Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year in Afghanistan

By Senior Airman James Bolinger
Combined Joint Task Force-82 Public Affairs

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, Service members 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 McCullough, touring Afghanistan brought smiles to the faces of everyone who came to listen.

“I’m here listening to live music, which is one of my passions” said Spc. Craig Chick, 82nd Airborne Division Aviation Operations Soldier. “It’s hard not spending time with my wife or friends on New Years Eve, but I got a good laugh listening to the comedians and I love listening to music.”

Lansdowne, who is on their first Armed Forces Entertainment Tour, kicked off the show and then came back for an encore before Level 82 rocked the stage.

“It has been educational – we’ve gotten a real view of everything” said members of the band. “We got to see what’s not on T.V.”

The band spent Christmas in Kyrgystan before traveling here for New Years. “It is an honor to play for you,” said lead singer John Ricci. “Thank you all for what you do.”

Service members might have been missing their families but took some time to enjoy themselves.

“I would like to tell my wife that I lover her,” said Chick, who has been in Afghanistan for 12 months. “I want to say ‘Happy New Years Eve’ to my family. I miss you all and I am coming home soon.”

The Service members of CJTF-82 have been fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom for nearly one year and every second they counted toward 2008 is one more second closer to coming home. 3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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