President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter today called several U.S. service members taking part in operations around the world to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, according to officials.
Obama made nine phone calls to deployed service members this morning: two from the Army; one from the ; two from the Navy; two from the Air Force and two from the Coast Guard, according to a White House official.
Thanking Troops, Families for Their Service
The president thanked the military members for their service, and he wished them and their families a Happy Thanksgiving, the official said.
In his calls today, Carter also expressed his appreciation for U.S. troops’ service to the nation and in supporting America’s allies and partners, adding that those who support U.S. service members and their families at home have an important role as well, according to a Defense Department news release.
In each of the calls, Carter noted that he knows how difficult it is to be separated from loved ones during the holidays, and he thanked service members and their families for their sacrifice for the nation, the release said.
According to the release, Carter spoke with the following service members:
— Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Roseman, 33, of Coconut Creek, Florida. Roseman is serving in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. As a platoon sergeant, his efforts have been vital to the success of more than 300 security missions.
— Staff Sgt. Mitchell Lander, 30, of Irwin, Pennsylvania. Lander provides imagery analysis in support of operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
— Navy Reserve Lt. Kyle Fitzpatrick, 33, of Philadelphia. Fitzpatrick is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
— Air Force Airman 1st Class Jake Pullen, 19, of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pullen is deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility where he supports Operation Silent Sentry.
Additionally, Carter and his wife, Stephanie, spoke to Army spouse, Blessing Gallo, who currently serves as a volunteer and mentor to help other spouses manage deployment stress on their families, the DoD release said.
Carter said he was very grateful for the opportunity to speak to these extraordinary individuals who are serving the nation, and asked that they pass on his best wishes to their colleagues and families as well, the release said.