Soldier Attends Virtual 1st BD


LSA ANACONDA, BALAD, Iraq — A 13th COSCOM soldier deployed to Iraq attended his daughters first birthday by video teleconference from a Coalition base near Taji Wednesday.

Spec. Josh Strickland of Valdosta, Ga., was able to sing, his daughter Shelby, Happy Birthday and watch her walk for the first time.

Shelby's birthday party was a surprise to Strickland, in Iraq since January, who was lured to the Freedom Calls facility with the promise of being able to call his wife.

Freedom Calls is a non-profit foundation solely for the purpose of providing free communication to deployed service members and civilians.

Freedom Calls donated the equipment for the facility in Iraq that provides high-speed Internet access, video links and voice over Internet protocol phones at no charge to over 1,400 service members and deployed civilians per day. More facilities are planned.

The 13th COSCOM's 593rd Corps Support Group, from Fort Lewis, Wash., manages the Taji facility.

Since it opened last month, Freedom Calls and 593rd soldiers have arranged for numerous school graduations, a live birth and even a wedding.