Houstonian will spend holidays on board U.S.S. Nimitz

December 21, 2009 8:44:02 PM PST
The Defense Department says the first elements of President Barack Obama's Afghanistan surge are already on the ground there. More than 200,000 Americans are in the region serving this Christmas and only California sent more people to the fight than Texas. Christmas will come on Friday, but chances are it won't feel much different on the U.S.S. Nimitz.

Houstonian Genevieve Richard is one of about 7,000 sailors on board the U.S.S. Nimitz, an aircraft carrier. It's been off the coast of Afghanistan for the last three months.

The crew's job is to provide air support to the U.S. Army and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan. The crew is in the middle of a nine-month deployment that will keep Genevieve Richard away from home and family this Christmas.

"Christmas is such a huge family even with us and to not have her here is a little sad," said Robin Richard, Genevieve stepmom.

Robin, a school teacher, is back home waiting for her safe return and wishing Genevieve could be here or in California where Genevieve's two children will spend the holiday.

"All they understand is that mommy is keeping them safe from the bad guys, as my daughter would say," Genevieve said.

"I miss her and hope to see her next Christmas," said Genevieve about Robin.

Go ahead and ask her if being away from those kids and family and working 12 hour days, covered in grease and gear without many days off is worth it?

"I launch the jets that protect the Marines and Army guys and sailors out there in Afghanistan. I actually know someone I grew up with who's in Afghanistan now, we're saving his butt right now. It's definitely worth it," Genevieve said.

The Nimitz is not due back to its home port of San Diego until the end of March. We wish them and every other American overseas a safe holiday and a swift return.

According to the latest war plans, American troops will work to protect Afghanistan's population centers from attacks to win over civilian support.


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