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Cheer through the decades: Stars and Stripes holiday photos show the military celebrating the season

South Vietnam, December, 1967: Pfc. Orville Painter, 22, of Modesto, Calif., leans out of his bunker at Ka Tum, 50 miles northwest of Saigon, to hang his Christmas stocking. He jokingly pointed to the sky and said, "Santa Claus will assault from there." Painter is with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

JOHN OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 24, 2019

Stars and Stripes has been all over the world covering the U.S. military community continuously since World War II. We dipped into our archives for some memorable holiday photos through the years.

For more, check out our From the Archives series.

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Iraq, December, 2004: An American soldier bows his head in prayer during midnight Mass on Christmas at Camp Cooke, Iraq.
JOSEPH GIORDONO/STARS AND STRIPES

Korean Demilitarized Zone, December, 1967: Amid bitterly cold weather and the tension that comes with being stationed at a notorious global trouble spot, three soldiers from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division decorate a small Christmas tree outside their bunker overlooking the DMZ. They are, left to right, Pvt. George Williams, Pvt. Ben Y. Dixon and Pfc. Lawrence Winfield.
WILSON BURGE/STARS AND STRIPES

Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan, December, 2013: Service members sing Silent Night during a candle-lit Christmas Eve service.
CID STANDIFER/STARS AND STRIPES

South Vietnam, December, 1967: 9th Infantry Division soldiers Staff Sgt. William Dowell of Orange Lake, N.J., and Pfc. Ronald Hull of Waupun, Wis., hope for the best as they relax next to an idle mortar.
JOHN OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Okinawa, December, 2000: Marines step out in full holiday spirit for the sixth annual Jingle Bell 5kFun Run on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The event showcased Marines sporting holiday-themed headgear and chanting holiday cadences.
MARK OLIVA/STARS AND STRIPES

Fulda, West Germany, December, 1975: Although a jeep isn't the traditional mode of travel for this well-known distributor of Christmas gifts, it would probably serve Santa better than a sleigh if the Soviets were to suddenly make their long-anticipated move through the nearby Fulda Gap. But until the Communist hordes appear, Santa — also known as Sgt. 1st Class Lionel Perez of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment — is content to hand out a trailerload of toys and candy to kids in towns along the East-West border.
GUS SCHUETTLER/STARS AND STRIPES

Bosnia and Herzegovina December, 2003: Eagle Base soldiers bring holiday spirit to the streets as they spend two hours caroling throughout the base on the day before Christmas.
IVANA AVRAMOVIC/STARS AND STRIPES

Bu Dop, South Vietnam, December 1967: Spc. Ron Brault of Kansas City, Mo., eats dinner while sitting next to a Christmas tree sent to him by his parents.
JOHN OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Navy Lt. Lauren Sucher, of Annapolis, Md., lights a menorah on the first night of Hanukkah, 2016 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
E.B. BOYD/STARS AND STRIPES

Ka Tum, Vietnam, December, 1967: Pfc. Earl Hamilton, a grenadier with C Company, 2/14th, 25th Infantry Division, gets in the Christmas spirit with a Santa figurine affixed to the top of his helmet and an inscription noting the upcoming holiday truce. The 2/14th was on patrol at Ka Tum, an unpopulated area about 50 miles west of Saigon and close to the Cambodian border.
JOHN OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Wiesbaden, Germany, December, 2004: Spc. Jonathan Lucas of the 557th Medical Company (Ground Ambulance) kisses his 4-month-old daughter, Malia, after returning to Wiesbaden Army Airfield from Iraq early in the morning of the day before Christmas. The reunion marked only the second time Lucas had seen his baby girl.
BEN MURRAY/STARS AND STRIPES

South Vietnam, December, 1969: Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry gather around their Christmas tree at Patrol Base Kotrc, near the Cambodian border. The tree was a gift from a women's organization in Seattle.
TOM BENIC/STARS AND STRIPES

Camp Dahlke West, Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 2018: Soldiers of the 264th Engineer Clearance Company celebrate the arrival of cupcakes sent to them at the remote base in Afghanistan during a Christmas event with the USO.
J.P. LAWRENCE/STARS AND STRIPES

Wiesbaden, Germany, December, 1948: Bob Hope rehearses with his band before their Christmas Eve show at the Wiesbaden Opera House. Many of the jokes Hope told during the show referred to the ongoing Berlin Airlift, for which Wiesbaden was a key staging area.
STARS AND STRIPES

Sinjar, Iraq, December, 2003: Spc. Roger McArdle, a driver with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, dangles from a crane to string lights on a Christmas tree at Range 54. Soldiers bought the 60-foot tree from a nearby resident, dug it up and transplanted it at the camp.
KENDRA HELMER/STARS AND STRIPES

Nhon Cho, South Vietnam, December 21, 1968: Dispensing with the normal sleigh, Santa Claus taxis along the airstrip in an artistically-modified C7 Caribou cargo plane as he arrives to bring gifts to Detachment 35, B Company, 5th Special Forces Group.
JAMES LINN/STARS AND STRIPES

Camp Demi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December, 1997: Spc. Rich Sutherland of E Troop, 2-2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, watches the classic Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," inside the Morale, Welfare and Recreation building at Camp Demi. Meanwhile, in the next room, Staff Sgt. Zeola Bart-Addison, left, a chaplain assistant with the 7th Brigade, 108th Battalion, puts together Christmas goodie bags containing sweets, crackers, and small canned hams for soldiers spending the holidays far from home. Helping her is Melvin Spinner, an MWR specialist from the Pioneer Fitness Center in Hanau, Germany.
RON ALVEY/STARS AND STRIPES

Vietnam, December of 1968: Santa Claus hands out presents to the men of Detachment 35, Company B, 5th Special Forces Group. The Air Force lent Santa six C7 Caribou cargo planes for his deliveries in Vietnam. The planes enabled him to visit some 50 isolated outposts — such as this Special Forces camp in Nahon Cho, 80 miles northeast of Saigon — from Dec. 24 until late in the afternoon Christmas Day.
JAMES LINN/STARS AND STRIPES

Over the Northern Marinas Islands, December, 2018: A C-130 pilot wears a Santa hat and an Operation Christmas Drop patch. Operation Christmas Drop helped about 30,000 people on 56 islands across the Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth, as airmen pushed donation boxes on parachutes out the backs of C-130J Super Hercules planes.
CAITLIN DOORNBOS/STARS AND STRIPES

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