Verizon Business to Help Provide Videoconference Linking Marines in Iraq With Loved Ones at Camp Pendleton

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- As part of its ongoing efforts to help military families and loved ones stay connected around the world, Verizon Business is helping to hold a holiday party at Camp Pendleton for U.S. Marines based in Iraq.

At the Dec. 9 event -- hosted by Southern California's commuter rail system, Metrolink -- Verizon Business will team with the Freedom Calls Foundation to facilitate an international videoconference for Marines in Camp Fallujah, Iraq, and their families at Camp Pendleton.  The military base is the headquarters of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, which has more than 20,000 Marines in Iraq.

During the videoconference, the Marines in Iraq will be able to watch and listen as their families and friends at Camp Pendleton meet Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and other costumed characters as a part of a stop by the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express™ train - the first ever at Camp Pendleton. Verizon Business is making the overseas communication possible by providing communications links, large screens and technical support for the event. The Freedom Calls Foundation is providing the site-to-site satellite link to the Freedom Calls Center at Camp Fallujah. The Freedom Calls Foundation has built a satellite network dedicated to helping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep in touch with their families and loved ones at home, free of charge.

"This is a very special holiday event that touches the brave women and men and their families here at home," said Jerry Edgerton, group president for Verizon Federal, the sales organization within Verizon Business dedicated to serving federal government customers.   "For our troops stationed far away from home, seeing their loved ones celebrate the holidays can help lift the spirits. Verizon Business has made it a tradition to help the troops stay connected during the holiday season as a gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices they make daily."

As a leading communications provider to the federal government and the Department of Defense for more than a decade, Verizon Business leverages its leading-edge technology and global capabilities to support military personnel and their families around the world throughout the year.   The company has provided free telephone calls for Iraq-based U.S. Armed Forces personnel for major holidays including Mother's Day, Father's Day, U.S. Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Verizon Business provided the free phone calls from Nov. 22 through 28 and deployed to Iraq a state-of-the-art mobile communications facility outfitted with phones to allow military personnel to make calls.  More than 12,000 calls, totaling more than 120,000 minutes, were completed during the Thanksgiving calling promotion. In addition, Verizon Business will be providing free calling from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2.

"Response to our free calling program has been tremendous,'' Edgerton said.

In addition, Verizon Business supports the USO as it provides human services and programs free of charge to the military community to enhance their quality of life.

Verizon Business is supporting the USO of Metropolitan Washington on Dec. 17 at Fort Belvoir, Va., by hosting a Verizon Business Phone Home for the Holidays program in conjunction with the USO's holiday event.  Verizon Business will deploy one of its mobile emergency communications vehicles to allow troops and their families to make free local, long-distance and international calls as well as send e-mails.

Verizon Business is a Partner at the USO Gateway Lounge at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. In addition, the company has teamed up with the USO of Metropolitan Washington as the Premier Partner of the new USO Lounge at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and as a Partner at the new lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport. Both new lounges are scheduled to open soon. Verizon Business is the first USO-Metro Partner to provide financial support to all three area airport USO lounges.

In addition to providing funding for the lounges, Verizon Business also provides free phone calling anywhere in the world via wireless phones using Verizon Business voice-over-Internet protocol service available in the USO lounges.

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 technology and professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.