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Afghan troops get a taste of Christmas

COMBAT OUTPOST TERRA NOVA, Afghanistan — With a red stocking full of candy canes in hand, Spc. Lindsey Helgemo spread a bit of holiday cheer to Afghan troops on Christmas morning in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province.

She donned a Santa hat, called out “Merry Christmas!” and handed out the peppermint treats to the Afghan National Army soldiers, who looked curiously at the curved confections but were all smiles as they accepted them. A few excitedly surrounded her and took out their cameras, prodding Helgemo to take photos with them. One threw his arm around her shoulders and struck a jaunty pose with his hand on his hip.

The 23-year-old mechanic, with the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, fortunately ran out of candy — turning the stocking upside down for show — before the ANA troops could become full-on paparazzi.

“We celebrate their holidays, so they should get to partake with us,” Helgemo said, smiling after her stint as Santa Claus.

— Megan McCloskey

Stars and Stripes

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