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NC soldiers celebrating in Iraq

http://66.225.205.104/JR20091224.mp3

About four-thousand North Carolina National Guard soldiers are deployed overseas today and missing the holiday festivities of their families and friends. Earlier today we spoke with two of them, Sergeant First Class John Piland and his son, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Piland, on the phone from Basqra, Iraq. ROSE: Now Daniel, I understand you're your dad's boss on this assignment. How's that going for you? DANIEL: Well it's not what you think. We work together as a team. He's working on the helicopters, helping to manage the people to get the right tools and parts on the aircraft so I can take 'em up and test 'em, make sure eveyrthing's good. ROSE: And John, what do you think about taking orders from your son? JOHN: Uh, I really didn't know how it was going to work out in the beginning. But it's worked up really well. A lot of bonding between us, too. And it's going really great. ROSE: Would the two of you tell me what you're going to be doing for Christmas? DANIEL: Actually, after we get finished, I'm going to work. ROSE: So no special plans for Christmas celebrations it sounds like. DANIEL: No, other than making phone calls home, checking up on everybody and wishing them a happy Christmas and everything. I have my wife and a son that's 2 and a daughter that's 11. JOHN: And I have my wife June. ROSE: What would you normally be doing this time of year? DANIEL: Linking up with friends and family in the area and having some nice country meals. JOHN: Ham and turkey. Good country cooking! ROSE: So what are you going to be eating in Iraq? DANIEL: Well, I don't know. We'll have to see what's on the menu, but it's gonna be hard to beat those Southern pumpkin pies. North Carolina National Guard soldier Daniel Piland says he also misses celebrating birthdays with his two kids and mowing the lawn. DANIEL: You get over here and we haven't seen grass in several months now, so it's something that we miss. It's a sandy Christmas for Piland and his father, Sergeant First Class John Piland. They're serving in the same unit in Iraq where they've been since July. Both hope to be home in Clayton, North Carolina by next April.