'Love and miss you': Christmas messages from Irish soldiers serving abroad

There are 650 military personnel serving in 13 different countries around the world.

THERE ARE CURRENTLY 650 military personnel serving in 13 different countries around the world. 

For many of our Irish soldiers, Christmas will be spent in the company of their colleagues and not with their families.

During the past 12 months, over 1,690 soldiers, sailors and aircrew rotated through 13 countries and one sea on a range of peace support operations. 

Currently, the largest Defence Forces deployment is to South Lebanon with UNIFIL, where 460 personnel are deployed. 

There are also over 130 personnel deployed as a Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, UNDOF, where in October they completed a relocation from the Golan Heights to Syria. 

Defence Forces members also serve in smaller numbers in missions deployed to Mali, Kosovo, Bosnia, the Democratic Republish of Congo & Western Sahara. 

Below are some messages that our personnel serving overseas wish to send to their families and friends at home this Christmas.

31428288597_904257db53_o Private Sean T. O’Connor, Birr, Co. Offaly, deployed on his first tour of duty in Lebanon Defence Forces Defence Forces

I would like to say Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my friends at home, especially to my girlfriend Shauna who is expecting our first child in January. Love and miss you everyone, see you all soon. 

31428309787_a6bea60719_o Sergeant Patrick Nelson from Laois - UNIFIL Lebanon Defence Forces Defence Forces

To all my family, friends and loved ones, have a great Christmas and see you all in May, please God. Special hello to my daughter Naomi and partner Vicki. 

32495574388_411350b6ca_k CQMS Jenny O’Neill from Dublin - UNIFIL Lebanon Defence Forces Defence Forces

To my husband Richie whom I miss so much. I love you to the moon and back. I hope the dogs are looking after you. To my family and friends, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year. See you all in February. 

32495581358_92d3a3d295_o Corporal John Tarpey, from Claregalway, Galway - UNIFIL Lebanon Defence Forces Defence Forces

I want to wish all my family a Happy Christmas, especially my little girl Ella. Hope Santa comes and see you soon. 

45644729514_1a04ffff77_o Sgt Major Eddie Porter from Monastrevin, Co Kildare - Golan Heights Defence Forces Defence Forces

Porter wishes his family and friends a very Happy Christmas.

44550748200_4b1a88f254_o Pte Paul Duffy, Dublin, Pte Rian Harding, Leitrim, Pte Karl Walesch, Athlone, Pte Seamus Cockburn, Athlone, Cpl Eddie Donlon, Athlone & Pte Thomas O Neill Dublin - Golden Heights Defence Forces Defence Forces

Happy Christmas from the Golan Heights. 

46368354541_b675731109_o Lieutenant Cathy Smith - Mali Defence Forces Defence Forces

Smith wishes her family and friends a very Happy Christmas. 

45455873405_22e4ebdd49_o (1) CS John Kelleher, Cork, Lt Col Patrick Kelly, Clare, Col David Goulding, Kilkenny, Comdt Claire Spelman, Cork, CS Noel Doherty, Donegal, CS Matthew McNamara, Kildare - Kosovo Defence Forces Defence Forces

Season’s greetings to all our family and friends back home in Ireland from Kosovo. 

45455971335_d8f4637d62_o Captain Paul Conlon, Roscommon - Congo Defence Forces Defence Forces

To Senan and baby Saoirse, I hope you all have a great day and Santa brings you everything you asked for. To my wife Brenda, thank you for keeping the show on the road and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas from Congo. Missing you all lots. Finally, to my entire family and friends, have a great Christmas and see you all in 2019!

32496760828_7eaeac8e95_o Comdt Tony Bolger, Carlow - Congo Defence Forces Defence Forces

I would like to wish my family and friends at home a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. I especially want to say hello to my life, Elaine and my children, Tom and Katie. I miss you all and love you very much. 

All images were provided by the Irish Defences Forces

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