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Aloha in the desert


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POSTED: Thursday, July 09, 2009

Nearly four dozen Hawaii Air National Guard airmen deployed to Iraq for six months will be hosting a luau next month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hawaii statehood.

; With help from people in Hawaii, they want to bring aloha to the Kirkuk Regional Air Base, according to Master Sgt. Sean Iida, first sergeant of the Maui-based 292nd Combat Communications Squadron.

Iida said he wants “;the folks back home to know that the aloha spirit is alive and well out here in the desert.”;

Besides airmen from Maui, the contingent includes citizen reservists from the 291st Combat Communications Squadron in Hilo and the 293rd Combat Communications Squadron that is normally based at Hickam Air Force Base.

In an e-mail, Iida said the Kirkuk base commander wants to invite the 1,000 airmen who make up the 506th Air Expeditionary Group to the Aug. 21 luau, which would be held in the base's dining facility.

Iida wrote: “;It started out as just an idea that we could do here at our squadron (61 people), and mushroomed when the higher-ups got word of it.

“;As far as entertainment, we have folks practicing to perform hula (females), haka (males), and will have a few musicians perform,”; Iida wrote.

So far, the Hawaii reservists have donations from the islands that include more than 700 leis from the Sheraton Hotels and bags of rice from family members.

The statehood luau menu currently calls for kalua pig, lomi salmon, chicken long rice, haupia, macaroni salad, Spam and cabbage.

“;Things that we could use are packets of powdered haupia (about 40), kukui nut leis (about 20), elbow and knee wraps for males haka (about 20 sets) and luau decorations,”; Iida said in the e-mail.

Iida can reached by writing to him at: 506 ECS/CCF, Unit #70074, APO, AE 09359; or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).