Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby provided the following readout:
This morning, Secretary Hagel called service members taking part in current U.S. operations to wish them a Merry Christmas.
Secretary Hagel expressed his appreciation for their service in defending the United States, and supporting our allies and partners. In each of the calls, Secretary Hagel noted that he knows how difficult it is to be away from home on this holiday, and thanked the service members and their families for their sacrifice for the nation.
Secretary Hagel spoke with several representatives from the military services including the following service members:
Staff Sergeant William R. Richardson, U.S. Marine Corps, 27, of Chandler, Arizona. Staff Sgt. Richardson volunteered to serve as an advisor to the Afghan Army. He oversees escort operations for U.S. military and Afghan National Army personnel. He was recently promoted to Staff Sgt. on Dec. 1, 2013.
Staff Sergeant Gary Russell, Jr., U.S. Air Force, 23, of Greenfield, Indiana. Staff Sgt. Russell is on his second deployment to Afghanistan. He serves as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller responsible for implementing air support for U.S., Coalition and Afghan security forces. He is completing his first enlistment in the U.S. Air Force and has decided to reenlist.
Sergeant Daniel J. Solis, U.S. Army National Guard, 30, of Belmont, California. Sgt. Solis is on his second combat deployment, third deployment total. He provides medical support to U.S. military forces as an Infantry Line Medic and also serves as a Security Forces Assistance Team medical advisor overseeing medical training for the Afghan National Army.
Corporal Tyler S. Wetzel, U.S. Marine Corps, 26, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania. Cpl. Wetzel is a reservist who volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. He is a radio operator responsible for the planning, coordination and maintenance of all communication assets within his platoon, and ensures network communication lines are operational between various units and the Operations Center.
The Secretary was delighted to be able to reach these service members, forward deployed as they are, and to wish them his best for the holiday. He asked that each pass on his best wishes to their units as well. The Secretary was very grateful for the time these young leaders gave him.