As parades went, it was the most unusual in American military history.

The river Tigris did not run green, but several hundred US troops turned out last year for a Baghdad Saint Patrick's Day parade.

There are plan to march again this year, but for security reasons, of course, nobody is saying exactly when.

Last year, 1st Sergeant Scott McWilliams, a native of Chicago's South Side, was the instigator and he got the Army's permission.

"They don't have too many Irish out here," he told AFP press, "although there are a few."

The parade took place, where else, in the Green Zone -- and while there was no Guinness, there was plenty of Irish songs and laughter.

Participants clad in mock-Irish green performed two laps of the Green Zone , handing out green trinkets and other paraphernalia to loud applause.

Chicago parade organizers had sent the Irish trinkets and flags to them.

"I think it's a great day, a little time-out. It's about camaraderie, a touch of home here in Iraq, a little bit of America," said one soldier.

Air Force Major Aaron Judge drank a fizzy green liquid from a plastic glass.

"I'm dreaming of other things. It's green near-beer," he grinned. "This takes off the stress -- it's a lot of fun."

Local Iraqis were bemused.

"I don't know what is happening," admitted 26-year-old Khalid Walid Ali, who worked as a storage man.