My first duty as a military police person was guarding missile sites in Germany. This was back in 1981 when the Berlin Wall was still up and never travel off post while in uniform was a standing order to avoid the real possibility of being snatched up off the street for information.

This age of service was more about political stands being backed up by the ability to wipe out everybody else with nuclear weapons. And soldiers like me stood on the ground of point zero should someone decide to push the button.

I was standing in a country that had lost to us during World War 2, and we now occupied their country. Yet, outside of these gates, the country is beautiful  and so are the people. My grandparents came from Germany.

I was far away from home and I would spend Christmas right here, on guard duty. Like everybody else in uniform.

It was cold and snowing this holiday eve and I remember looking out through the gate to look for any kind of movement; but tonight it was hard to see. My vision was limited by the huge flakes of snow now illuminated by the lights on the gate.

After walking a sweep of my area, I stood inside the gate house to call in my report to the other gate. As I hung up the bat phone, something red was advancing on my position. I readied my M16 and stepped back out into the snow.

I took up position and watched the movement of red that was now becoming a bigger blob, just outside the lights. A figure stepped forward into the lights, and I recognized a white beard and red hat. Santa was carrying a large red pack, too. I scanned the area for other movement behind this now advancing figure.

“Merry Christmas” came from Santa, who now stood just outside the locked pedestrian gate. And Santa had a female voice.

I looked her over for any sign of aggression while trying to make sense of what I was seeing. Was I hallucinating?

Santa said, “Hi, I’m from the NCO Wives Club and we wanted to bring these gifts for everyone down here. We didn’t want you to think no one thought about you. We baked Christmas cookies for you all, too.”

She pushed the red bag in my direction.

I opened the gate and searched the bag for anything to cause alarm. I looked back up at her and I could see her smiling through the large beard. I remember seeing her before, so I relaxed to allow the joy to happen.

I thanked her then secured the gate and watched her leave the area. I went into the guard shack to call my duty Sgt. Just how am I going to explain this? I picked up the bat phone to explain what happened and requested clarification if the incident should be a part of my report.

My relief came at that moment, so red bag and I made our way to Gate 2 where I showed them the evidence of Santa coming to visit us. It really made our night to know….

We had presents on Christmas Eve delivered by Santa herself.