Attention Readers: We're Back
C&G Newspapers is pleased to have resumed publication. For the time being, our papers will publish on a biweekly basis as we work toward our return to weekly papers. In between issues, and anytime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter.
 Logistics Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Dyderski, 33, originally from Hamtramck with ties to Macomb County, and his wife, Meredith Rogowski, of Troy, are expecting their first child around Christmas. They’ll spend the holidays in Japan, where Dyderski is stationed on the USS Antietam, of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet.

Logistics Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Dyderski, 33, originally from Hamtramck with ties to Macomb County, and his wife, Meredith Rogowski, of Troy, are expecting their first child around Christmas. They’ll spend the holidays in Japan, where Dyderski is stationed on the USS Antietam, of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Codie L. Soule


Not home for the holidays

U.S. military personnel away from home bonded by duty to country, family, each other

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published December 25, 2019

 Cpl. Paul Bass, 21, of Detroit, packs a  parachute as part of his job as an airborne and air  delivery specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’ll be spending the holidays on Okinawa this year with the  3rd Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Marine  Logistics Group, of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Cpl. Paul Bass, 21, of Detroit, packs a parachute as part of his job as an airborne and air delivery specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’ll be spending the holidays on Okinawa this year with the 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carla O

 Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters was born in Ohio and grew up in Indianapolis. He now lives in Berkley and commands the U.S. Army recruiting office in Eastpointe. He’ll spend the holidays at home this year with his wife Jill, sons Oliver, 6, and Cooper, 3, and daughter Harper, pictured, now 9 months.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters was born in Ohio and grew up in Indianapolis. He now lives in Berkley and commands the U.S. Army recruiting office in Eastpointe. He’ll spend the holidays at home this year with his wife Jill, sons Oliver, 6, and Cooper, 3, and daughter Harper, pictured, now 9 months.

Photo provided by Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters

 Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters, front, was twice deployed to Afghanistan. He now lives in Berkley and commands the U.S. Army recruiting office in Eastpointe.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters, front, was twice deployed to Afghanistan. He now lives in Berkley and commands the U.S. Army recruiting office in Eastpointe.

Photo provided by Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters

METRO DETROIT — The price of freedom is paid with the blood of those who serve. Our safety and security come at a cost also measured in distance and time away from loved ones.

Those who step forward to serve in the military pay the bill for the rest of us.

As metro Detroiters gather to celebrate the holidays, our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Air Force stand watch on duty across the country and around the world. Through the military’s network of public information professionals, we reached out to a few active-duty service members with local ties and asked them to share their own stories of service and holiday messages for those back home.


‘The job has to get done’
Okinawa almost couldn’t be farther from where Cpl. Paul Bass grew up in Detroit, near Six Mile and Greenfield roads. Because it’s 14 hours ahead of us in Michigan and on the other side of the international date line, Christmas will come early by comparison.  

Bass, who just turned 21, is stationed in the Japanese prefecture this year. He spent last Christmas on the island too. An airborne and air delivery specialist with the 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, he and his fellow Marines ate a holiday meal prepared by the family of one of his gunnery sergeants in 2018. This year, he plans to spend Christmas with friends, exploring the island and looking for beaches to enjoy.

“We get the day off, but the people I work with are basically a second family to me,” Bass said. “I feel like I’m with my family anyways. I do contact them (family members back home) during the holiday season, just so they know I’m OK.”

Bass said his grandparents, mom and sister are back at his home in Michigan. He has another sister in college.

“It’s a little difficult being away from them, but the job has to get done,” Bass said.

Asked what he’ll miss the most at the holidays, he added, “I’m going to miss my mom’s cooking. She makes a sweet potato pie that I really like.”

The job of an airborne air delivery specialist is to support the Marines on the ground by dropping anything they need by parachute.

“Basically, if they need something — food, water, tires, stuff like that — we pack it up, put a parachute on it and drop it,” Bass said.

He shared a message about his service in the Marines for those back home, including those who may someday be called to duty during the holidays.

“I’d like to say don’t accept to be average. Do your best to be the best you,” Bass said. “I’d say the military in general is an excellent thing because you’re going to bond with other people and they’re going to basically be your second family. No matter where you are, you’re going to have family with you.”


‘We’re bringing back a tiny souvenir from Japan’
Logistics Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Dyderski enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Troy. He and his wife, Meredith Rogowski, left their family and friends in metro Detroit for Norfolk, Virginia, in 2008.

For the next 10 years, they usually came back home for a two-week visit around the holidays. Lately, it’s been more difficult.

Dyderski, 33, originally from Hamtramck, with ties to Clinton Township and Sterling Heights, served previously aboard the destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill. He also served with Assault Craft Unit 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7, and at the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.

“After spending about 10 years in Norfolk, my wife and I decided to pack our bags and try something different,” Dyderski said. “We decided to take our chances in the 7th Fleet, which is the Japan area.”

He’s now part of the crew of the USS Antietam (CG 54), a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser assigned to the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan. Dyderski’s job in logistics is to efficiently provide any kind of essential parts the ship needs to accomplish its mission of providing security and stability in the Indo-Pacific area of operations.

Of course, there are things about Michigan he misses, including the struggling sports teams. But Dyderski said he’s a “lifer” who genuinely enjoys the Navy and plans to make it a career.

“Being in the military is probably the best job I’ve ever had and the best job I probably will have,” Dyderski said. “I think it’s great. You get to see the world. There’s a very small percentage of the population that is in the military right now. I can go to school for free. I have a roof over my head. I have a clothing allowance. I get to see all kinds of parts of the world that normally folks wouldn’t have a shot in the world to go visit.”

Rogowski said their experience as a military family has been great, albeit understandably difficult at times.

“He’s been out to sea for more than half the time we’ve been here,” Rogowski said. “Being in Japan has been a life-changing experience. There’s a great military community. Even though we’re far away from home, there’s still a good U.S. home here in Yokosuka.”

This Christmas on the far side of the world will no doubt be memorable and special for the couple. They’re expecting their first child, due Dec. 23, after press time.

“Merry Christmas to everybody back in Michigan. We’ll see them soon and we miss them very much,” Rogowski said. “We’re bringing back a tiny souvenir from Japan.”


‘You’re not really alone during the holidays’
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters has been in the U.S. Army for 17 years, and right now he’s got a pretty good assignment.

Born in Ohio and raised in Indianapolis, he’s currently living in Berkley and responsible for recruiting in the city of Detroit and much of the east side. He commands the recruiting office on Nine Mile Road in Eastpointe and goes home to his family at the end of the day. He’ll get to spend Christmas with his wife and three children.

But it wasn’t always that way.  

Waters was twice deployed to Afghanistan. As a combat medic with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, he was in a vehicle that took massive damage from an improvised explosive device on June 30, 2008.  The blast left Waters and his fellow soldiers injured or unconscious.

He was awarded the Silver Star for what happened next.

According to the Army, Waters ignored his own injuries and engaged enemy forces. Instead of running for cover, he dragged three injured soldiers from the vehicle to safety and provided cover for the rest of his platoon under intense enemy fire until air support arrived. Waters was credited with stabilizing the injured soldiers, continuously engaging the enemy and directing the medical evacuation. After the enemy was suppressed and the wounded soldiers were stabilized, he returned to the damaged vehicle to re-engage the enemy fighters.

Waters returned to Afghanistan for a second deployment in 2010.

The medal that Waters received for his actions in 2008 was officially upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross in June. It is among the highest awards for valor on the battlefield, second only to the Medal of Honor.

As a recruiter, it’s now his job to match young people with suitable careers in the U.S. Army and to ease their concerns about leaving home for the first time, or even spending Christmas in a war zone far from loved ones.

“It’s probably the No. 1 objection we get, but it’s easily overcome. It’s just reaching out into the unknown,” Waters said, describing how he addresses the apprehension among some recruits about serving on active duty.

He said those stationed stateside are usually able to get back home to see family and friends.

“As a soldier, you’re granted 30 days of free vacation a year for you to use, kind of when you want to,” Waters said. “The only time you’re really prevented from being home for the holidays would be when you’re overseas, on an overseas deployment.”

He said those who are deployed grow family-like bonds with the soldiers they serve with.

“It’s difficult to explain. Your platoon, your company, the guys you serve with, the soldiers you serve with — they become your family,” Waters said. “We’re constantly living in each other’s homes. We’re aunts and uncles to each other’s kids. You’re not really alone during the holidays.”