New Year's in Iraq

From my cousin in Anbar Province, Iraq:
Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

Well, at least I'm in the right calendar year now, and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard to believe I've been here for six months now. Its felt more like six years.

I got promoted to Master Sergeant during a formation on New Year's Day. I've attached a photo from the formation for your viewing pleasure (lol). MSG Pentacost and I then fixed as traditional a NYD meal as possible, given our conditions. We had boiled cabbage and potatoes, fried potatoes and onions, soup beans, and fried cabbage. I tried to fix corned beef, but it was the stuff that comes in a can, and looked alot like Alpo when cooked (probably also tasted like it, too), so we threw it out.

I woke up this morning without power (again). I saw mechanics working on the generator as I left the barracks. I can't understand why they don't just replace the thing. It only worked for three days this time before breaking down again. We've got a small back-up generator on hand from the last time the main generator broke down for and extended period (right before Christmas we had no power for six days). If they don't fix the main by this afternoon, I will get the back-up running. It can't power the entire building, but will provide enough power to at least have lights and hot water.

Thanks again to everyone for your support, and the e-mails you've sent over the holidays. It is nice to hear from each of you. I look forward to seeing you when I get home.

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