Today’s post is written by Katie Hines, a processing archivist with military records in College Park.
In December 1969, six-year-old Shannon Hensley wrote to Captain William Q. Sinnott, commanding officer of the 363rd Transportation Company, 92nd Battalion, 80th General Support Group, Da Nang, requesting him to allow her daddy to return home for Christmas. Her letter and Captain Sinnott’s response were published in “The Northern Log,” a semi-monthly U.S. Army publication of the U.S. Army Support Command, Da Nang.
(From “Organizational History Files” of the U.S. Army Support Command Da Nang, Information Office.)
Captain Sinnott admits his difficulty in explaining to Shannon that her daddy would be unable to return home that Christmas, but he writes back to her, “Your daddy is a sincere man and a brave soldier, who is giving up this Christmas so that you, Shannon, and your two little sisters may be able to enjoy the happiness and warmth that the spirit of Christmas brings.” The article also mentions that Specialist Hensley was granted a 150 day early separation from active duty.
As we approach this 2011 holiday season nearly 42 years later, many American families are confronting the same challenges as six-year-old Shannon and sharing the same desire to be reunited with family members serving overseas. In his letter, Captain Sinnott recognizes the sacrifices of these service members and their families: “Your father, Shannon, will not be home for Christmas this year, but will serve for you and his country on Christmas Day, in hopes that you, your mother and two sisters, will never have to spend another Christmas alone—without your daddy.”
* For other records relating to troop holiday activities and entertainment in Vietnam, check out some of our online digital images in “After Action Report for OPERATION HOLLY- Bob Hope Christmas Tours,” part of series “After Action Reports and Other Records Relating to the Bob Hope Christmas Tours,” as well as “General Records Relating to Bob Hope Christmas Tours.”