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U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hands a cup of hot cocoa to Yongsan firefighter Chong Song-uk on Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel.
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hands a cup of hot cocoa to Yongsan firefighter Chong Song-uk on Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hands a cup of hot cocoa to Yongsan firefighter Chong Song-uk on Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel.
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hands a cup of hot cocoa to Yongsan firefighter Chong Song-uk on Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan director of emergency services Ricky Oxendine (right) and USAGY Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hand out bags of candy to military police at Yongsan Garrison Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel.
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan director of emergency services Ricky Oxendine (right) and USAGY Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch hand out bags of candy to military police at Yongsan Garrison Wednesday as part of Operation Santa Express, a 10-year garrison tradition in which officials bring treats to emergency services personnel. (Jimmy Norris / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The minivan pumping out Christmas tunes wasn’t pulled by eight tiny reindeer, nor were its Christmas hat-wearing passengers fat and jolly.

But, much like Santa Claus, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan officials spent much of Christmas Eve spreading holiday cheer.

Operation Santa Express, a 10-year-old tradition at the garrison, kicked off Wednesday morning as commander Col. Dave Hall thanked representatives from the area’s various emergency service organizations and passed out doughnuts, cookies, candy and other treats.

The treats were donated by several organizations including People to People, the Yongsan Post Exchange and the American Red Cross.

"It’s a community effort," said garrison emergency services director Ricky Oxendine, who accompanied Hall on a garrison-wide trip that included stops at the fire department, police station and emergency room.

Oxendine said Operation Santa would distribute about 800 bags of cookies and candy and enough hot cocoa and coffee for about 600 people.

Before the day was out, Oxendine said, those on the Santa Express planned to make stops at the garrison’s outlying installations.

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