Saturday, December 25th 2004, 5:54 pm
By: News On 6
For one military wife the best present isn't under the tree.
Darla Johnson, Military Wife: "What did yall get to eat for Christmas dinner, did ya'll have turkey and ham?"
That's Darla Johnson's husband on the phone, calling from Iraq. Sergeant Rick Johnson is with the 120th Engineering Battalion out of Okmulgee. He's been gone for almost a year and it's the couple's first Christmas apart.
Darla Johnson, Military Wife: "its harder because thats the time for family but at the same time you dont miss em more anyone day then any other day... its an everyday thing."
Something the Pineiro family knows all to well. 23-year-old Bobby Pineiro serves as a communication specialist and gunner with the 120th.
Robert Pineiro, Father: "when he's gone you know it and its just not the same."
But a phone call helped bring their loved one closer to home if just for a little while.
Heather Pineiro, 16-year-old Sister: "He was always like the funny guy and he'd make us laugh doing stupid stuff and this year we didnt have that I mean we laughed but it wasn't the same so when he called it was really neat to get to talk to him because we laughed for like 15 minutes when we're on the phone."
Beth Hershberger, Soldier's Fiancee: "He sounded excited like he had a good christmas and ofcourse he rather be here with us and he misses us alot."
And even though the soldier wasn't there, Santa didn't forget about him.
Hunter Pineiro, 8-year-old Brother: "Santa knew that he was in Iraq and he was saving the Christmas presents for next year."
For these military families Christmas won't truly be here until their loved ones come back home.
Darla Johnson: "it'll be Christmas when he gets home that'll be my Christmas present that'll be his Christmas present, that's what we're waiting on. I told em we'll put the tree back-up when he gets home and do it all again, cook the ham the whole nine yards."
Until then they live for the phone calls.
Darla Johnson: "I miss you too sweetie. I love you, hugs and kisses."