Afghan style While many New Yorkers celebrated Christmas morning by tearing open presents, American soldiers stationed in one of the most dangerous combat zones in Afghanistan awoke to a hail of gunfire from a Taliban attack.
As these dramatic photographs show, one US platoon stationed on the front line in Badel ?? ? ??? a treacherous enclave near the Pakistan border spent the day exchanging heavy gunfire with terrorist lunette oakley forces. The Christmas Day confrontation resulted in no casualties but it dampened the holiday spirit for families of the brave troops deployed to a post that has 0akley sunglasses come under attack on a daily basis. feeling kind of numb today, Heidi Hilgers Heymann, whose son, Spc. Andrew Vanderhaeghen, 21, was part of the firefight, told The Post. The Taliban opened fire twice yesterday, shooting at the Platoon Bravo Company 2 327 from the surrounding hills. afraid to think about it too much, Hilgers Heymann said. talk about him and laugh about him, and I just think when I touch him again, I probably have a heart attack. I just want to touch him and know he OK. Hilgers Heymann, 44, said she last heard from her son a week ago, when he opened up to her about the high stress post. way he put it, a bullet missed his dome by about an inch, she said of an attack earlier this week. said the gunner was new and he froze and Andrew had to pull him off the post and start shooting. he doesn tell me stuff like that. He a soldier to the nines. It what he was meant to do. But he always in the back of my head, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Christmas Day combat images stood in stark contrast to Pope Benedict XVI annual holiday message, delivered from the protected walls of the Vatican and calling for an end to conflicts worldwide. the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, the pope said. And in Hawaii, President Obama greeted about 200 service people and their relatives dining at a Marine Corps base. NATO forces are currently stationed in Badel, where they are attempting to stop Taliban insurgents from sneaking into Afghanistan over the Pakistan border. Vanderhaeghen enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating from high school in Rochester, Minn. He has been stationed in Afghanistan since April 2009 and is scheduled to return home in April 2011. a big jokester, said his mother. kept a bit of that personality. But I don expect him to be perfect when he comes home. The oakley eyeglasses single Vanderhaeghen has a 2 year old son, whom he hasn seen in more than a year. To stay connected with his toddler, he relies on his sister, Kelsey Hameister, to post pictures of the boy on Facebook. son will take a picture of Andy and kiss it, said Hameister, 17. knows who the picture is of.
He recognizes his father. The toll and stress of the war meant that Vanderhaeghen mother didn feel up to hosting a Christmas in her own home without her youngest son present. Instead, she was spending the holiday with her in laws.
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