Soldier shares story with East Texas students

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Captain Josh Phillips woke up last Christmas morning in a combat zone. But, this Christmas, he will spend the holiday at home. Phillips continues to do his duty, telling children about life in Afghanistan.

"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the base all the sentries were stirring they were guarding the place," Phillips began, reading the familiar sounding story to the students.

Phillips patrols the snow capped peaks of Afghanistan, but this time he found himself in a classroom, telling the soldier's version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, a story he lived.

"When what to my thrill and relief should appear, but one of our blackhawks to give the all clear," said Phillips. "I remember waking up on Christmas morning in Afghanistan. You're just thinking to myself, 'Is it really Christmas?' Because over there it's just another day."

Captain Phillips worked those days for a year, leading his crew on aerial support near Kabul. Afghanistan.

"So many times only the bad side of the story is portrayed and the good things are never really talked about," said Phillips.

The "good things" got their timeFriday morning, when Chandler Elementary third graders sat spellbound as Phillips explained the differences in life abroad.

"It's not the big things, it's always the small stuff like being able to wake up in the middle of the night and go to the refrigerator to get a glass of milk," explained Phillips. "You can't do that in a combat zone."

This time, the Phillips can, finishing the classroom story he knows so well.

"As the camp radar lost him I heard his faint call, 'Happy Christmas, dear soldiers! May peace come to all.'"

Jason's leaves December 27th to return to Fort Campbell in Kentucky, but not before seeing his brother, who is serving in the Navy. They will spend their first Christmas together since 2006.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.