Nightly News | December 12, 2013
>> finally tonight, a woman who's been making a difference for america's military men and women for a decade. she's just, in fact, marked a milestone with her own unique way of saying thanks. we get the story tonight from our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski , who went on a journey himself to bring us her story. [ cheers and applause ]
>> reporter: from the flight deck of the guided missile cruiser gettysburg in the gulf of ayman, holiday the spirits were running sky high . sailors tore into packages like kids on christmas morning . a welcome relief from long lonely deployments at sea. the driving force is the founder of operation gratitude .
>> this is my dream come true to get hugs from 360 sailors at sea. nothing could be better.
>> reporter: today marked a milestone. operation gratitude 's one millionth care package presented to brooke okayerley. a long time ago from when she sent off packages one at a time herself. today an army of volunteers turns out this 3,000 a day in california. volunteers of all ages like 103-year-old bea cohen, a veteran of world war ii .
>> i wish the packages were bigger. tell the lawmakers.
>> reporter: the most cherished gifts, letters from volunteers like matthew brooks.
>> i want to give thanks.
>> reporter: to the sailors, these care packages are more than just an early christmas present. they are a sign of america's respect, love and gratitude for their service. petty officer oakerman got more.
>> keys to your own 2014 ford f-150.
>> reporter: a new pickup truck that left her speechless.
>> go, navy!
>> reporter: for caroline, her personal mission is far from over. she's already planning for a second millionth prize. jim miklaszewski , nbc news aboard the gettysburg.