Carter Makes Worldwide Christmas Calls to Service Members

Defense Secretary Ash Carter today called several U.S. service members taking part in operations around the world, as well as two military spouses, to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Carter expressed his appreciation for their service to the United States and reminded them that they are in America’s thoughts and prayers. 

During the calls, Carter noted that he knows how difficult it is to be away from loved ones during the holidays and thanked service members and their families for their sacrifice.

Carter spoke with the following service members:

-- Army Spc. Joshua Keene, 32, of Stafford, Virginia.  Keene is serving in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as a material and accounting specialist. In this role, he manages equipment and supplies for his unit.

-- Marine Corps Cpl. Nolan Giroux, 24, of Wilmington, Massachusetts. Giroux is serving in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility where he serves as a facilities chief. He is responsible for ensuring the proper functioning and maintenance of assigned facilities.

-- Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ferdinand Deguzman, 30, of San Lorenzo, California.  Deguzman is serving aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which has been supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.  As an aviation structural mechanic, he is responsible for maintaining the safety equipment of aircraft.

-- Air Force Capt. Daniel Peterson, 28, of Sachse, Texas.  Peterson is serving in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as a squadron operations officer.  In this role he directs operations for more than 100 operations staff and flight personnel.

-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric McNair, 28, of Jacksonville, Arkansas.  McNair is serving as the noncommissioned officer in charge of a team responsible for personnel recovery planning in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Additionally, Carter and his wife, Stephanie, spoke with Navy spouse, Kelly Sleesman, and Air Force spouse, Ashley McNair.  He thanked them and noted that being a member of a military family requires tremendous dedication to the nation.

Carter said he was very grateful for the time these individuals provided him and asked that they pass on his best wishes to their colleagues and families.