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Iraq Phone Card News / Iraq Telecom News
Troops in Iraq celebrate Thanksgiving

Date: 11/23/2007 11:58:32 AM

CAMP SPEICHER, Iraq — U.S. troops here celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with a turkey dinner in a dining hall strung with red, orange and brown paper streamers.

Each long table was topped with a watermelon carved in the shape of a basket, filled with grapes and squash.

At the center of the room was a giant "horn of plenty — a huge bread basket made of dough and glazed with gelatin.

The U.S. military puts on traditional holiday celebrations for about 165,000 military personnel stationed across Iraq.

President Bush, who visited troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving after the U.S. invasion in 2003, called several servicemembers from Camp David to extend his best wishes.

For troops across Iraq, it was a time to reflect and celebrate a tradition as American as the apple pie that could be found at the dessert table, next to the pumpkin pie.

Sgt. Shawn Tostado, member of the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion from Sacramento, said this was his first Thanksgiving since his mother died in August.

"This is the first holiday Ive had without her. This is my extended family now, he said. "These deployments are harder on the family back home, I think, celebrating the holidays without us. Were busy here constantly, but they worry.

Spc. Kevin Lipinski, a member of the 59th Military Company who trains Iraqi police in Baghdad, went without sleep Wednesday as he spent the day trying to get back to his base in a southeastern area of the capital in time for Thanksgiving after a week of medical treatment in Germany.

Lipinski had suffered hearing loss following a mortar attack.

"I just really wanted to get home to my unit, said the 27yearold from Elgin, Ill. "Theyre the closest thing to family we have out here.

Gayan Thusitha, a Sri Lankan contract worker serving food to U.S. troops, said, "Americans eat a lot of turkey. Actually, they eat a lot of everything, now that I think about it.

Also Thursday:

•Suspected alQaeda militants commandeered Iraqi army vehicles and attacked U.S.backed Sunni fighters in south Baghdad during a gunbattle that left 18 people dead, police told the Associated Press.

•Mortars or rockets slammed into the U.S.protected Green Zone in the Iraqi capital. There were no fatalities, but some people were wounded, said Maj. Brad Leighton, a U.S. military spokesman. He declined to give details.  Phone Card News Stats


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