Bagram Servicemembers Ring in New Year
By Senior Airman James Bolinger, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2008 Though no one popped open a bottle of bubbly, servicemembers here still found a way to have fun on the last night of 2007.
Army Spc. Craig Chick, 82nd Airborne Division Aviations Operations, enjoys a joke Dec. 31, 2007, during a deployment-style New Year’s Eve celebration at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Photo by Senior Airman James Bolinger, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines celebrated the countdown to 2008 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. Comedians Daniel Kinno and Julie McCullough 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 Army Spc. Craig Chick, 82nd Airborne Division Aviation Operations. “It’s hard not spending time with my wife or friends on New Year’s Eve, but I got a good laugh listening to the comedians and I love listening to music.”
Lansdowne, on their first Armed Forces Entertainment Tour, kicked off the show and came back for an encore before Level 82 rocked the stage.
“It has been educational; we’ve gotten a real view of everything,” a member of the band said. “We got to see what’s not on TV.”
The band spent Christmas in Kyrgyzstan before coming here for New Year’s Eve.
“It is an honor to play for you,” lead singer John Ricci said. “Thank you all for what you do.”
Servicemembers might have been missing their families, but they took some time to enjoy themselves.
“I would like to tell my wife that I love her,” said Chick, who has been in Afghanistan for 12 months. “I want to say, ‘Happy New Year’s Eve’ to my family. I miss you all, and I am coming home soon.”
The servicemembers of Combined Joint Task Force 82 have been fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom for nearly one year, and one of them noted that every second they counted toward 2008 was one more second closer to going home.
(Air Force Senior Airman James Bolinger serves with Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public Affairs.)