Christmas on Base: 13 Images of Our Soldiers at Christmas

This post was written in collaboration with Kelsey Noel. Kelsey is an Archives Technician with the Still Picture Branch in College Park, MD.

This week we are highlighting images from RG 111-CCS, the General Subject Photographic Files of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, which documents non-combat activities in the United States and abroad. These photos, taken between 1953 and 1966, depict servicemen taking part in Christmas festivities on military bases across the United States.

The Special Media Division would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Privates David D. Acker (Left) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Algeon T. Rucker of Loretto, Kentucky, provide the final touches for the tree outside Fort Jackson’s Third Training Regiment Headquarters. Both men are in Advanced Infantry Training with Company A, 11th Battalion, Third Training Regiment. 16 December 1963. Photograph by SP4 Jessie J. Phillips. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC25213.
Santa Claus (Sgt Robert Youmans, Advanced Airborne School) lands at Fort Campbell. 16 December 1963. Photograph by Sp4 Douglas K. Lange. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC25687.
“All we have to do now is paint the nose red.” Specialist 5 Herbert Gaskin and Private Wayne Lowe apply the last coats of fiber glass paint to the reindeer that are to be displayed for Christmas decorations at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 10 December 1963.Photograph by SP5 Norbert Miller. Local ID:111-CCS-222-CC25205.
Santa Claus–Saint Nick came early this year at Fort Carson, as seen here with a tank crew of 1st Bn, Co C, 77th Armor, 5th Inf Div (Mech). The soldiers had decorated the tree – a live one growing on the Fort Carson training range – while on a field problem. L to R: Sfc Leslie Chavis (Penbroke, N.C.; Pfc Lawrance D. Jacobson (Jackson, Mich); Pfc Odis E. Cagle (El Centro, Calif); and Pfc Douglas P. Mitschke (Cleveland, Ohio). 8 November 1962. Photograph by Sfc R. Bowen, Jr. Local ID:111-CCS-222-CC21386.
Platoon Sgt Raymond Schields, Teen Club Director helps Santa (M/Sgt Beal) distribute candy to children after Santa’s arrival at the Dad’s Club on 16 December 1963. Photograph by Sp4 Douglas K. Lange. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC25688.
Rehearsing for the Christmas Season, dependents of Army personnel are coached at choir rehearsal by M/Sgt Eldon J. Johnston, drill master for the crack, US Army drill team of the 3rd Infantry. Fort Myer, Virginia. 20 December 1962. Photograph by I C Rapoport. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-C21264.
Airman 2/C Roy W. Segee of the 4638 Support Squadron, Fort Lee, Va. Is presented with a Christmas Tree from Mrs. J.P. Landry, a Grey Lady at Womack Army Hospital who is assisting Mrs. John A. Seitz, C.G. XVIII ABN CORPS Artillery, Fort Bragg, N.C. 12 December 1963. Photograph by Sp5 H.J. Swartout. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC24914.
A few presents and a card from home add a little warmth to the tent of PFC Dennis F. West, of Company C, 4th Battalion 9th Inf. Thousands of soldiers like West will spend Christmas in Alaska. Some of his Artic gear surrounds him. 6 January 1966. Photograph by Pvt Ejvind Kjens. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC33274
Sp5 Lee R. Groves, Co. C., 39th Engr Bn and Pvt Ernest Otto, B Co., 27th Engr Bn lower a freshly painted bicycle into place among others that have been repaired and painted as part of Operation Santa Claus, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 16 December 1963. Photograph by Sp4 Douglas K. Lange. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC25690.
Sp4 Edgars Rerichs, unit draftsman of the 9th FA Msl Gp utilizes his talent to bring a child’s toy to life with new paint and a smile. 17 December 1963. Photograph by Clarence E. Williams. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC25745.
Mrs. Carolyn Crush looks on with concern as Daddy (S/Sgt Richard L Crush, RA 13 482 173, Detachment 2101-04), and Bon Michael play war games at the Fort George G. Meade, Maryland Xmas Toyland. The Crush’s Hometown is Tamgua, Pa. 23 November 1962. Photograph by Mr. Morris J W Sheerer. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC24607.
Young Lisa Gillis, Daughter of Sp5 Gary Gillis shows Daddy the doll she has decided to ask Santa to bring at Christmas. 4 December 1962. Photograph by Mr. Donald Smith. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC21424
Young Patrick Smith, Son of Mr. Donald Smith, Sixth US Army Photo Lab, admires the toys at Presidio of San Francisco Toyland, perhaps dreaming of Christmas morning as SP4 Jorge P. Saenz, Sixth Army Photo Lab, looks on. Project AP-75f. 4 December 1962. Photograph by Mr. Donald A. Smith. Local ID: 111-CCS-222-CC21425.