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Bush Calls Troops With Holiday Greetings

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 2008 – President George W. Bush telephoned nine deployed servicemembers from each military branch this morning to pass along holiday greetings and thank them for their service.

A White House news release referred to the call recipients as “exemplary members of the armed forces who are stationed in remote locations worldwide.” Troops received calls in Iraq; Afghanistan; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Southwest Asia; and the Persian Gulf.

The recipients include:

-- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan E. Crissman of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who is deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, with the 101st Airborne Division’s Special Troops Battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Crissman recently was selected as noncommissioned officer of the quarter for his battalion and for Combined Joint Task Force 101. He is on his second deployment since 2001; he previously served a tour in Samarra, Iraq.

-- Army Spc. Marcus T. Brown of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is deployed to Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. Brown's unit came under fire April 30, and he was wounded by an armor-piercing makeshift bomb. Despite his wounds, he continued to fight and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with valor device. Brown is responsible for the technical attributes of his entire squad's weapon system and is an expert in all matters relating to the infantry mortar platoon.

-- Army Sgt. Aaron M. Simmons of Texas City, Texas, who is deployed to Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Simmons is a team leader in a mechanized infantry company, and he ensures soldiers meet standards in personal equipment, training them to maintain and account for all equipment and property.

-- Marine Corps Cpl. Louise M. Nowak of Pound, Wis., who is deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, with Combat Logistics Battalion 3, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Nowak is a combat engineer specializing in vertical and horizontal construction, demolitions, building bridges and working with mines. She also conducts mobility, survivability and counter-mobility missions.

-- Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jerry W. Pearse of Newberry Springs, Calif., who is deployed to Numaniyah Military Training Base, Iraq, with the Coalition Army Advisory Training Team, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. Pearse is an engineering advisor, maintenance officer, and assistant contracting officer representative for the second largest Iraqi army training base in Iraq.

-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew "Matt" Hise of Christiansburg, Va., deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, with the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron. Hise is an air mobility load planner who ensures equipment and vehicles are certified for airlift. He also prepares weight and balance for cargo aircraft.

-- Air Force Senior Airman Daniel "Dan" Gutowski of Manistee, Mich., who is deployed to Southwest Asia with the 437th Airlift Wing’s 15th Airlift Squadron and is currently assigned to the 385th Air Expeditionary Group. Gutowski is a C-17A Globemaster III special operations-qualified loadmaster, responsible for the loading/unloading of C-17A aircraft, and providing safe and efficient airlift for passengers. He earned two Air Medals for completing 40 demanding C-17A combat missions through Afghanistan and Iraq.

-- Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Larry N. Ambrose of Edenton, N.C., who is deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with Coast Guard Port Security Unit 305. Ambrose serves as a leading petty officer and security fire team leader. He is directly responsible for the supervision and training of six junior enlisted personnel. He recently was selected as the unit’s sailor of the quarter.

-- Coast Guard Fireman Matthew "Matt" Frounfelker of Beaver Creek, Ohio, who is deployed with Coast Guard Cutter Aquidneck in the Persian Gulf. Frounfelker has participated in high-risk boardings, ensuring the safety and security of vessel traffic to and from the Al-Basra Oil Terminal and Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal. His shipboard duties include assisting the damage control petty officer and acting as boarding team member, small boat crewman, in-port crewman and engineer of the watch.

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