Verizon Business to Help Connect Marines in Iraq With Their Families at Camp Pendleton via Videoconference

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Verizon Business is again helping to put on an international holiday event at Camp Pendleton for U.S. Marines deployed to Iraq, and for their families here, as part of the company's ongoing efforts to help military families and loved ones stay connected across the globe.

Verizon is also providing free calling again this year during the holiday period for U.S. troops in Iraq.

At the Sunday (Dec. 2) event -- hosted by Southern California's commuter rail system, Metrolink -- Verizon Business will team with TANDBERG, a global leader in telepresence, high-definition videoconferencing and mobile video; Mesh City, a wireless hardware provider in mobile communications; and the Freedom Calls Foundation to enable an international videoconference between Marines in Camp Fallujah, Iraq, and Al Asad Air Base in Iraq and their families at Camp Pendleton. 

Camp Pendleton is the headquarters for the I Marine Expeditionary Force, which has Marines in Iraq and is preparing to deploy additional forces in the coming months.

The satellite video link, part of the holiday event for the second year in a row, will enable the Marines in Iraq to virtually participate in the festivities as their families and friends at Camp Pendleton meet Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and other costumed characters who will arrive by the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express train.

Communications for the event is a team effort. Verizon Business, TANDBERG and Mesh City are providing a 9-foot-by-12-foot large-screen video display, communications links and on-site technical support. The Freedom Calls Foundation, which offers free calls for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, is providing the satellite link to the Freedom Calls centers at the two locations in Iraq.

"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."

Joel Brunson, president, TANDBERG Federal said: "The holidays are the toughest time of year for our troops and their families. We hope that by visually connecting these families they can experience some family joy even though they are physically thousands of miles away."

Henry Cooper, president of Mesh City, said: "When the Verizon Business team told us how they have helped the armed forces personnel for the last few years, we immediately offered to get involved. Mesh City is proud of our military families and grateful for their perseverance."

John B. Harlow II, executive director of Freedom Calls, said: "The Freedom Calls Foundation connects hundreds of thousands of military family members to their loved ones serving on the front lines over its satellite network free of charge throughout the year; the Metrolink Holiday Express Train at Camp Pendleton is one of the most fun events we participate in."

Verizon Business, as a leading communications provider to the federal government, 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.

For the fifth consecutive year, Verizon Business provided free calls during the Thanksgiving holiday week (Nov. 21 through Nov. 28) for Iraq-based military personnel. The calls home are made possible through a state-of-the-art Verizon Business mobile communications facility outfitted with phones and deployed by the company to Iraq.  Verizon Business also will provide free calling for military personnel in Iraq from Dec. 21 through Jan. 3. 

The company's free calling program continues to receive an enthusiastic response. More than 6,800 calls, totaling nearly 71,000 minutes, were completed during the Thanksgiving calling period. 

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 www.tandberg.com for more information.

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

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 www.verizonbusiness.com.