In 1986, James M. Schmidt, was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C. when he wrote the poem Merry Christmas, My Friend. As James explains,

"The true story is that while a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, D.C., under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers (in 1986), I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine."

In 2003, Father Ted and his oldest daughter, Ellen Stout, collaborated to record "A Soldier's Silent Night," with Dad narrating and Ellen producing. Father Ted Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud WWII Marine, a Purple Heart recipient, and a former radio guy in the '40's, who was especially proud to complete this recording in one take.
Five months after completing the project, Father Ted was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As he was battling that disease, Ellen was honored to accept a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the March of Dimes on his behalf.
Every Christmas, no matter how often it gets played, it always seems that another person hears it for the first time. So here is Father Ted and one of the most requested of the season.