Published December 24, 2004
CAMP DAVID, Md. – President Bush (search) called 10 members of the U.S. military around the world and in the United States on Friday to thank them for their service and share holiday greetings.
"As these members of our armed forces sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty, the president wanted to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice and to wish them all a merry Christmas and happy holidays," White House spokesman Ken Lisaius told reporters in a conference call.
Bush placed the calls to the service members, including six stationed in Iraq, on Friday morning from the Camp David (search) presidential retreat in western Maryland. The president is spending Christmas Day there. He is to fly to his Texas ranch on Sunday, where aides say he plans to relax until after the new year.
Here are the names of the troops Bush called:
--U.S. Army Pfc. Kenneth L. Vest with the United Nations Command Security Battalion (search) at Camp Bonifas in South Korea.
-- U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric A. Julian with the 300th Area Support Group, 736th Transportation Company, stationed in Talill, Iraq.
-- U.S. Marine Cpl. Robert Restaino Jr. with the Reconnaissance Platoon, 24 Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable, II Marine Expeditionary Force stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps (search) Forces in the Atlantic.
-- U.S. Marine Cpl. Malcolm N. Hedgepeth with Headquarters Battery, 2d Battalion 10th Marines, Provisional Infantry Battalion, stationed in Iraq
-- U.S. Navy Hospitalman Roman R. Cruz with Bravo Surgical Company, Combat Service Support Group 15, stationed in Fallujah, Iraq
-- U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael D. Watts, a hospital corpsman with SEAL (search) Team Three of the Naval Special Warfare Task Group, stationed in Iraq.
-- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Santiago James Fontanez with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in Baghdad, Iraq.
-- U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Benjamin J. Miller with the 16th Logistics Readiness Squadron of Hurlburt Field, Fla., deployed in Iraq
-- U.S. Coast Guard Fireman Michael M. Joseph at the Coast Guard's Loran Station in Attu, Alaska.
-- U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa M. Johnson on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, MUNRO homeport, Alameda, Calif.