensuring that we can enjoy our holiday season free from religious persecution or fear of terrorist attack.

And that response is overwhelmingly positive so far. Linda, who manages the North Bend JoAnne's Fabrics volunteered to spend her next day off sewing stockings. Ladies in line at Walmart overheard us talking about the project, took flyers and said they'd help. Moms and Dads have called dibs on their son's platoons.

If you'd like to be part of this project, download the Operation Santa flyer for 1/7 Marines here. If you are willing to adopt a platoon, e-mail Deb@marinecorpsmoms.com for guidelines and suggestions. We'll send you enough stockings for your platoon and guidelines for the outreach. And, if you can sew stockings, we'll send you a pattern and directions.

We won't leave out our Jewish and Muslim Marines. A companion outreach will ensure that they are included in an overall gesture of friendship from home.

All boxes must be mailed by the first week in November in order to reach the battalions in time for Christmas. We hope you'll be part of this project. It is sure to bring a few smiles to the faces of our troops, so far from home. And my son is so happy that we are doing this. He said that there are so many Marines that don't have strong family support. This is a way to be that support.

Posted by Deb at September 8, 2004 01:15 AM


Thanks for your hard work! I will also do my part. The stockings look great.

Posted by: Yolanda Montoya at September 8, 2004 01:07 PM

Give us the stocking pattern and we will pitch in...

Posted by: Lorna/Makenna at September 10, 2004 12:44 PM

This is awesome. My daughters and I have been wondering what to do for Christmas that was more in the giving spirit that the usual shopping craze. Thank You!!

Posted by: Laurie at September 10, 2004 02:42 PM

I'm new to the Marine Corp family and so glad you're here. I would love to help Operation Santa. My son is in 1/7 C Company 3rd platoon. Please let me know how I can help. Many people here in my home town want to help too.

Thanks Nan

Posted by: Nan Woolsey at September 11, 2004 06:53 AM

My son is in the 1/7 c CO. WPNS PLT. Thanks for information. I still have not heard from my son. You would think after the first time I would not be upset but all of you know how it is. If any of you have heard from anyone in WPNS PLT. please post a note on how they are. Our boys as well as all of their families are in my prayers.

Thanks Jean

Posted by: Jean Segraves at September 12, 2004 03:55 PM

My computer could not download the file could you e-mail it to me? I want to sponser my sons unit currently serving in Fallujah. It is the HQP
Bravo company Anyone withany information pls e-mail me it has been 2 weeks and they are in a big
offensive routing insurgents..

Posted by: Donita at September 13, 2004 04:27 PM

Hello to all;
I was given this site by a co-worker, we both have son's over in Iraq. I wanted to do something that would surely make a difference for our Marines and was given the Operation Santa flyer. So, I would like to begin Operation Santa for the 9th Communication BN. I am in the very beginning phase of getting organized, but am up for the challenge. If any of you would like to help, please send me your email address and phone and we can begin organizing. Thanks much and look forward to working with you.


Posted by: Vicky Mohler at September 15, 2004 10:55 AM

I am also new to this site. My sons group is MALS16 station at Al Asad Air Base. Please forward to me anything that myself and my co-workers and friends will be able to do. If you have any questions please contact me at work 6am to 2:30pm at 1-800-424-4747x184.
Thanks, you are doing such a wonderful thing for all of the servicemen and woman.

Posted by: Veronica Stillman at September 16, 2004 02:22 PM

How do you find out if "your" battalion has been adopted? My son is in 4th Laad bn, Alpha Co. Thanks for any update. -Julie

Posted by: Julie at September 18, 2004 07:04 PM

Hi Veronica,
Can you post your email address, so I can email you our flyer. Would be great to get your support.


Posted by: Vicky at September 18, 2004 10:09 PM

Hi, my nephew is in 1/7 and we'd be very interesting in participating. Please email back and let me know how.

Diane dmielnikowski@msn.com

Posted by: Diane at September 20, 2004 05:25 PM


I've enlisted the help of my Quilting group-Around The Block Quilters. We're on it!

All four of us have ties to the Marines.

Saundra's husband is a retired Lt.Col, Barbara's Husband is a retired Sgt-ex DI, Sandra's grandson in-law is a former Marine and her son is currently serving in the Army, recently returned from Iraq.

My son, of course, is a LcCpl with Mag 46.

It's the least we can do! I'll send some pictures as we get going.


Posted by: Becky Mack at September 23, 2004 09:22 PM

I'm a teacher at an elementary school. My son is part of 2/11 in Ramadi. I was just talking to my principal today about what the school would like to do to help. I'd like information about this project to present to our leadership team. I couldn't download the flyer. Can I get a copy e-mailed to me?

Posted by: Karen Cone at September 24, 2004 01:40 PM

our son is currently serving in iraq he will celebrate his 21st birthday next month .This past week we layed to rest his grandfather A former marine and survivor of iwo jumo. my husband is also a former marine
please email me the flyer these areour young men and women over there. it is important they know we are supporting them in all they are doing for us and our country .

Posted by: carol at September 26, 2004 05:02 AM

I was unable to down load the flyer but want to help. I am retired, have a sewing machine and lots of fabric to make stockings. Please send me information so I can get started.
Thank you and best wishes for a great idea!!

Kathryn Hopson
(Creswell, Or.)

Posted by: Kathryn Hopson at September 28, 2004 05:13 PM

I have a son in the 3/1, 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company over in Iraq. I have adopted his platoon for the Operation Santa project. If anyone has a son or daughter in the 3/1, please send me an email. God Bless our Troops.
Tanya Sanders Houston, TX

Posted by: Tanya Sanders at September 30, 2004 06:54 AM

I am the coordinator for the 1/7 H&S Co 2nd Truck Platoon. Please email me if you have a Marine in this platoon and want to help. Thanks, Deb, for getting this truly amazing "Operation" off the ground! Cathy

Posted by: Cathy at October 2, 2004 01:59 PM

My son Max is in 1/7 WPNS CAAT-WHITE and I would like to sponser his platoon. I have been trying to send off extra in every package for him to share with the boys. I have sent off 4pkgs of which he has gotten 1 so far. Last Tuesday on the phone he said they were waiting for mail call for 3 days. We have been lucky, we've heard from him via email every couple of days (except for blackouts), and three phone calls so far! :)

I work for a Food & Beverage publishing company of 15 magazines and am trying to get their advertisers to help out with regular care packages but am sure they will help support this Santa project.

Great Idea for many of their 1st Christmas's away from home!!


PVT Robert Maxwell Sherwood

Posted by: Kathy S. at October 2, 2004 03:32 PM

I will email my hubby in Fallujah and see how many stockings they need and go from there.
Mary Helen

Posted by: Mary Helen at October 2, 2004 09:38 PM

I am not from the U.S. but I am interested in donating some items for the troops such as DVDs, etc. Could you tell me a bit more like where to mail the items to be included in the Operation Santa stockings?
Thank you,

Posted by: Natalia at October 3, 2004 04:44 AM

Our son is with 2d AAV Charlie Co. 1st Plt in Iraq. I would love to get the stocking instructions, I have groups to sew and a VFW to donate funds. I'm on my way out to promote donations by the corporate stores in my area. This is a wonderful project!

Posted by: Kathy Jemelka at October 3, 2004 09:37 AM

My Son is in the same Plt. as yours. I would love to help with this project. Please e-mail me when you have time. I have purchased olive green felt (2 bolts) I was going to make draw string "stocking bags" so they could reuse them after Christmas, but I can sew and will help make regular stockings or anthing they need. I am located in central Texas. My e-mail is Grangerstrangers@aol.com

Posted by: Willie at October 5, 2004 05:13 AM

Hi Deb,
Can you email me the information also. I can't get into it. I would like some stockings also.
I can't sew but I can glue...Rock Island Marine Reserve Unit in Fallujah

Posted by: Sandy A at October 5, 2004 10:06 PM

Another great stocking stuffer is pillowcases(homemade) out of fun material I have used football team material and camoflage material..
Mary Helen

Posted by: Mary Helen at October 5, 2004 11:12 PM

I recently "adopted" the 81's plt. in wpns. Co. 1/7. I was in 81's, 1/5 almost 30 years ago and stumbled onto this opportunity. If the parents of any of these fine young marines cares to email with suggestions or anything else please feel free; I welcome any ideas that may make their xmas better. Everyone must continue to pray for these fine young men EVERY DAY !!!!
Semper Fi

Ron Shaw

Posted by: Ron at October 8, 2004 10:18 AM

Hello little elves,
I have adopted ECHO 2/10. There are 133 wonderful men.To see what I am doing for them please go to www.supporttony.com this is a website my oldest son set up for Anthony to be able to keep in touch and be able to touch allot of people. You do have to register 1st. To see some pics form Iraq go to forum.
Untill later

Posted by: Fran at October 9, 2004 07:33 PM

Hello little elves,
I have adopted ECHO 2/10. There are 133 wonderful men.To see what I am doing for them please go to www.supporttony.com this is a website my oldest son set up for Anthony to be able to keep in touch and be able to touch allot of people. You do have to register 1st. To see some pics form Iraq go to forum.
Untill later

Posted by: Fran at October 9, 2004 07:35 PM

Hello little elves,
I have adopted ECHO 2/10. There are 133 wonderful men.To see what I am doing for them please go to www.supporttony.com this is a website my oldest son set up for Anthony to be able to keep in touch and be able to touch allot of people. You do have to register 1st. To see some pics form Iraq go to forum.
Untill later

Posted by: Fran at October 9, 2004 07:36 PM

Hi my name is Jamie Johnson, I have currently adopted 1/2 Bravo Company. I really wanted to do something for the guys that are over there serving for my freedom. So since they can't be home, I'm going to try to send a little bit of something from home to them. Thanks for the idea.
God speed for our troops overseas.

Posted by: Jamie Johnson at October 11, 2004 06:46 PM

Good afternoon Ladies/Moms:

I am new to the Marine Family. My son was recently deployed to Iraq. He has been in the Marines for a little less than a year. He will be spending his 19th B-Day in Iraq. He is in the 3rd LAR H&S Company, Motor T Plt., Unit 41700. I have beaded flags with yellow ribbons for all of his family members as well as our neighbors whom have known my son since birth. I would like to donate my spare time to making, contributing, etc. for the Troops for X-Mas. His grandmother is a retired seamstress and is also willing to donate her time to make things for OUR TROOPS. Please contact at your earliest convenience so that I could become a Santa Helper. Any suggestions are welcome. I look forward to working with all of you. Love, Pilar

Posted by: Pilar Marquez at October 13, 2004 05:59 PM

My son is 4/14 M bat.,Guns Platoon and recently left for Iraq. I just found marinecorpsmom today. It's wonderful what all of you have been doing. Is it too late to get involved?

Posted by: Tricia at October 14, 2004 11:39 AM

Just got off the phone with the Navy and Marine Recruiters and they are all chipping in on this. The Navy is giving me 30 coffee mugs and some other things, plus a little money. The Marines are also giving coffee mugs, water bottles, new Marine T-Shirts, money, and some other things also. The both told me they would have boxes filled for me on Monday. The Isle of Capri casnio is giving me playing cards, about 7 dozen (holy cow !) and some Isle of Capri tee shirts too. Not sure if the guys can wear them or not, might be good to wear under their uniforms in the winter though. Not gonna turn down anything offered to me. Dillard's Dept. store is looking over my request for samples or full size items from the cosmetic dept. The chairman of the committee said it will be well worth my wait and time if they decide to help me out. For those of you not familiar with Dillards it is on the same level as Foley's or the May Co., small Macy's. So we're talking good stuff here ! Keeping my fingers crossed and praying real hard this comes about for the guys and gals in the medical unit.

Hope everyone else is having good success with this too.


Posted by: Frankie at October 15, 2004 08:34 AM

My son is in the 1/7 H&S Motor T in Al Qaim. Is it too late - what can I contribute and how? Does anyone have information about them? Their website hasn't been kept up.

Posted by: Kathy Cox at October 19, 2004 07:50 PM

Hi everyone,

I'd like to help out as well :) I can't sew much, but I'd love to be able to donate gifts :D. I don't have any family currently stationed overseas, but they will be soon. Let me know if I can do anything :) Thanks


Posted by: Amanda at October 24, 2004 09:13 PM

I'm not sure what I can do to help out, but if there is ANYTHING that I could do...I would love to! Please let me know...Thanks!


Posted by: Laurie at November 9, 2004 06:29 PM

My Son just recetly deployed to Iraq. He was deployed on his 23rd birthday! he is now in the fighting in Fallujah. I am very scared and worried. I to, like some others that i've read on edge when the phone rings or you hear someone drive up in the driveway. I always hold my breath before coming around the corner into my driveway. I constatly pray for his safe return home and all of the troops as well. I would love to help do something for our men and women over there. My son is in cssb-1 7th ESB A co ENGR UIC 42201. I don't know what all that means so may someone there can help me out. Thanks for listening to my story.

Posted by: Karen at November 12, 2004 05:32 PM

dear ladies, thank you for all the wonderful things you have been doing for our service men. i do not have relatives in the service but i would love to help in anyway needed to let those men and women know that they are not forgotten at home. please contact me and in the meantime please let them know not a day goes by that they are not in my prayers and thoughts. thank you. mindy

Posted by: mindy at November 16, 2004 05:58 PM

I have just "adopted" a single Marine. I have no personal info, just know she is in H&S Co., CSSB-1. Could someone explain what that means and how many people would be with her. I noticed on all the above emails that CSSB-1 is mentioned along with it broken down in smaller units.
Thanks, Sally

Posted by: Sally at November 23, 2004 06:06 PM

A group in my subdivision is adopting a unit in Iraq. The unit is Light Armor Reconnaissance Delta Company. They have 125 people in the unit. Is it to late to start this and if not how do we get started?

Posted by: Dawn Mullinax at October 9, 2006 01:49 PM