Bing Crosby’s “I’ll be home for Christmas” is the military’s unofficial anthem for the Soldier Sailor, Marine or Airman deployed overseas for Christmas. When the song was released in 1943 it was a top-ten hit.  It was written by lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent and told the story of a servicemember during WWII writing home from overseas to tell his family he will be home for Christmas, but only in his dreams.

While the pictures below show that the military services do what they can to help servicemembers celebrate Christmas, the defense of the country is a 24/7/365 job that requires Americans to be stationed at far-flung bases and installations all over the world.  Some are fortunate enough to be able to go home for Christmas, but the vast majority were at their posts yesterday doing their jobs. They may have sung some songs, eaten a really good meal, and opened gifts from home, but we know where their hearts and thoughts really were that day.

As the lyrics go

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams


Gunny Claus, commanding officer of the 1st Reindeer Division, Tactical Sled Group, poses for a photo during a Christmas party for Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division, on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 15, 2022.
“I do it to spend time with my younger brothers and sisters,” said Gunny Claus. “I love my job and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
For the last seven years, the mission of the 1st Reindeer Division has been to coordinate with volunteers to bring the magic of the holidays to Marines and their families. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isabella R. Mancini)



Leaders from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing pose for a photo during a holiday meal at Al Dhafra Air Base, Dec. 25, 2022. Wing and squadron leaders alike took time to serve deployed service members across different branches during the holiday meal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Lunn)