It's never easy being deployed during the holidays but Sgt. Bryan Mayorga, Camp Pendleton-based helicopter mechanic, says he's staying busy.
While we're here at home, enjoying the holiday with friends and family, many of our military men and women are deployed overseas.
Sgt. Bryan Mayorga is spending the holiday in Afghanistan. The Camp Pendleton Marine, a mechanic for “Huey” and “Super Cobra” helicopters, says he's staying busy.
"The tempo is high, we're working a lot. That's our main focus right now. Just focused on getting the job done," said Sgt. Mayorga.
From Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Sgt. Mayorga says its all work and no play for now.
He leads his Marines to keep helicopters safely flying. Those helicopters provide air support to keep coalition forces safe on the ground.
Bonding helps ease the deployment.
"I've noticed that [camaraderie] has really built up quickly in the past two weeks that we've been here, so that's always a good thing. It helps build a strong work center and a strong bond among the Marines," said Sgt. Mayorga.
He says his supportive family helps him stay focused on his job. But he misses them, especially his wife Cassandra, and their three-year-old, Gracie, here in Southern California.
"My wife's birthday is coming up in a few days so I'd like to say happy birthday to her", said Sgt. Mayorga.
While families here warm their ovens for a feast, Sgt. Mayorga has already had his. His family surprised him with an early family Thanksgiving before he left.
"The food was really great. The feeling was there, like it was really thanksgiving. Everybody showed up, a lot of support. It was a little hard saying goodbye but I really appreciated it," said Sgt. Mayorga.
With those memories still fresh, Sgt. Mayorga has a special message for his loved ones.
"To my family, I love you all, I miss you very much, and I can't wait to get home to drink with some of them, and the other ones just to exchange gifts and whatever else we do. So I love you guys, I miss you guys very much," said Sgt. Mayorga.
Sgt. Mayorga and I bonded over one of the little perks many of us who have deployed to Afghanistan know about, and that's a little coffee shop on some bases called the "Green Bean."
Sgt. Mayorga told me that despite the work tempo, he and his buddies do at least get to swing by for a hot mocha from time to time.