Christmas in Iraq


I arrived in Iraq two days before Thanksgiving.  Yesterday was
Christmas.  It was actually a pretty fun day, all things considered. 

The day started with a 5k run.  Thousands of people were greeted at
6:30Am with a short speech by a couple of generals, and then we ran 5K
through Joint Base Balad.  There were thousands of people running, and
it was a fun time.  At the end, they gave out free t-shirts, YAY!  (here they are throwing shirts from a truck):


The next big event for the day was a Christmas Parade.  Now being in
Iraq in a combat zone is somewhat surreal anyway.  But having a
Christmas Parade in that combat zone just added to the bizarre nature of
having the holiday so far away from home.  The parade route was about two
miles long, but there were very few people, except at the reviewing
stand.  Even there, total attendance was under 200.  The parade itself
consisted of about 7 “floats,” which were just military vehicles
decorated and people walking along throwing out candy.  Here are a few
pictures from the parade:


After watching the parade (which took about 15 minutes), I got a
haircut, and then decided to go to DFAC #1  (the main dining facility)
for my Christmas dinner.  As with Thanksgiving, the food was very good,
and the decorations were amazing.  I ate so much that I was completely
stuffed.  During the meal, I watched “White Christmas,” the 1950’s
movie, in the Healthy Bar with WO1 Morphis.  I like that place because
it is a lot quieter and more peaceful.  Anyway, here are a few photos
from the big Christmas dinner at DFAC #1:

My friends, 1LT Chris Parker and WO1 David Morphis, in front of a
cookie/cracker house with pop-tart siding:



I was quite stuffed when I left to go use the internet.  The web, and
phones, were completely clogged on Christmas day because many people had
the day off, and EVERYONE was trying to call home.  They had free phone
calls all day, which was nice, but also added to the congestion.  I gave
up after waiting for quite a while.  Then I went to the USO where I
typically hang out in the evenings.  They had free pizza and
non-alcoholic beer.

The last big thing of the day was to go to the JBB Variety Show.  They
had the base band there, and several other acts/singers putting on their
singing performances.  One singer was pretty good, but the rest were
terrible.  It was like watching the early auditions of American Idol,
except I couldn’t hit the “mute” button.  I walked out of that about
half-way through.

So that was my Christmas, more or less.  It was a pretty fun day over
all, and it was nice to have the day off, which many soldiers do not
get.  The army and folks back home really do a lot to try to make us
happy over here, and it mostly worked.  After the variety show, I rode
my bike home through the dark streets of the base.  There were a few
bright spots, like this Christmas tree on provider circle (note the
large MRAP on the road beside the tree):



One Response

  1. Hi Brian. I played golf with Mark Fang last Friday and he told me about your blog. Hang in there buddy. Reading your blog makes me really appreciate all you and the rest of the armed forces do for us. Take care and see you soon.

    Steve Lee

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