JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Rather than spending the holidays with family and friends, more than 100 Coast Guardsmen will be spending time together to protect our nation's freedom.
For 19-year-old Courtney Fussel, the holidays will be drastically different this year. That's because he will be spending the holidays stationed in South Mississippi, thousands of miles from his family in California.
"Way on the other side, and it's a lot colder down here. It's a different feeling from being home on the holidays," said Fussel.
He's trying to get used to being on the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.
"It's a different feeling being on a cutter, because you go from living in your comfy, cozy house to six other people living in the same space with you," said Fussel.
"For the junior members, it's going to be a new, weird feeling, because you haven't been in the Coast Guard very long," said First Class Food Specialist Lauren Foley.
However, that won't be a problem for Foley. This is her fourth time being stationed during the Christmas holiday season. Now, she's doing what she can to help make it easier on those who may be homesick.
"We planned a meal that consists of goose breasts and prime rib for Christmas Day, and we're having an appetizer spread for Christmas Eve," said Foley.
While the Munro may not be the coziest place to spend the holidays, some Coast Guardsmen say they don't mind spending Christmas with comrades in order to protect their nation's freedom.
"The biggest thing I always tell people is you make things what you want them to be. It's all about your attitude and being positive every day. That's talking to my family and remembering that they're always going to be there when I get home," said Fussel.