By Army Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield
American Forces Press Service
Iraq, Dec. 24, 2008 - Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers gathered at the Ironhorse Oasis Dining Facility here Dec. 21 to celebrate Christmas in a traditional way by decorating Christmas cookies. As Christmas movies played in the background, the soldiers sat around a table filled with colorful frosting, sprinkles and cookies shaped as snowmen, angels and Christmas trees -- laughing and talking about Christmas memories.
"This is something I used to do when I was a kid," said Army 1st. Lt. Arlene Pina, a San Diego native who serves with the 716th Military Police Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade. "It's reminds me of being back home with my family."
Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Komlofske, a Baltimore native, and Army Sgt. Lisa Burnett, a Utica, N.Y., native, baked the cookies. Both are cooks with the 4th Infantry Division's Special Troops Battalion. A supportive family from Killeen, Texas, donated the frosting and the decorative toppings.
"This is a great opportunity for soldiers to get out, take a break and make the best out of the holiday spirit," Burnett said. "It can get kind of lonely here around the holidays, because we all miss our families, but I think it's important to get together and spend time with the family we do have -- right now, we are each other's family."
While many of the soldiers came to make the best of spending Christmas without their families, Army Sgt. Tericka Dowdy, a Columbus, Ohio, native and human intelligence collector, along with her husband, Army Spc. David Dowdy, a San Antonio native who serves as an information technology system specialist, attended to build memories of their first Christmas together as a couple. Both serve in the 4th Infantry Division's Special Troops Battalion.
"It's hard during the holidays to be away from your family, and we are lucky to have each other here," David said. "This is the first chance we get to make Christmas memories, so we're trying to enjoy it as much as we can. [Cookie decorating] is something that reminds us of being home, and it's something we can do together to appreciate the Christmas spirit."
Tericka agreed with her husband. "We're here in Iraq decorating cookies with our weapons sitting on the floor next to our feet," she said. "Hopefully, this is something we can look back on and tell our kids in the future."
(Army Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad public affairs office.)