CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - Soldiers and civilians were treated to a special meal, decorations, and performances during lunch at the main dining facility here operated by 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Dec. 25, in celebration of Christmas.

Soldiers and civilian workers volunteered to create the decorations and entertain the DFAC's patrons to help boost morale during what may be a difficult time of year for some as they are far away from loved ones.

"No one wants to be away from their family [during the Holidays] but being here is like having a second family," Capt. Mariam Sewell, a Chester, Pa., native and the 15th Sust. Bde. deputy supply officer, said.

The day's special meal included prime rib, turkey, dressing, Cornish hens, ham, cookies, cakes, and non-alcoholic wines and eggnog.

Soldiers dressed as reindeer and elves entertained by dancing to country, hip-hop, and Latin music.

The Soldiers dressed as reindeer all wore antlers and shirts with one of the nine reindeer names on it, including Rudolph with a flashing red nose.

"You have fun, plenty of food to eat [and can] still be in the Christmas spirit," Sewell said.

The building was also adorned with a variety of winter and Christmas decorations. Hundreds of handmade paper snowflakes hung from the ceiling, a full-size sleigh with reindeer flying over a house was on display, and many large decorative cakes set in a neat row near the entrance.

Utpal D. Costa, a Dhaka, Bangladesh native and a DFAC salad chef, created a nativity scene out of aluminum foil, decorations for a Christmas tree with aluminum foil, a donkey stuffed with newspapers, a large paper flower and large decorative paper balls for the celebration.

Costa said he has made decorations from recycled material since he was a boy and has continued to make large pieces for special occasions on Q-West. Costa made the decorations in his small room.

"God always helped me," he said, explaining how he was able to create his art. "[I am] God gifted."

Sixto Jimenez, a San Jose Del Monte, Philippines, native and head baker for the dining facility here, made decorative cakes and a large gingerbread village with the help of the baking staff as well as civilian and Army DFAC workers.

Pfc. Daniel Rivera, a 15th Sust. Bde. cook and Apple Valley, Calif., native, carved an entire train out of blocks of ice which was displayed near the front entrance of the dining facility.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16