Keyword: christmasiniraq

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  • Christmas 2009 (Australian Defence Force)

    12/24/2009 10:27:49 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 5 replies · 374+ views
    Around 3800 Australian Defence Force personnel will be deployed on Operations overseas and in Australia this Christmas, spending the festive season away from family and friends. Defence is also gathering Christmas messages from ADF personnel who will be serving on Operations this Christmas. The majority of Australian Defence Force personnel deployed overseas are working in a number of operational areas, including: Afghanistan as part of the Australian government's commitment to the international coalition against terrorism; Iraq and the Middle East as part of the Australian government's contribution to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq; East Timor as part of a...
  • Tracking Santa - next stop Baghdad for out troops.

    12/24/2009 12:51:51 PM PST · by edcoil · 8 replies · 417+ views ^ | 12/24/09 | edcoil
    Norad it tracking Santa. Next stop is Iraq for our troops right now.
  • Christians in Basra subdued for holiday

    12/14/2009 4:05:28 PM PST · by Jet Jaguar · 2 replies · 331+ views
    Stars and Stripes ^ | December 15, 2009 | By Michael Gisick,
    BASRA, Iraq — The small group of American troops and Iraqi Catholics held hands around a table heaped with dishes of rice, chicken, lamb and pizza. "Our Father," began the archbishop of Basra, the Most Rev. Imad Aziz al-Banna, before continuing the prayer in Aramaic, a version of the ancient language likely spoken by Jesus Christ. In the next room at Basra’s Chaldean Catholic Church, a plastic Christmas tree twinkled amid graying photographs of old patriarchs and a newer shot of Pope Benedict XVI. Several of the Americans said while assembling and decorating the tree that it was likely the...
  • Iraq Christians face 'bleak future'

    12/28/2008 9:48:53 AM PST · by PRePublic · 26 replies · 577+ views
    cnn ^ | Dec 2008
    Iraq Christians face 'bleak future' Story Highlights: · Iraq's Christians face killings, intimidation; many have fled to other countries · Community has decreased from 1.4 million in 2003 to half that · One expert sees diversity decreasing, fears Muslim extremist majority in Iraq · Christians in Iraq face "horrible situation," says U.S. congresswoman By Joe Sterling CNN (CNN) -- It's a bittersweet Christmas season for Joseph Kassab, who grew up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime and now lives in Detroit, Michigan. Tempering the season's joy is his concern for fellow Iraqi Christians, who have endured killings, displacement and...
  • Troops Spend Christmas Eve Donating Supplies to Afghan Village School

    12/26/2008 7:54:45 PM PST · by SandRat · 4 replies · 325+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Capt. Dustin Hart, USA
    JALALABAD AIR FIELD, Dec. 26, 2008 – While people around the world made their final Christmas preparations, members of the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Chaparhar Police Mentor Team visited a school in the Terelay Village, of the Chaparhar district, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 2008, to distribute clothes and school supplies. Members of the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team and Chaparhar Police Mentor Team meet with village elders at a school in Terelay Village, Chaparhar District, Dec. 24, 2008. The teams met with the elders to discuss current conditions in the village, as well as pass out school...
  • Strikers Christen New Chapel With Candlelight Service

    12/26/2008 7:56:55 PM PST · by SandRat · 6 replies · 433+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Maj. Mike Humphreys, USA
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2008 – After nearly seven months of holding religious services in conference rooms, the Army Strikers at Forward Operating Base War Eagle in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad christened their new chapel with a Christmas Eve candlelight service Dec. 24, 2008. Army Spc. Dale Harris, an information systems specialist, 1st Lt. Ivan Lugo, an unmanned aerial vehicle platoon leader, and Spc. Jerrod Fox, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator, lead Christmas carols at a Christmas Eve candlelight service on Forward Operating Base War Eagle Dec. 24. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Mike Humphreys   (Click photo for screen-resolution...
  • U.S. Troops Enjoy Holiday Parade

    12/27/2008 6:53:07 AM PST · by SandRat · 1 replies · 355+ views
    Servicemembers walk alongside their float during the inaugural Joint Base Balad holiday parade, Dec. 25, 2008. Photo by Airman 1st Class Jason Epley, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. JOINT BASE BALAD — The sight may have been out of the ordinary, but for some strange reason, seeing reindeer, sleighs and Santa Claus detained by U.S. Navy Customs agents did not surprise service members here Christmas Day. This odd scene took place along the route of the inaugural Joint Base Balad Holiday Parade, sponsored by the U.S. Army’s 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and displayed the sense of tradition U.S. servicemembers try to...
  • Troops in Iraq find Christmas in memories

    12/26/2008 4:53:38 AM PST · by SandRat · 2 replies · 315+ views
    BAGHDAD (AP) — Army Sgt. Robin Cameron stood guard outside a once opulent Iraqi shopping mall that now serves as a small U.S. military outpost, trying not to think about what he was missing with his family on Christmas. "It's just another day in Iraq," he said, waving through a convoy of armored vehicles heading out to patrol Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood, once home to Saddam Hussein's favored officers and later an insurgent stronghold known for its deadly attacks on American troops. Although troop levels are expected to start declining after provincial elections on Jan. 31, the same number are in...
  • Santa Claus Visits Iraqi Scouts

    12/26/2008 10:06:00 AM PST · by SandRat · 4 replies · 488+ views
    Iraqi scouts get a visit from Santa Claus, played by civilian contractor Joseph Lord, during a holiday-themed scouting event on Victory Base Complex, Dec. 20, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Joy Pariante. VICTORY BASE COMPLEX — Cries of delight filled the scouting compound here when Iraqi boy and girl scouts received a surprise visit and presents from Santa Claus during a holiday-themed scouting event, Dec. 20. The Victory Base Council military and civilian volunteers gather once a week with local Iraqi children to participate in arts and crafts, team building events and other scout related activities, but this...
  • Christmas made an official holiday in Iraq

    12/25/2008 6:48:52 AM PST · by Wavrnr10 · 40 replies · 1,906+ views
    Yahoo / AP ^ | 12/25/2008 | JIM HEINTZ
    partial...BAGHDAD – Iraq's Christians, a scant minority in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a present from the government, which declared it an official holiday for the first time. A senior Shiite cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, attended the Mass flanked by bodyguards in a gesture of cooperation with Christians. "I thank the visitors here and ask them to share happiness and love with their brothers on Christmas; by this they will build a glorious Iraq," the cardinal said.
  • Canadian soldiers get festive Christmas in Afghanistan [Turkey, Santa hats, even a Christmas tree]

    12/25/2008 8:07:00 AM PST · by Clive · 3 replies · 371+ views
    PANJWAII DISTRICT, Afghanistan -- Christmas on Afghanistan's front lines was as festive as a company of tired soldiers could make it. There was turkey and trimmings, red Santa hats, as well as a Christmas tree decorated in candy canes and photos of pretty girls. There was even beer, a special treat for a bunch of guys who hadn't tasted alcohol in nearly four months. Despite the festivities, it was hard for the soldiers to forget why they're there. Just days before, the members of Mike company -- who man this forward-operating base deep in Taliban territory -- were trading fire...
  • Iraq Celebrates First Official Christmas

    12/25/2008 9:18:26 AM PST · by GonzoII · 15 replies · 619+ views
    AP VIA CBN.COM ^ | December 25, 2008 | By Jim Heintz
    In his homily on Thursday, Chaldean Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly praised the establishment of Christmas as an official holiday as a step toward easing tensions. "I thank the government for giving chances to all to serve each other for the general benefit, and I thank it too for making this day an official holiday where we pray to God to make us trust each other as brothers," he said at the Christmas Mass before several dozen worshippers in the small chapel of a Baghdad monastery....A senior Shiite cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, attended the Mass flanked by bodyguards in a gesture of...
  • Iraq Declares Christmas an Official Holiday for First Year

    12/25/2008 10:57:47 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 20 replies · 1,029+ views
    FOX NEWS ^ | Dec 25,2008
    BAGHDAD — Iraq's Christians, a small minority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a present from the government, which declared it an official holiday for the first time. But security worries overshadowed the day for many, particularly in the north where thousands of Christians have fled to escape religious attacks. Overall security in Iraq has improved markedly in the past year, but a fatal car bombing in Baghdad on Christmas morning was a gruesome reminder that serious problems remain. The bombing outside a restaurant frequented by police killed four people and wounded 25 others in...
  • Report: Iraqi PM Cancels Visit To Tehran To Receive Obama in Baghdad

    12/25/2008 11:15:15 AM PST · by kristinn · 31 replies · 1,735+ views
    MEMRI ^ | Thursday, December 25, 2008
    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki unexpectedly cancelled a scheduled visit to Tehran, which was to follow an official visit to Turkey. Reliable sources explained that Maliki’s sudden return to Baghdad has to do with the possibility that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama might be visiting U.S. troops in Iraq during Christmas. Source: Al-Wasat, Iraq, December 24, 2008
  • Pictured: British Troops Wear Santa Hats to Fight the Taliban - After They Come Under Fire....

    12/23/2008 10:01:21 AM PST · by Cecily · 65 replies · 3,614+ views
    Daily Mail (UK) ^ | December 23, 2008 | David Williams
    Christmas for the Commandos in Afghanistan was always going to be different - but no one could have predicted just how different. One minute they were singing carols at dusk beneath a mellow sun in the baked bare wasteland of Helmand province while wearing festive Santa hats, the next they were firing mortars after their Christmas Day service came under attack from the Taliban. So rapid was the reaction of Royal Marines of 40 Commando that within less than a minute of the first "contact" from the Taliban's machine guns, they had sprinted the 200 metres to their mortar lines...
  • Duty Won’t Take Holiday as Christmas Spirit Reaches Iraq

    12/23/2008 5:42:45 PM PST · by SandRat · 3 replies · 408+ views
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2008 – The holiday decorations are ever-present at the 926th Engineer Brigade headquarters at Camp Liberty, Iraq. Competitions are under way to determine who can fashion the most festive door, and holiday parties – without liquor, of course – remind everyone that the days are counting down to Christmas. The lineup for Dec. 25 includes an all-hands “Saper call,” a “basketball brawl” similar to the one the brigade sponsored at Thanksgiving, and football games playing back to back on the dining facility TVs. But Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, the brigade commander, said the festivities can’t overshadow...
  • Floridians Bring Happiness to Christmas Celebration in Iraq

    12/22/2008 3:05:10 PM PST · by SandRat · 1 replies · 266+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Sgt. Jason Dangel, USA
    CAMP TAJI, Iraq, Dec. 22, 2008 – For the first time in 26 years, Army Capt. Michael Beissinger won’t be home for Christmas. Army Capt. Michael Beissinger distributes gifts to members of his unit during their company Christmas celebration at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 15, 2008. Beissinger’s parents, Stephen and Chris Beissinger, managed to gather support from more than 60 families from the Winter Haven, Fla., area to help make his company's holiday season a little happier. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Michael Shaw  (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available. The Apache attack helicopter platoon leader, along with 32...
  • Baghdad celebrates first public Christmas

    12/21/2008 11:42:47 AM PST · by ksm1 · 31 replies · 1,769+ views
    CNN ^ | December 21, 2008 | Jill Dougherty
    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- From a distance, it looks like an apparition: a huge multi-colored hot-air balloon floating in the Baghdad sky, bearing a large poster of Jesus Christ. Below it, an Iraqi flag. Santa and his helpers stand under palm trees at Baghdad's first public Christmas festival. Santa and his helpers stand under palm trees at Baghdad's first public Christmas festival.
  • Taliban blow up lorry carrying Christmas turkeys for British troops

    12/19/2008 6:55:36 AM PST · by yankeedame · 20 replies · 793+ views ^ | 19th December 2008 | staff writer
    Taliban blow up lorry carrying Christmas turkeys for British troops Army chiefs have flown out a special consignment of Christmas turkeys to replace the ones destroyed when Taliban insurgents attacked a lorry packed with the birds bound for British troops.... The frozen birds were completely destroyed....en route from Pakistan to Camp Bastion. The consignment of turkey roll breasts weighing 325kg was intended for soldiers stationed at Britain's main base in Helmand Province,...where...3,000 personnel will spend the festive season. Dinner will be served: Replacement turkeys have been flown in... Regimental Catering Warrant Officer Nick Townley, who is in charge of organising...
  • New Years Bagram style: Servicemembers party like its 1999

    01/01/2008 5:36:42 PM PST · by SandRat · 5 replies · 191+ views
    Combined Joint Task Force 82 ^ | Senior Airman James Bolinger
    BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, sound off the men and women of Combined Joint Task Force-82 as they count down to midnight, Dec. 31. Though no one popped open a bottle of bubbly, Servicemembers here still found a way to have fun on the last night of 2007. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines celebrated the count down to New Year’s 2008 here with live music and lots of laughs. The tunes were courtesy of visiting Boston band Lansdowne and Level 82, part of the 82nd Airborne Division’s All-American Band. Two comedians, Daniel Kinno and Julie...
  • Christmas with the Taliban

    12/27/2007 5:11:27 PM PST · by naturalman1975 · 1 replies · 103+ views
    The Australian ^ | 21st December 2007 | Mark Dodd
    AN icy blast of wind rips down the Chora Valley in southern Afghanistan, sending eddies of dust swirling around the newly constructed mud-brick fort at Nyazi. Winter has arrived. Beyond the valley, looking east from the Australian-built strong point, early snowfalls have dusted the jagged peaks of the towering Hindu Kush, presenting a shimmering patina in the distance. The snowfalls have brought a welcome calm to the strategic valley, once part of the ancient Silk Road trade route. It has also affected the valley's other occasional residents: armed Taliban extremists. Senior Australian military intelligence officers say these visitors were ousted...
  • Christmas in Iraq: Deposed dictator's palace used for peaceful ceremony

    12/25/2007 9:18:31 AM PST · by SandRat · 6 replies · 138+ views
    Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Bill Hess Embed w/40th Exped. Sig Bn.
    CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — In the midst of a combat zone, the Prince of Peace was honored with a Christmas Eve candlelight service. The service held in Al Faw Palace filled the nearly four story rotunda as sounds of carols echoed off the marble hall. It was time for Christians to remember their roots, Chaplain (Col.) Mike Tarvin said. Those roots go back to the Middle East, a place many Americans and others from a host of nations now find themselves, the senior chaplain for Multi-National Corps-Iraq said. “I love Christmas, even here in Iraq,” the Christian Church of Disciples...
  • MacKay and Hillier dish out Xmas dinner to troops (Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Staff)

    12/25/2007 9:16:21 AM PST · by Clive · 6 replies · 46+ views
    Canadian Press via Sun Media ^ | 2007-12-25 | (wire service)
    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Defence Minister Peter MacKay touched down at Kandahar Airfield to spend Christmas with the troops. Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Rick Hillier, and the U.S. ambassador to Canada, the trio spent the better part of the past two days hopping between bases dishing out festive fare. On hand for the grand Christmas Day dinner at Kandahar Airfield, MacKay expressed his gratitude to the Van Doos in particular. Calling them the pride of both Quebec and Canada, MacKay said Canadians across the country have a great respect, affection and appreciation for the work they're doing....
  • Holiday Message from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (CHRISTMAS)

    12/25/2007 9:01:31 AM PST · by SandRat · 83+ views
    The holidays offer a special time to remember our many blessings as Americans – perhaps chief among them are the dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who protect our nation. Since assuming this post a year ago, I have been awed and humbled by our men and women in uniform who are carving for themselves a noble place in American history. We began the year by deploying tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as part of a concerted civil-military effort. Violence has declined sharply, and former enemy strongholds are being transformed into communities of hope and possibility. While...
  • Christmas Surprise: Soldier’s Family Crashes His Cable News Interview

    12/25/2007 6:40:07 PM PST · by RDTF · 23 replies · 223+ views
    Breitbart via CNN ^ | Dec 25, 2007 | CNN
    A soldier (Lt Col Ryan Kuhn) serving in Iraq gets a Christmas surprise when his family crashes his interview on CNN.
  • Christmas Brings Tons of Mail to TF Bayonet

    12/25/2007 10:15:07 AM PST · by mdittmar · 3 replies · 373+ views
    Special to American Forces Press Service ^ | Dec. 25, 2007 | Spc. Gregory Argentieri, USA
    FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2007 – Soldiers from 458th Adjutant General Postal Company stationed here run the central mail hub for the entire Task Force Bayonet area of operations and are responsible for handling, sorting, and processing all incoming and outgoing letters and packages through Jalalabad, Afghanistan, for thousands of soldiers. A forklift aligns to move a bulk pallet of outgoing mail to the air strip Dec. 20, 2007, to load onto the next C-130 Hercules at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Afghanistan. Mail at FOB Fenty has tripled since the beginning of November, averaging 9,000 pounds...
  • Reason for the season driven home by chaplain: Sacrifice of Christ to be celebrated in service

    12/25/2007 9:24:44 AM PST · by SandRat · 2 replies · 96+ views
    Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Bill Hess Embed w/40th Exped. Sig Bn.
    CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — Today the birth of the savior will be celebrated by an extended family that is far from their real ones, the 11th Signal Brigade’s chaplain said. For this special holiday “married and single soldiers here in Iraq are our family,” Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mark Zerger said. For those who are Christian the day has a significant meaning for it is about “Christ coming into the world to have a personal relationship with us. That’s the true meaning of Christmas,” the Southern Baptist pastor said. And, while the brigade soldiers are separated from their families, it is...
  • ‘Crazy 98s’ Celebrate Christmas in Afghanistan

    12/25/2007 2:06:42 PM PST · by SandRat · 2 replies · 132+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Petty Officer 1st Class David M. Votroubek, USN
    KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2007 – A small, blinking Christmas tree sits in the dining facility. Aside from a few other lights, it is the only symbol of Christmas on Forward Operating Base Wolverine. Army Maj. Trent Darling, commander of Embedded Training Team 4-2, hands out candy during a humanitarian assistance visit in Khunay, Afghanistan, Dec. 23, 2007. The visit was a joint effort between the mentors and soldiers from the 4th Kandak of the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps. These visits to neighboring villages are meant to give assistance to villagers and build their trust for the...
  • No let-up for Christmas for U.S. troops in Iraq

    12/25/2007 8:38:52 AM PST · by MNJohnnie · 3 replies · 81+ views
    hristmas Eve, late afternoon, and U.S. soldiers from 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment piled into their Stryker armored vehicles for a patrol out on the streets of Baghdad. This is the fifth Christmas that U.S. troops have been out in Iraq, and commanders say the best way to keep morale up is to keep moving. There are special dinners, packages from home, religious services and decorations around camp, but no let-up in patrols. "My personal goal would be to try to go ahead and keep the mission constant," said Ray Ramsey, who has spent 23 years in the army and...
  • Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass

    12/25/2007 4:36:59 PM PST · by george76 · 48 replies · 860+ views
    Associated Press ^ | 12-25-07 | ELENA BECATOROS
    Thousands of Iraqi Christians made their way to church through checkpoints and streets lined with blast walls, many drawing hope from a lull in violence to celebrate Christmas Mass in numbers unthinkable a year ago. "We did not celebrate last year, but this year we have security and we feel better," said Rasha Ghaban, one of many women at the small Church of the Holy Family in Karradah... Families streamed into the church's courtyard, wrapped in heavy winter jackets to protect them from the early morning chill. Young children with neatly combed hair held their parents' hands, and women stopped...
  • Country Stars, ‘America’s Sweethearts’ Visit Troops in Afghanistan

    12/23/2007 3:59:02 PM PST · by SandRat · 6 replies · 497+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC
    KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 23, 2007 – Military men and women in eastern Kunar province were surprised Dec. 21 by a visit from the Army’s top enlisted soldier and several celebrities at the remote Camp Blessing, Afghanistan. Country music singer Darryl Worley (center) sings for military men and women Dec. 21, 2007, at the Camp Blessing dining facility in Kunar province, Afghanistan, accompanied by band mates Scott Randon (left), and Jeff Jared. Worley was a part of the sixth annual Hope and Freedom USO Tour, hosted by the sergeant major of Army. Worley, four Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, fellow country...
  • U.S. troops turn to faith amid realities of war

    12/23/2007 10:35:43 AM PST · by dayglored · 24 replies · 51+ views ^ | 12/23/2007 | By Alphonso Van Marsh
    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- ... The U.S. military has followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam serving in Iraq. This December, all three faiths observe major holidays within weeks of each other. For some troops, it is not just difficult celebrating these holidays away from home. They are also turning to their faiths that espouse peace to cope with the reality of the war in Iraq... ... At nearby U.S. Army Camp Liberty, Chaplain Felix Kumai says he counsels Christian soldiers who see complications with biblical commandments like "Thou shalt not kill," as they serve God and country. "It is a...
  • An extraordinary message of hope and humanity from the dangerous parish of Baghdad

    12/22/2007 8:46:01 PM PST · by fishhound · 12 replies · 84+ views
    Daily Mail ^ | 2nd December 2007 | CANON ANDREW WHITE
    Yesterday, after I left my prefabricated hut in Baghdad's heavily fortified International Zone and made the journey of just one mile to St George's, the city's Anglican Church, I was greeted by more than 150 excited children. "Abouna, Abouna," they cried, using the Arabic word for "Father". "This year we are going to have the best Christmas ever!" I have to be escorted to my church by Iraqi Special Forces in armoured cars. As I took off my bulletproof clothes, I thought about the children's optimism. St George's is still surrounded by razor wire and barricades to deflect bomb blasts....
  • A Day in the Life of President Bush (photos): 12-21-07

    12/21/2007 5:27:59 PM PST · by silent_jonny · 43 replies · 616+ views
    President & Mrs. Bush left the White House this morning for Camp David, Maryland, where they will spend the weekend before Christmas. Accompanying the First Couple were daughter Jenna Bush and Laura Bush’s mother Jenna Welch.Before leaving, the president released his annual Christmas message, reminding us of the reason for the season. (Transcript) And sent a message to our soldiers and Marines serving overseas, and to their families here at home. President Bush: Our Nation is thankful for the many sacrifices you and your families make every day. During the holidays and throughout the coming year, we ask the Almighty...
  • Mail Handlers in Overdrive to Get Christmas Packages to Soldiers

    12/21/2007 3:15:05 PM PST · by SandRat · 6 replies · 185+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Spc. Ben Hutto, USA
    FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq, Dec. 21, 2007 – While most soldiers are tucked in their beds for the night, a mail handler with 461st Human Resource Battalion, out of Decatur, Ga., is waiting for the mail to arrive. Army Pfc. Cassie Durkin, from Whitewater, Wis., a human resource specialist for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, sorts packages at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2007. Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto, USA  (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available. “We started getting a spike in mail at the end of October,” explained Army Spc. Tony Rogers,...
  • A Christmas Gift From Our Troops in Iraq: Part 4 (Oliver North)

    12/20/2007 9:15:33 PM PST · by jazusamo · 11 replies · 98+ views ^ | December 21, 2007 | Oliver North
    Friday, December 21, 2007 BAQOUBA, Iraq -- It is nearly Christmas, and most of the young Americans with whom we have spent this month are going to miss the holiday with their families. For many, it is their third Nativity season away from home since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003. Though you may not have noticed it beneath your tree, the troops here have sent you a gift that is far more valuable than a new hand tool or iPod. It's a present that they made by hand with extraordinary care so that you can use it every day...
  • Task Force 12 Soldiers Continue Traditions From Home (Christmas)

    12/20/2007 4:03:28 PM PST · by SandRat · 7 replies · 103+ views
    American Forces Press Service ^ | Sgt. Brandon Little, USA
    CAMP TAJI, Iraq, Dec. 20, 2007 – As the holiday season approaches, many soldiers would like more than anything to receive just one simple present. Army 1st Lt. Adam Samiof, executive officer for Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Task Force 12, wears a Santa hat as he helps other Task Force 12 soldiers decorate a tree for the holidays. The tree was donated to them by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo by Sgt. Brandon Little, USA  (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available. It isn’t a video game system, an MP3 player, or a new digital anything -- it’s the chance...
  • Soldiers Attend Tree Lighting Ceremony

    12/12/2007 5:01:17 PM PST · by SandRat · 4 replies · 416+ views
    Multi-National Force - Iraq ^ | Sgt. Natalie Rostek
    Third Brigade Combat Team Soldiers waved Chemlights while singing Christmas carols during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Dec. 8, at Forward Operating Base Hammer. Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs. FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Dec. 8, at Forward Operating Base Hammer to welcome a Christmas season spent with their Army family. “I enjoyed the ceremony. It was very motivating and very uplifting,” said Staff. Sgt. Derrick Mears, from Richmond, Va., a communications non-commissioned officer in Headquarters...
  • Airmen ‘drop the ball’ on New Year’s Eve

    01/03/2006 4:35:32 PM PST · by SandRat · 13 replies · 819+ views
    Air Force Links ^ | Jan 3, 2005 | Capt. Eric Badger
    1/3/2006 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- With inspiration from New York -- the city that never sleeps -- Airmen at this desert base that never sleeps got to drop the ball this New Year’s Eve. In less than 72 hours, some 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron members constructed a New Year’s Eve Ball like the one dropped at New York’s Times Square every year. “We’ve got New York beaten -- hands down,” said electrician Staff Sgt. Jacob Phillips, the New Year’s Eve Ball project officer. New York’s ball is six feet in diameter. The one he helped build has a...
  • For Reserve aircrew, New Year’s Eve over Iraq is routine

    01/03/2006 4:44:22 PM PST · by SandRat · 4 replies · 428+ views
    Air Force Links ^ | Jan 3, 2005 | Master Sgt. Lance Cheung
    1/3/2006 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- People around the globe welcomed 2006 with a variety of New Year’s Eve celebrations. High above Iraq, a Reserve C-130 Hercules aircrew headed for Balad Air Base, celebrated in a different way -- flying another mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the drone of the aircraft’s four propellers in the background, Senior Master Sgt. Ernie Leyba attached his night vision gear to his flight helmet. It was nearly pitch black on the flight deck, except for the pale green glow of the instrument lights. But it didn’t stop the flight engineer. Since...
  • Army mother, Air Force son spend Christmas in Baghdad

    12/30/2005 5:00:22 PM PST · by SandRat · 4 replies · 500+ views
    ARNEWS ^ | Dec 29, 2005 | MSgt. Randy L Mitchell
    BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Dec. 29, 2005) – Some families go through a great deal to spend time with loved ones on Christmas, but rarely do they deploy to the desert to do so. One family did, however, and they were able to spend this special holiday together. Air Force Staff Sgt. Salvador Russo, a secure communications craftsman with the 447th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, received a special Christmas gift this year when his mother traveled from Tallil, Iraq to spend the holiday weekend with him here. Sgt. First Class Ana Russo, who deployed to Tallil with the Headquarters and Headquarters...
  • Army father, Air Force son reunite in Iraq for Christmas

    12/30/2005 4:56:55 PM PST · by SandRat · 3 replies · 863+ views
    ARNEWS ^ | Dec 29, 2005
    TAL AFAR, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 29, 2005) – As a career infantryman, 1st Sgt. Matt Splechter has missed four Christmases away from family due to deployment overseas serving his nation. He figured his current deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom would be no different, but on Christmas Day in a land far away from home, Splechter was proven wrong. The 21-year Army veteran assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, was reunited with his son, Airman 1st Class Josh Splechter in Tal Afar, Iraq. Josh, who volunteered to come to Iraq, serves as...
  • Operation Phantom Fury--Day 419 - Now Operations River Blitz; Matador--Day 314

    12/30/2005 4:15:17 PM PST · by Gucho · 24 replies · 2,064+ views
    Various Media Outlets | 12/31/05
    Iraqis listen to the sermon of a cleric during Friday prayers at Immam Hussein Ali shrine in Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) south of Baghdad, December 30, 2005. Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite politician met the country's Kurdish president at a lakeside retreat on Thursday to sketch out plans for a grand coalition government capable of ending violent sectarian unrest. (REUTERS/Mushtaq Mohamad)
  • KFOR troops give blankets on Christmas Day

    12/29/2005 3:16:42 PM PST · by SandRat · 323+ views
    ARNEWS ^ | Dec 28, 2005 | Sgt. Matthew Chlosta
    CAMP BONDSTEEL, KOSOVO (Army News Service, Dec. 28, 2005) – Soldiers from KFOR 6B convoyed to a hilltop church overlooking the small town of Letnice/Letnica, Kosovo, Dec. 25 to deliver hand-made fleece blankets to residents there. “It’s important for me to celebrate Christmas here,” said 1st Lt. Melanie Meyer, liaison officer, Task Force Falcon. “This is my first Christmas away from my family in the states. I wanted to come out here today so I can still feel the same joy of giving during Christmas. Watching the faces of the kids getting really excited is great.” Several children dressed in...
  • No one seems to have noticed this is our fifth Christmas at war

    12/28/2005 11:58:51 PM PST · by RWR8189 · 13 replies · 744+ views
    Daily Telegraph ^ | December 28, 2005 | Matthew d'Ancona
    In case you'd forgotten, we're still at war. In the weeks leading up to this year's Labour conference, Tony Blair and his team debated how much he should say about the war on terror. After considerable thought, the Prime Minister decided that the issue required a separate speech of its own, to be delivered on another day. "My worry," he told allies, "is that the terrorists are now thinking more strategically than we are." Mr Blair's anxiety was, and is, justified. This is the fifth Christmas since the war on terror began, and yet I doubt this landmark has much...
  • 2nd MLG celebrates religious diversity during holiday season

    12/28/2005 5:23:34 PM PST · by SandRat · 6 replies · 471+ views
    Marine Corps News ^ | Dec 28, 2005 | Lance Cpl. Wayne Edmiston
    CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Dec. 28, 2005) -- December is a month of celebration for multiple faiths, making the holiday season an extra busy time for chaplains in Iraq. Between Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Islamic Hajj, Navy Capt. Vince Arnold, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) group chaplain, knows the importance of providing for all service members, regardless of religious preferences. “This time of a year the three main religious groups being Judaism, Christianity and Islam, trace back their genealogy to one person: Abraham,” The Newport, N.C. native said. “It’s interesting that we are in Iraq during this season because this...
  • Newsletter #37 (Christmas in Baghdad with the 4th Brigade)

    12/28/2005 12:57:43 PM PST · by Homer_J_Simpson · 5 replies · 328+ views
    email | 12/28/05 | Colonel Ed Cardon and Command Sergeant Major Louis Torres
    Newsletter #37 Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Families and Friends of the Vanguard Brigade The weather has turned cold and rainfall for the month is .24 inches – it was nice to see some actual rain that was more than a few drops. We even had some puddles and of course, it would not be the Army if we did not have some mud. Weather has turned cold with 40s in the evenings and 60s during the day. Christmas was a good day for us despite being deployed away from our friends and families. There were lots of decorations...
  • Merry Christmas from Baghdad (Taking the Left to Task)

    12/27/2005 3:52:54 PM PST · by SandRat · 2 replies · 690+ views
    email | Dec 24, 2005 | email
    From: Your friend... To: Subject: Merry Christmas from Baghdad Date:24 December 2005 Dear Friends and Family, Merry Christmas and Blessings from Baghdad. Thank you all for all the cards, emails and prayers. Well it's been almost a year now and I am really looking forward to coming home in a couple of weeks. Two out of the last three Christmas's away from home is enough for me. Hopefully this will be my last one as I am looking forward to retirement. The Army has been good for me, but it also has had its challenges. It's been very busy here...
  • Iraqi worshippers risk their lives to celebrate Christmas in church (good for them)

    12/27/2005 8:49:16 AM PST · by emiller · 2 replies · 189+ views
    TImes Online UK ^ | 12-26-05 | Stephen Farrell
    IRAQIS gathered for Christmas behind Kalashnikovs yesterday. Midnight Mass was cancelled because of bombing fears and curfews, but the country’s rapidly dwindling Christian minority turned out in their thousands for early morning services. Protected under Saddam, Christians once numbered between 600,000 and 700,000 in Iraq, but church officials say that about half have now fled, especially from the south, where militias linked to Iraq’s ruling parties have waged a three-year campaign to Islamise the country at gunpoint. The worst attacks were by insurgents in central and northern Iraq in August last year, when bomb attacks on four churches in
  • Iraqi worshippers risk their lives to celebrate Christmas in church (Unintended Consequences)

    12/27/2005 2:15:05 AM PST · by varialectio · 4 replies · 484+ views
    Timesonline (London Times) ^ | December 26, 2005 | Stephen Farrell
    Iraq The Times December 26, 2005 Iraqi worshippers risk their lives to celebrate Christmas in church From Stephen Farrell in Baghdad IRAQIS gathered for Christmas behind Kalashnikovs yesterday. Midnight Mass was cancelled because of bombing fears and curfews, but the country’s rapidly dwindling Christian minority turned out in their thousands for early morning services. Protected under Saddam, Christians once numbered between 600,000 and 700,000 in Iraq, but church officials say that about half have now fled, especially from the south, where militias linked to Iraq’s ruling parties have waged a three-year campaign to Islamise the country at gunpoint. The worst...