January 1st, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Happy New Year from Afghanistan

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2009/12/31/ac360.afghanistan.new.years.cnn"%5D

Members of the U.S. military send out New Year greetings from Bagram Air Field to their family and friends, originally featured on AC360° with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/01/story2.ireport.newyears.jpg caption="Cpl. Cruz with the 'chemlight' New Year's ball"] Meanwhile, troops at Camp Leatherneck Marine base in Afghanistan celebrated the new year with a ball drop of their own.

They created their ball out of plywood and chemical glow sticks and then raised it up on a crane. Christopher Aragon submitted the iReport of the unique New Year celebrations; he's been in Afghanistan for two months. He said it took the group about four hours to make the ball. See more of the photos

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Filed under: Troops • Voices
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Jenny in Arizona

    Thank you for all you do – you are in our prayers

    January 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hashj

    Happy new year I hope you come back safely
    best regard

    January 4, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Willie

    I'm challenged by the creativity, coming up with something out of nothing. To be in that unprivileged place yet to feel a taste of home...yeah...adapt and overcome! Awesome marine stuff!..

    All the best of sacrifices and commitment in this year of service! Hats off to you guys!

    Willie from Fiji, Pacific.

    January 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jama Goff

    This was the best ever. Ypu guys work so hard and we are so proud of you!!!!! Thank you for fighting for us!!

    January 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. biggunz

    Cpl Cruz and crew of the RIP Det./Supply Det. Awesome job! Though we are a in the middle of no-where with the barest necessities; we can still make it feel like a taste of home. Adapt and overcome....THAT is what Marines do. Ignore the comments of crackpots like #17 'Mr. Patriot' this guy is obviously 'educated' and computer savvy but he's still ignorant. Freedom is not FREE....men and women like Cpl Cruz put their lives on the line everyday so people like you can say what they feel. Obviously you are enjoying that freedom. Save that speech for the uneducated goat farmers and poppy growers that zealots like you trick into blowing themselves up....if you were such a patriot why not use your resources to help EDUCATE the people of Afghanistan and let then FREELY choose for themselves...not spout religious agenda's.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wendy H.

    Hi, i'm a resident of Virginia Beach, and i have to say that this is the most outstanding ball i have seen for the new years. It is very colorful, unique and inovated. But most of all, it doesn't matter where you are the symoblism is there. I have a friend there that enjoyed this exact ball and he was is awe and very proud of the craftmanship these men put into it.
    Know that we here in virginia beach, military families are greatful for what you do for us. I myself am a military brat and am very greatful, take care and come home safely.

    With sincere thanks,

    wendy and friends

    January 2, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Beverly

    Thank you all for your service and commitment. My prayers are constantly covering you!

    January 2, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. charles

    Am a Kenyan but a top supporter of the US troops much love and support
    all the best with you in prayers

    January 2, 2010 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jean C

    Bless the hearts of all the stand-up men and women in the miltary! I appreciate the sacrifices you make being away from the people who love you!! Make each other laugh when you can...Stay focused, stay strong and stay safe!! Praying for you all

    January 2, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. A Roquemore

    WE love you guys!......That's a cool ball!!!

    January 1, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Denise C., Connecticut, USA


    Kewl ball!
    You all just keep amazing us back here in the States!
    Not enough thank you's can be given out to you for keeping us safe!
    Just know that I, like the rest of us are thinking of you if not, every day!
    I have actually became friends with some of you through various friend websites and am glad to have connected and helped to brighten your day just a little bit.
    It brings tears to my eyes to think how far away you are from family and friends!

    BIG Hugs and kisses!

    January 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. emilia

    Hi everybody, I am just a grateful American and I want to thank all of you and wish you a Happy New Year. Emilia

    January 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alan

    Thanks to all of you for what you do. Keep your head down and come home safe. You are in our thoughts.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Connie

    I pray for each and every one of you daily, including my son. May 2010 find you safe, bringing you home soon. Thank you for all you sacrifice for our freedom. Happy New Year to all our heros.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gay Sorrell

    Stephanie – What a surprise to see you in this video! You look great! Hope your tour is going well and that 2010 will be a year of blessings for you. Thanks for all you are doing to support our servicemen and women and our country. Take care – Gay Sorrell

    January 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Evelyn Quinones

    Thank you all for serving our country. I miss my son so much, but I know he's doing his duties in Afghanistan. God Bless you all and have a Happy New Year.

    January 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  17. srikar kura

    Happy New Year!
    Be safe and come back to U.S. soon.
    Thank You!

    January 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Margarette Mattern

    Our heroes wear combat boots and have a heart of pure gold. Godspeed.
    With gratitude,

    January 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Carmella

    God bless you guys. Thank you for all you do.

    January 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Marti

    Thank you so much for the horrible job that you are doing. May God be watching over you and may you soon come home, safe and sound!

    January 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jane

    Happy New Year! Your dedication and service is greatly appreciated. Glad to see you are in good spirits! Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

    January 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Ivonne Cruz

    Happy New Year and God Bless you all.
    Love you.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  23. mar

    why did they have to send wishes to Kathy and Anderson

    January 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tom B

    Awesome guys! Cheers to you!!!

    January 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Sandy

    It was far more special than the one in Times Square.
    I think of you folks over there every day.
    It must feel far away and lonely.
    We are with you in spirit.
    There is so much love and support behind you.
    I hope you can feel it
    and maybe it will make a difficult situation a bit less lonely.

    all my very best
    Sandra Hanson
    Catholic University
    Washington DC

    January 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |