LIVE Satellite Transmission Unites Marines Overseas with Families and Friends at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Metrolink’s Holiday Toy Express makes a rare stop – in Iraq – via live satellite during a very special holiday event at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California December 2 at 7:15 p.m.

Marines at Camp Fallouja and Al Asad Air Base will get to experience a little piece of home via LIVE satellite feed during this 90-minute Holiday Toy Express event, hosted by Southern California commuter rail system Metrolink and Verizon Business, working in concert with TANDBERG and Mesh City, and the Freedom Calls Foundation, will allow Marines in Iraq to experience what is occurring at Camp Pendleton as their families and friends meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and other costumed characters as a part of the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express train stop.

In its 11th year of service, the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express is a 450-ton train decorated with more than 50,000 lights, decorations, and ornaments. The train’s 47-city tour features Santa, an original holiday play, and a musical show as well as a toy collection drive. The toys collected at Camp Pendleton are for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Toys collected at other Holiday Toy Express stops are for the Southland Firefighters “Spark of Love” Toy Drive. Metrolink officials anticipate that more than 60,000 toys will be collected this year, a number that matches anticipated attendance during the month-long tour.

The Holiday train “marks the spirit of the season,” said Metrolink Board Chair Ron Roberts. “The Metrolink Holiday Toy Express train has brought joy to audiences and needy families all over Southern California community. To see this wonderful event extend the holiday spirit to our brave Marines in Iraq is especially satisfying.”

This year is the only the second time that the Holiday Toy Express has stopped at Camp Pendleton, headquarters of the First Marine Expeditionary Force which has thousands of Marines in Iraq. In coming weeks, Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force will deploy to Anbar to relieve Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C. About 11,000 Marines and sailors will be deployed to Iraq, joining 14,000 already there. Verizon Business made the overseas communication possible by providing large screens, communications links and technical expertise at both locations and the Freedom Calls Foundation is providing the site-to-site satellite link.

“We’re looking forward to building on the tremendous success of last year’s holiday event,” said Susan Zeleniak, vice president of federal markets for Verizon Business. “As our Armed Forces personnel make sacrifices every day, we do what we can to help troops stationed far away stay connected with loved ones during the holiday season.”

“As a leading communications provider to the federal government, Verizon Business leverages its leading-edge technology and global capability to support military personnel and their families around the world throughout the year.

Metrolink celebrated its 15th year of service in Southern California in October. Metrolink has seven routes serving 54 stations and carrying more than a million riders each month on the 512-mile system. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a joint powers authority with an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. For train schedules and directions to Metrolink stations check at or call (800) 371-LINK.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a leading provider of advanced communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large business and government customers worldwide. Combining unsurpassed global network reach with advanced communications, security and other professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. For more information, visit

TANDBERG is a leading global provider of telepresence, high-definition videoconferencing and mobile video products and services with dual headquarters in New York and Norway. TANDBERG designs, develops and markets systems and software for video, voice and data. The company provides sales, support and value-added services in more than 90 countries worldwide. TANDBERG is publicly traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker TAA.OL. Please visit for more information.

TANDBERG is a trademark or registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries.

About Mesh City
Mesh City delivers reliable wireless IP, voice, video, SCADA, Telemetry, and data broadcast over mesh networks. Mesh City’s proprietary technologies provide both reliable and affordable solutions. Mesh City’s comprehensive wireless communication products and services eliminate low bandwidth and latency issues. Mesh City also offers the lowest latency in a mobile application creating multiple layers for private and/or public networks.

About Freedom Calls
The Freedom Calls Foundation has built a satellite network dedicated to providing state of the art video conferencing, telephone and internet services to enable our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep in touch with their families and loved ones at home, free of charge. The Foundation provides services to more than 30,000 soldiers and marines free of charge 24 hours per day and the Army has requested that the foundation install 8 additional facilities in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan in the coming months including more than 1,500 enterprise class video conferences from homes, hospitals and churches every month. The Freedom Calls Foundation is supported solely by donations on the foundation’s website

[tags]Metrolink holiday toy express event, camp pendleton, Oceanside California, Mesh City wireless IP, Freedom Calls Foundation[/tags]