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 Home > News & Policies > December 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 24, 2006

President Bush Makes Christmas Eve Telephone Calls to Members of the Armed Forces
Camp David

     Fact sheet Holidays at the White House 2006

The President made telephone calls to members of the Armed Forces who are stationed overseas, or who have recently returned from overseas locations, to wish them a Merry Christmas, and to thank them for their service to our Nation.


Sergeant Jonathan J. Corell, USA
Sergeant Jonathan Corell has been serving in Afghanistan for 18 months. During his tour, Sergeant Corell has shown exceptional combat leadership as the manager of two non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and six junior soldiers. He employs advanced skills in assault weaponry while scouting and patrolling, and has served in the Army for 3 years and 10 months. His wife, Danielle, lives in Syracuse, New York.

President George W. Bush makes Christmas Eve telephone calls to members of the Armed Forces at Camp David, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006.  White House photo by Eric Draper Private First Class Rebekah Vandiver, USA
Private First Class Rebekah Vandiver, based out of Schofield, Hawaii, is deployed to Speicher, Iraq. As a combat medic, she is responsible for the vital prescreening of all patients that enter the Battalion Aid Station, maintains medical supplies for the Aid Station, and is studying to learn more about advanced medical care and procedures. Her husband, Stephen, and three children live in Hawaii.

Sergeant Ricardo E. Contreras, USMC
Sergeant Ricardo E. Contreras is based at Camp Pendleton, California, and is deployed to Fallujah, Iraq. As a career counselor in the Marines, he is responsible for the retention and career development of the enlisted Marines in the 1st Marine Headquarters Group. On December 1, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his outstanding performance in counseling Marines on career options and playing a pivotal role in the Group's retention efforts. His wife, Deborah, lives in San Clemente, California.

Lance Corporal Michael P. Matherne, USMC
Lance Corporal Michael P. Matherne is a member of the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-211 and the Marine Air Group-16 out of Yuma, Arizona. He is serving in Al Asad, Iraq, as an aircraft communications/navigation weapons systems technician, where he repairs all communication, navigation, and weapons systems on the squadron's 16 AV-8B Harrier jets. Lance Corporal Matherne is recognized for his exceptional motivation and enthusiasm.

Petty Officer Second Class Dwayne W. Meyer, USN
Petty Officer Second Class Dwayne W. Meyer is a member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team at Naval Station North Island, San Diego, California. As a communications specialist in Kala Gosh, Afghanistan, he is responsible for repairing all communication devices to include state-of-the-art satellite radios. His wife, Rebecca, lives in Chula Vista, California.

Petty Officer Third Class Rahm Panjwani, USN
Petty Officer Third Class Rahm Panjwani serves aboard the USS BOXER. In 2005, he was honored as the USS BOXER Junior Sailor of the Year. He led 60 personnel in the safe receipt, transfer, and delivery of more than two million gallons of aviation fuel during 2,100 aircraft refueling evolutions and nine underway replenishments. As a Flight Deck Assistant Leading Petty Officer, he was responsible for supervising a 19-person aircraft refueling crew in a demanding, high risk flight deck environment. His wife, Heather, lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Master Sergeant John W. Gahan, USAF
Master Sergeant John W. Gahan serves in the 40th Airlift Squadron at Dyess AFB, Texas, and has been with the Air Force for 17 years and 3 months. He is deployed to Al Muthana Air Base, Iraq with the 23rd Air Force Squadron. As a C-130 Load Master and Combat Aviation Advisor, he provides upgrade training to new Iraqi C-130 fleet aviators. In his one-year temporary duty assignment to Iraq, Master Sergeant Gahan is training inexperienced Iraqi Air Force personnel and soon will transfer from his instructor billet to important duties on the Iraqi Transition Team. His wife, Karen, lives in Abilene, Texas.

Technical Sergeant Mark S. Pleis Jr., USAF
Technical Sergeant Mark S. Pleis Jr. serves in the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Europe, Stuttgart, Germany, where he lives with his wife, Erica, and two children. He supervises 30 joint military and civilian network controllers in the real-time management and operational direction of the $2.4 billion European Global Information Grid. His superlative performance in managing over 60 tactical satellite missions ensured that deployed service members had uninterrupted access to critical voice, data, and video services. He ranked first of 18 DISA non-commissioned officers from all services, and was selected as DISA Europe NCO of the quarter in the first quarter of 2006.

Petty Officer Third Class David A. Rosales, USCG
Petty Officer Third Class David A. Rosales is based in his homeport in Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, and serves on the USCGC MONOMOY. He plays an important role in all shipboard evolutions, including small boat launch and recovery, mooring details, general quarters and engineer of the watch (EOW). He is an underway EOW, Inport Officer of the Day, crane operator, small boat crewman and Assistant Damage Control Petty Officer, and ensures that all damage control equipment is inventoried and maintained. He has volunteered to serve an additional six months in the North Arabian Gulf.

Seaman Rayford B. Mitchell, USCG
Seaman Rayford B. Mitchell serves aboard the USCGC Diligence, which is based out of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is deployed to the western Caribbean Sea. He works with the deck department, where he completes hull and exterior maintenance. He is also responsible for the cleanliness and general material condition of the ship. Since the beginning of his service just over 1 year ago, SN Mitchell has consistently demonstrated an excellent work ethic, character, and stamina. He is a native of Columbia, South Carolina.

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