Master Sgt. Robert Allen, a native of Pawnee, Okla., serves
as the aircraft rescue firefighting chief for Marine Wing Support
Squadron 371 in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. An avid musician,
Allen wrote a Christmas song for his wife, Carla, as he spends the
holidays away from her and their three children. Photo by USMC Cpl.
Brian Adam Jones
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (12/2/2011) - While deployed to Iraq,
Robert Allen wrote a song for his wife, Carla. He sent it to her on
“She said she balled her eyes out when she
heard it,” said Allen, a native of Pawnee, Okla. “My wife can't
stand it at all when I leave, but she understands what I do. She
understands being a Marine is not just my job, it's my passion.”
Allen said he believes his song,
Marine's Christmas Song, offers tribute to the burdens military
members and their families endure as they spend the holidays apart.
This year, Allen, a Marine Corps master sergeant, is again
deployed during the holiday season. He currently serves in Helmand
province, Afghanistan, as the aircraft rescue firefighting chief for
Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, based out of Camp Leatherneck.
Allen's squadron, deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma,
Ariz., provides aviation ground support for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
(Forward), the aviation combat element for the southwestern regional
command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, which
encompasses Helmand and Nimruz provinces, where the Marines have
centered their counterinsurgency operations.
“I joined the
Marine Corps to make a difference and to be part of a force that
protects my country,” Allen said.
Allen, the son of an Air
Force mechanic, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996 at the age of
“Growing up, to me, a military service member was a
warrior. I just wanted to be in the military and I always knew that
as a young man,” Allen said. “As I grew older, seeing Marines and
hearing the stories about [the Marine Corps], the honor that came
with being a United States Marine, that appealed to me.”
Allen began playing the guitar as a corporal stationed at
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., when his wife
bought her father's used Yamaha guitar.
writing my own music right away because I didn't know anyone
else's music. I didn't have anyone to teach me how to play,
except an old music book,” Allen said. “When I was a young
Marine and didn't have money for gifts, I used to write my
wife songs for anniversaries.”
now 12 guitars in the Allen household. His two sons – Aaron,
17, and Aidan, 15 – are also avid guitarists.
daughter is really good at playing the maracas or the
tambourine,” Allen said of his 8-year-old daughter, Lainie.
“She loves to jump in there, and she sings beautifully.”
Allen's story of family awaiting his return is echoed by
so many men and women who wear a uniform in Afghanistan.
“The Marines don't need anything to help remind them of
what they miss from back home,” Allen said. “For the
spouses, they should know we're constantly thinking about
“Even though we're busy throughout the day,
there are many times where we stop and think about home and
how much we miss them, just miss the little things that we
share with them or the stuff we're missing out on,” he
added. “Having them in our arms to hold is one of the most
important things that you miss while you're out here.”
Allen joins the thousands of men and women deployed this
holiday season in support of counterinsurgency efforts in
Afghanistan. He said he hopes his Christmas song “will help
people understand that though we're willing to do it, it's
“For a military that's willing
and ready to leave their families to serve their fellow
Americans, it's all those little things that are hardest to
deal with when you leave home,” Allen said.
"A Marine's Christmas
Song" music video
By USMC Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)
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