By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Father. son soldiers spend holidays in Iraq
Pair able to speak with wife, sister in U.S.
Col. Charles E. Sexton, commander, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, wears a 3rd Infantry Division Santa coat as he talks with his son, 1st Lt. Chuck Sexton, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division. The two enjoyed a Christmas visit at Forward Operating Base Marez in Iraq. - photo by Photo by Pfc. Crystal M. ONeal
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — The holiday season is a time for sharing and caring, especially when it comes to family. Christmas traditionally includes a decorated tree, lots of gifts and a big meal.
Once Christmas passes, the countdown to New Year’s begins. Families continue to bond and prepare for a new beginning.
For the Sexton family of Fort Stewart, this holiday season was different from most others. Both father and son were absent, answering the call of duty in different parts of Iraq.
The Sexton men, however, were able to spend the holiday together at Forward Operating Base Marez in northern Iraq. Col. Charles E. Sexton, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, serves as the commander there, and his son, 1st Lt. Chuck Sexton, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, visited him.
According to Col. Sexton, although he enjoyed the holidays with his son, it also saddened him.
“To be totally honest, I was happy and sad that my boy’s here. But if we couldn’t be together at home, at least we were able to see each other here,” the colonel said.
For 1st Lt. Sexton, being able to call his mother and sister on Christmas Day, with his father beside him, was wonderful.
“Because we are a very close family, this would have been my first time spending the holidays without any of my family. I was glad that dad and I were able to speak with my mother and sister together on Christmas day. They were together also, so in a sense, we’re together as a whole on Christmas,” he said.
The Sextons went on several missions together during 1st Lt. Sexton’s stay at FOB Marez, including a humanitarian-aid drop on Christmas Eve when Spartan soldiers delivered Christmas presents to orphans throughout northern Iraq and a battle rotation visiting several FOBs.
Col. Sexton joked that while his son came to FOB Marez on a freedom rest pass, he didn’t get much down time.
“My son had an opportunity take a rest-and-relaxation pass, but instead he chose to come here. He hasn’t done much relaxing since he’s been here,” Col. Sexton said. “In fact, he’s been out with me and my guys working as part of my personal security during a couple of the missions.”

Sign up for our e-newsletters