BASRA, Iraq – The clock read 2300.
Spc. Lloyd Hardrick cut the music and picked up the microphone.
“Listen up!” he yelled. “We’re about to bring the new year in hard, and we’re gonna bring it in right!”
And with that, the lights cut. Bass began thumping. Strobes bathed the dance floor with yellow and blue lights. Soldiers and contractors swayed to the beat of the hip-hop tunes.
A former British pub at the main American military base outside Iraq’s second-largest city is a far cry from the clubs of Los Angeles or Ibiza, but the soldiers and contractors put aside the war for a few hours to ring in 2010.
“Hey, it’s just not as fun as if we were back home. It’s just not,” said Spc. Nealy Edwards of Fort Lewis’ 17th Fires Brigade. “We try to have events to make it feel normal, but it’s just not as much fun.”
The 21-year-old Houston native motioned toward the dance floor.
“But I’ve never seen people get this excited without booze,” he added, laughing.
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