Yesterday newspaper reports said that 250 paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group have been warned they could fly out to Basra. National security adviser Robert O'Brien had called the play one month ago when he said the number of troops in Afghanistan would drop to 2,500. Pfc. “I didn’t know him and he still touched my heart,” Valdivia said before his unit redeployed late last year. Can't military personnel fly for free on military planes? ''And then I was in New York on leave when I found out we were expecting a girl so I am really glad I made it home in time (for the birth).''. If you are junior enlisted in the United States military, and would like a free airline ticket to visit your family for Christmas, we will make every effort to buy one for you. Another soldier carried a photo of his mother whose likeness reminded Valdivia of his own. White House Orders Thousands Of U.S. The attack was in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But if the same soldier wishes to visit home before or after his deployment, they have to pay for that themselves. Give this page a quick read and you'll be on your way! “This is not something that everyone can do,” said Siverand, of League City, Texas, recounting the episode some weeks later. Is it too much to ask you do at least as much to help a person who may one day lay down their life so that you may continue yours? We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas! There were cheers and tears as each one came through the arrivals doors after their flight touched down around 3.40pm. That helps make what I’m about to see seem less real.”. Lt Col Simon Banton told the soldiers: "You have been brave, you have been steadfast, you have been loyal to your country, to your regiment and to your mates.". Your trip begins in Afghanistan. The military pays for transportation from Afghanistan to the base you're stationed at. Yes and no, but we're talking about two different things here. They will allow you to send us money either directly from your bank account or through a credit card. Each pauses to steady his thoughts, to brace for a moment that never feels ordinary. Keep in mind, some other veterans charities have administrative costs as high as 80%. Afterward, as he smoked outside the hangar, one of his superiors offered him solace and advice. “I try to think of it as going into a scary movie. Dog tags stay on the body. He has seen bodies maimed beyond semblance to the human form by roadside bombs. Questions must have a definitive answer. MARTIN KUZ/SPECIAL TO STARS AND STRIPES. The team in the hangar responds with practiced urgency. In the hangar, under the cold glow of fluorescent lights, they wheel the remains on a gurney and stop beside a steel table. The withdrawal will likely have little effect on the ground, Bowman reported, since U.S. forces will still be training elements of the Afghan military. Alex Valdivia belong to one of the company’s two teams of mortuary affairs specialists. He remembers the soldier with the same first and last name as one of his friends in Houston. The Uniformed Services University reported in 2010 that one in five mortuary affairs specialists sent to Afghanistan or Iraq returned with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The cutbacks can only be so surprising. Valdivia has opened more than 40 body bags. Qassim Abdul-Zahra/AP Cpl Cronan, who already has two boys, Jack, 5, and Luke, 3, said it was reassuring knowing his ''little princess'' will have two big brothers to watch over her. If you don't have a Paypal account and would like one, click here to sign up. hide caption. So now we have less seats on less flights, and those travelling on official business or those on emergency leave are given the highest priority. Q. Our only rule is, one ticket per person. His mind fixed on the soldier’s family photo. Others waved banners to welcome home their loved ones including the family of Captain Karina Cann of 7 Combat Services Support Battalion (CSSB). Let me know what you decide to do.-- Ms. Vicki. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, have advised the troop reduction be pushed to the spring, Bowman reported. Whilst Corporal Leigh Willis of 2 Combat Engineers Regiment (2CER)  met his seven-day-old niece Elke Rayward for the first time.