About 150,000 troops are stationed in Iraq right now, and for one local soldier, the harsh realities of war have been pushed to the forefront of his life.
Last week we aired a holiday greeting from Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Jones. Matt's father, Marshall, was touched to see his son this Christmas, if only on the television screen.
"They're doing well, they believe in what they're doing," says Matthew’s father, Marshall Jones.
The miracle of Christmas wrapped itself around the Jones family this year. Matt wasn't far from the military base explosion last week in Mosul that killed 22 people. In fact, Matt had eaten at that mess hall just a few days before, and as a leader, Matt has the responsibility of sending condolences home to the fallen heroes’ families.
"Another hard part of his job, when someone in his building gets hit he has to gather the belongings and send letters home," says Marshall.
Marshall got a call from his son on Christmas day and an e-mail with pictures of Matt with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"He said he and Rumi had a nice chat, got his picture taken, said he was such a nice guy, really boosted their moral," says Jones.
Marshall's moral has been boosted as well, knowing his son is blessed with unwavering bravery and courage, and now he waits for the day Matt will come back home so he can see his son in person.
Matthew will be going home to Fort Lewis, Washington in the next few days. He'll be home with his wife and four children for two weeks, and will then head back to Iraq.