From the Troops
We love hearing back from the heroes who receive our care packages. Here are some of the letters we’ve received from our troops and their families and if they don ™t get you inspired to do more in the way of support, we don ™t know what will.
Dear Hugs Project,
The soldiers of 3rd Platoon, B 5/1 FA would love to send you a letter of thanks. We would like to tell you that your hard work and support is well spent. Your packages bring more than just food and other comforts to us, they bring us hope, love and most of all, they remind us of our mission. With the negative pressure from some Americans it sometimes feels as though we are wasting our time over here. Leaving our loved ones is not easy. That’s why your hard work and compassion is so appreciated. Again, we would like to say “thank you”.
3rd Platoon, B 5/1 FA
To whoever did this kind thing,
I got a ‘hug from home’. There was a box of homemade hats and neckwarmers sitting out in our common area we call the oasis. Someone put it there with a big sign saying ‘Take One’, so I did. When I read what it said about wishing you could give me a real hug, I just sat down and cried like a baby. Oh, I needed to hear that so much today.
Thank you for caring about me. On the days when I am feeling down, I’m going to remember the love and effort someone put into making that warm hat…just for me.
I appreciate the kind words of thanks you gave to me but in my mind, it’s you who are doing a great job. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And may God smile on your project today and for always. I love you all.
To the Hugs Project,
Thank you all for your kind acts myself and my soldiers really enjoy the care packages that you all have sent. It really means a lot to know the people back home really appreciate us and are thinking about us. It really brings up the morale of all the soldiers when they get mail and care packages. So for that I and my soldiers really thank you all.
Dear Hugs Project,
I received you huge package today and am now Mister Popular. I broke it into three, shared one with my section, one with the entire Intel crew and put one out by the Chaplain’s office for all the Marines. Please thank everyone who contributed for me. It was a great gesture. I’m sure some of our female Marines will enjoy the feminine touch provided.
Once again, thank you all for your thoughts.
I appreciate your letters throughout deployment. I hope that you will continue to write the Sailors that are deployed. It means a lot to hear from people who appreciate the service. Your letters are very much appreciated as your vivid descriptions of the weather allowed me to close my eyes and picture being home. Thank you.
Well, I will close. But I can’t say enough times, nor in enough ways, how much your friendship is appreciated. If anyone ever asks you what you did for your country in time of war, be proud of your answer – that you supported the U. S. Military!
I just want to tell everyone at this project how wonderful these handmade wraps made everyone feel! Especially once the thermometer hit 122 degrees…… I was personally hugged by Marlene Luitwieler. I pray ya’ll continue to “hug” our troops and bring some coolness wherever needed.
Diane G. Pxxxxx, MSgt, USAF
Assoc. First Sgt/Superintendent
THANK YOU FROM IRAQ
Dear Karen & The Hugs Project,
I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful care package. It was obvious that there was a lot of “care” in putting it together for the airmen of the 506th Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) squadron and our patients. Let me tell you a little about the airmen you’ve helped today. My commander is a strong leader with a great sense of humor who believes in taking care of all of his “children”. We have quite a few young ladies, medics, supply clerks, lab and radiology tech’s that remind me of my younger days and what I want my young daughters to grow up to be like…….or not so like. ;o) Our young men, and not so young men, are sons, father, brothers and husbands who want nothing more than to be with their loved ones, but are here because they want to help make a difference in a country torn apart by decades of war. There are doctors and nurses who fight to save lives and refuse to give up, no matter the nationality, because that’s what they do best. You’ve also helped many of our patients that are brought in, sometimes far from their units. I posted your note for all to read and many smiles are seen as we feel the care coming from your words……….and sometimes the tears as they remind us of our families back home. Thank you for reaching out to us and letting us know we are in your thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely, Capt. Angel Bxxxxxxxx,
USAF & the Men, Women & Patients of the
506 EMEDS Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq
PS We especially like the “HUGS” we can carry with us!
Hello Mrs. Stark!
Thank you for your e-mail. I have heard wonderful things about you and your organization. Thank you for all of your support for our troops. People like you make what we do 100 times more worth it. Please pass my thanks along! My commander, MAJ Greg I., actually received a fairly large package from you today. I am a member of the 245th MI Company located at Camp XXXX, Iraq. Before we deployed our Family Readiness Group sent us all with 4 Hugs each. We have found them nice on different guard duties. Along with the Hugs we have and the ones we just received I think we are all set. I think I might even pass some along to a few friends within the brigade. The heat is finally letting up and we are preparing ourselves for the cold. As a Military Intelligence Company, many of our Soldiers are outside “the wire” on a daily basis. I’m sure we and the Iraqi people would love things to keep them warm this winter. We got to Iraq during the tail end of winter and decided that the winters make you look so very forward to the summer and the summers make you look so very forward to the winter, ha. Once again, thank you for your thoughts!
Dear Fellow Americans at The Glenpool Huggers,
I’m not sure if you have received any response from anyone in my unit, or in Camp Fallujah as a whole, for all of the “Hugs” that you’ve sent us. They are a great idea and they really do work when you add water to them and wrap them around your neck! I, personally, can’t thank you enough for thinking of us. I know you may not receive many thanks back, as we’re so busy over here and many Marines, esp. the grunts and those that constantly work “outside the wire” rarely have time for email and if they do it’s to their loved ones. SO, I’d like to thank you from all of us over here in Camp Fallujah, Iraq for thinking of us.
May the Lord Bless you,
My name is Staff Sergeant Sarah Wxxxxx and I am in the US Army deployed overseas. I wanted to email you and thank you for the care package you sent. I received the hug and the sand scarf. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and am very grateful that you have taken the time to think of me and my fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines.
Take care and bless you!
How are you doing? I hope that this email finds you in good health and spirits.
How are you doing? I hope that this email finds you in good health and spirits.
I know you don’t know me, but I am a soldier from Ft. Lewis and I recently got deployed (again) to xxxxxxxxxx in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
I received one of your “Hugs”. I know that you may not have been directly involved in the making of such items but your time, money, and/or good will and intent has reached me.
Often times, we praise those husbands and wives that leave behind loved ones, family, friends, children, mothers and fathers in order to “fight the good fight” as one soldier put it. We hardly ever repay our debt to the people we leave behind because we get caught making the mistake of believing that we are the only ones that are making a sacrifice.
Because of your love and dedicated support, we the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have a reason to fight, a reason to continue on, and most importantly a reason to come home.
Having said that, I want to thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your love. Thank you for taking time out to pray for us so that we may continue to keep our freedoms free by “fighting the good fight”.
SGT Jamal Bxxxxxxxx
United States Army
Sir or ma’am:
My name is SGT. Sais Sxxxx. Currently, I am in Baghdad Iraq. I am very blessed here in Iraq and I do not need a care package or books.
The purpose of this email is purely to say thank you to you and your team of friends that are showing how much you support us. Though I love hallmark cards, my daughters crayon cards mean so much more.
Likewise, the handmade items come from your hearts back home, to our hearts here in Iraq (I’m sure you are sending them elsewhere as well). Thank you on behalf of all the troops using your wonderful gifts. Thank you and may God Bless you as you continue to support us.
SGT. Sais Sxxxx
Dear Hugs Project
Hello, my name is PFC Jesse Sxxxxxx.
I wanted to take some time and thank you for the package that you sent me. It is really nice to know that there is support back home like that. When a soldier receives a letter or a package out here no matter what went on in that soldier’s day it makes everything worthwhile. I really can’t explain to you how much of a morale booster it is to receive something out here. When I received your package it was one of those mail days when I was certain I wasn’t going to receive anything because when family and friends mail you something they usually let you know when they mailed it and you can generally figure out what day you’ll get it so when my SGT said to me I had a package I cant tell you how happy it maid me. A lot of the soldiers I work with on our guard shift don’t receive a lot of mail so when we get packages we usually go around and see if there’s anything that they want out of it. I gave other soldiers that work on the day shift some of neck coolers that you sent me. Well I just wanted to take some time and thank you and let you know what your doing is really appreciated by us soldiers.
My name is Sgt. Cliff D.
I wanted to sit down and write to you thanking you for your support. Our truck blew its engine and we were given a truck without A/C as a replacement. The A/C keeps the inside of our Humvee about 110 to 115 degrees. This is an acceptable temperature. Without A/C it climbs to 130+ degrees. My driver was on the verge of heat exhaustion by the time we made the 120 miles to Scania. I went to Joe’s Cafe there and saw the neck coolers for anyone in need. I grabbed enough for my whole section. We wrapped one around my driver’s neck and another around his forehead. It took about an hour but he started to feel much better. I also made sure I had 2 of them. One to wear and one in the cooler. I’m the gunner so I’m always in direct heat. We just want to thank you for your dedication to the troops. You can know that you’re a key part in helping the Black knights roll in Iraq. We are just a bunch of boys from Texas wanting to make it home to our wives and kids. My wife is expecting our 5th child in August. So on behalf of Spc. Rick G. and the other Black knights I say “Thank You”. Sgt. D.”
Response from another soldier:
I have been traveling and drove over 3 hours without air conditioning due to a mechanical problem with the air conditioning unit. When my team arrived at Scania, the driver was so overcome with the heat, we sent him to a medic as a pre-cautionary measure to get an I.V. Your work here definitely makes a difference. It’s the little things like the neck coolers that most people don’t think of, but to us, it makes all the difference in the world.
Major Kenn W.
One remarkable story we heard in 2005
A Navy medic wrote to tell us he felt our cool ties had saved the life of a young Marine. He said that we had overestimated the size of his group and so they had 2 each. They always wore one and kept the others in an ice chest so that they could change out for a “cold one”.
They came up on a group of Marines huddled around someone lying on the ground. He said the Marines didn’t have “hugs” and the A/C in their vehicle was broken. As they approached, someone yelled out “heat stroke”. One of the medics grabbed “them things” out of the cooler and they piled them on the chest of the distressed Marine. The medic telling the story said, “we watched his eyes come back”.
He’s convinced the guy would have died under normal circumstances.
Greetings from Al-Anbar, Iraq!
Many of you do not know me, but I know you! I am the Commanding Officer of 1st Squad/Alpha Platoon/SEAL Team 4. Karen and I spoke on the phone 01JULY06 while she was at Spinozi’s BOB FM Hug’s party. I felt it was important for me, on behalf of the rest of the men and women over here, to take a moment and say thank you! Your efforts have not gone unnoticed! The “Hugs” are very well known over here and highly sought after. Your group has touched and softened many hearts, mine especially. I told Karen, that God gave me a calling to serve my country, and I know that he placed me and my men where he needs us. Our mission is a grand and just one, one that faces much resistance and doubt. Your efforts and support ease our hardships and give us the strength we need to carry on, and fight this good fight.
Again, we cannot thank you enough for all that you have done, and are currently doing for us over here. May God bless you, and give you favor in all your endeavors.
The Battle Toads
Dear Hugs Project members
Imagine coming home after 14 hours of patrol to a package or letter, a piece of home. And I have done this many times… I will stand in the middle of my room, wearing over 100 lbs of gear and suddenly I forget that I’m tired or how heavy it all is, because I HAVE to open it immediately. I’m afraid that if I don’t it’ll disappear if I turn around. And when I open it, it’s Heaven. It’s someone that cares for me and understands, someone that took time out of THEIR day to give me this moment. And that’s how it feels. So every time you’re about to seal that box, or put a finishing stitch to a pair of socks, or drop off some soap, think to yourself that, the next time that item sees the light of day, it will be half a world away and bringing a smile.
Just know this, I love each and every one of you for the ways you make us feel special in this world.
Elmer W Miami FL
Medic with 10th Mountain Division
My name is Stan B.
I am a Marine with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division. We are deployed, as part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable, to An Najaf, Iraq. Since August (or possibly earlier), we have been receiving “hugs” from The “Hugs” Project (hand made neck coolers/warmers). To date, we have received at least 450 “hugs” (that I know of) from this fine organization and I am told that they have sent 125,000+ “hugs” to troops worldwide. I cannot emphasize how much these “hugs” have meant to the Marines and how useful they have been to us.
Given the mornings are about 50 degrees (very cool when you are manning the gun out the top of a Humvee and moving at 55 mph) and the days can break 130, you can see that these versatile neck warmers/coolers would be a great asset. Not to mention that the Marines just love to know that people are thinking of them. I am told that The “Hugs” Project is looking to gain the distinction as a group who can Make a Difference. If there were any organization that deserves this endorsement, it would be them. They have gone out of their way, spent countless volunteer hours, funded this out of their own pockets, just to support the service members of the United States Military. A better justification I cannot find. Let me know if you need any further testament as I can have more Marines write on behalf of The “Hugs” Project. Thank you.
Having a son serve with the United States Marine Corps has only heightened my awareness of the trials and tribulations our troops face each and every day that they serve in ‘the sandbox’. The day I found The Hugs Project was one of the finest days I can remember! I now knew that my son was just one of many that I would be able to help! I was going to help MANY!! Those people would be from all branches; all walks of life before their service to this country, to this nation, to my family.
This group IS a support group of our troops but also so much more than that, it is a group of support for each other as well. One time in particular, my son was in some very heavy fighting and I asked for prayers and this group prayed throughout the night with me! My son will tell you that he FELT the prayers! He said that while the packages from Hugs have made him a very ‘popular young man’, the prayers have made him a very blessed young man!
This group…how can I put into words unconditional love and caring for people we do not even know in the normal sense of things? We DO know that the people we send to have a special love of family and nation but that is about ALL we know at the beginning. We get to learn more as those that receive the packages write us back with thanks and stories about themselves. This group… how can I put into words the complete respect and desire to honor those that serve that we, as members have…how can I express the knowledge that we have in our heads and our hearts that we have been able to say thank you…you are loved? I, being one of the few that has a family member in the service would be able to send packages of hugs and kisses and other needed items without this group. I could do that…for several months at a time. Many would be sitting at home thinking, “Gee, sure wish there was SOMETHING I could do to help’. BUT, the wonderful group, The Hugs Project means that I can send year round to someone, somewhere that has needs; not just when my son is deployed.
This Hugs Project means that NO ONE ever has to think…gee, I would help if I just knew who to send something to…this group ALWAYS has many someones that are in need. I have TRIED to explain what this program means to me, a mother of a marine. I would also like to tell you just a little of what it has meant to my son who has been on the receiving end of the many packages of Hugs.
Dixon often received more hugs and kisses than he might need…but he always knew to share. He would place hugs and kisses in his pockets when he would go out on missions and hand them out to those he saw suffering from the heat. He said that he thinks he ‘kinda knows’ how it feels for us, here in the states to mail out our boxes…he too LOVED the smiles and thanks and knowledge that he helped a fellow serviceman. He enjoyed finding out names and addresses of someone not getting any mail from home…because he knew; call Mom and the Hugs Project would make SURE that person never did without again!
The Hugs Project is a very important factor in my life as well as the life of my son. He and I know that no matter what, we have each other and the rest of our family, The Hugs Project is just a beautiful reminder that there are so many more supporters than just he and I…that there is more love, honor, caring and respect for our troops and for the families of our troops than either of us will ever truly be able to fathom. That love and respect that is shown each and every day though the members of the Hugs Project. THAT is the reason we both keep going…he on his missions and me, trying to stay strong stateside.
Thank you for reading this letter,
PROUD Marine Mom
To all the dear members of The Hugs Project,
Words can’t adequately tell you just how much your cards, letters and packages do to improve our daily morale. We are so grateful to all of you for reaching across the many miles to touch us warmly and let us know that you care for us. Our families appreciate all you do too.
Thank you for the way you all so unselfishly give and give to meet our needs. You improve more than just our general morale, you honestly do improve our quality of life and our well-being.
We can never repay your kindness but every day that we serve in the US military, we will continue to try. Sincerely, Maj Rodney Wxxxxx US Army
My Mom actually told me about you guys, then I received your package. Thank you so much. I have been giving those “hugs” to a lot of my battle buddies. It is already getting hot!
My name is Specialist McXxxxxx, Marisa. My Mom is Patty Sxxxxxxx. I am a Combat Medic in the 116th 145th Spt BN out of Idaho, home sweet home. I’m ready to go home and watch the sunset in the mountains. While they are beautiful here, I know it is from the oil in the air. You can see for miles in every direction. No hills. It honestly strips you of that last little bit of privacy. I’ve never even really thought about but lived with my whole life. Idaho is so beautiful. But I do have good buddies and a squared away company, a family that loves me and people like you that do all you can to support our troops. While it is hard, I can’t see myself anywhere else in the world right now.
Thank you so much. God Bless!
Marisa (the baby of Charlie Med, age 19)
I am serving in Iraq with Travis. I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful hats and bootees that you have been sending. These items are awesome it really makes us feel at home, especially since they are hand made. I am really glad you made some big enough for Travis extra large head!! Ha-Ha. Take care and thanks again.
I am currently deployed in afghanistan. I know you took alot of effort and care to make all the great warm hats for us and we do appreciate it very much. Without wonderful americans like yourselves and the others that knitted these hats, it would be much more difficult than it is. Your support means so much to us and I can’t thank you enough.
Thanks again, take care you wonderful patriots, and semper fidelis!!!!
This project means that
… when my son opens his mail, it won’t be hate mail. It will be mail that uplifts and encourages him to do his best
… when my son opens his mail, it will be full of support and when he’s down, or missing home, a little piece of home will find it’s way to him
… when my son returns, there will be more people that are thankful for his sacrifice than those that would condemn him for serving his country and doing his duty
… my son will not endure the hateful treatment my cousins endured during Viet Nam
… my son will believe the world is a good place, full of hope and kindness
….my son will know that the 4 years he put his life on hold to serve his country have not gone unrecognized
… my son will be validated in his belief that this country is worth fighting for
… and because of this kindness and outpouring of love, my son will not be afraid to encourage his son to stand up for what is right, protect the down trodden and oppressed, and serve his country with honor.
From a Marine Mother in Longmont, CO
I would just like to take a second to thank the families whom have adopted me and I do promise, I tried to write back, but things have been so hectic here that it made it very hard at times. But still know that I do appreciate your care and support very much. But unfortunately, and yet not such a bad thing, I have to ask that mail not be sent anymore, due to the fact that my unit is now very heavily in the process of packing up to move out. Come April or May, I will finally be home for the first time since January 2005, yes, that will be well over a year. So please, except my apologies if I was unable to reply, and my thanks for your support. Everything little thing you all do back home to support us over here in Iraq is so much more helpful then you will ever know! Keep up the good work, and who knows, the way the Army Reserves are doing things now a days, you’ll probably get a chance to adopt me again in about a year!
Smitty Sgt. Sxxxx, Michael J B Co 411th ECB (H)
My sister talked to you guys about getting us some warm clothes and care package supplies. I speak for all of us and especially the airframes shop, when I say thank you so much for the package you sent. the tempetures get as low as 5 degrees F. and the wind chills on top of that go straight to the bone. I can’t thank you enough and we all appreciate your support for our troops more then you can imagine. It feels so good to know that we have good people back in the states that believe in us and support our efforts. A lot of people disagree with what we are doing out here and think we have no business out here. but the Afghannies are an extrordinary people and deserve to be without the Taliban and Alqueda. We have done countless humanitarian missions and do so much for these people. Your efforts to help us also helps them and you have done a great thing for everyone, thank you again, Semper Fi and God Bless.
Today we received your box of crocheted hats and we all loved them. I just wanted to write and say thank you for remembering us. We all really appreciate the time and effort you put into making these for us. Now we can sleep warm at night and feel so cozy. Again Thanks for thinking about us. May God bless you.
Hey what’s going on guys? I really appreciate what you guys are doing. I got your package the other day and I wanted to thank you for all the stuff. I passed out most of the hugs to some of my friends and a few other Marines. They all wanted to thank you, I think you will be getting e-mails from some of them. Thank you very much for all you are doing…and thank you for keeping us in your prayers we need all we can get.
LCpl Samuel XXX
(Oklahoma City Marine)
We received a box of hats from The Hugs Project today and I must write and thank you. These days it has been very cold here in Qatar and as you can guess, many of us keep our hair cut very short. That, combined with the fact that my work area has a huge air vent blowing on me for 12-14 hours a day means my head gets cold. Your hats arrived just in time!! I got one of the blue ones (air force) and am wearing it right now… nice. Even in the summer, we go from 100+ heat to super-cooled tents so we can wear them year round here.
It’s obvious someone, somewhere took the time to handmake these hats and I just wanted to let you know that your works are very much appreciated here. It is amazing that what may seem like a small thing to some, really is a huge morale booster for us. I wouldn’t trade this hat for anything that is “store bought” because it is my constant reminder that great Americans such as you know we are here and support us.
Thank you once again from my heart and most importantly…from my warm head!
This letter was written to A Group of Friends – –
My name is Chaplain Richard H. Wiese and I’m currently deployed in Iraq. I’m a Navy Chaplain that is with the Battalion Landing Team 1/4 Unit out of Camp Pendleton, CA. I recently received a numerous amount of “Hugs Project” neckbands and I’m very pleased to say that those items work great! I just want to say Thank You for the “Hugs” and taking the time to make them. The Marines and Sailors will enjoy knowing that you care and I will be honored to distribute them amongst us. Please accept this letter as a grateful “Thank You” for a job well done.
I’m very grateful for what the Group of Friends does to support our military members throughout the world. May God bless you and your families. Thanks again for all your support.
Richard H. Wxxx
LTJG, CHC, USN
I recently read a letter written on Oct. 21st, 2005 by a young Army Captain, Ray Hill – – –
“I have about 4 more months here in Iraq, then back to my family where I really need to be. I have two daughters, 10 and 13 that really need a dad at home during this part of their lives.”
“I don’t regret joining the military and serving my country. I have served proudly and would go wherever my country asked me. I know what we are doing here in Iraq is a good thing. It was a good thing to come here and free a country of the suffering and oppression they have endured for 50 years.
Over 2,000 Americans have lost their lives here. I am sad for each one of them. Are the lives of these Americans worth the lives of people we don’t know? I say yes! If it wasn’t me, then who; if it wasn’t now, then when? Our forefathers in WWI and WWII died for the freedom of many Europeans. Was their sacrifice in vain? I think not. What makes the Iraqi’s lives any less important? Is it because they don’t share a similar religion as us, or don’t have similar culture?”
“We are over here doing an important mission, we can not waiver from it. Once this country is on its own, that is when we should leave.”
“May God bless America, and the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who stand for freedom.”
CPT Ray Hill
Capt. Raymond D. Hill II, 39, of Turlock, Calif. died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Oct. 29, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during patrol operations. Captain Hill was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, Modesto, Calif.
As long as brave and patriotic Americans such as Ray Hill believe in the mission to protect our safety and secure freedom for the peoples of the Middle East, we will be there to let them know, we believe in them.
I recently received a cooling “hug” with your name on it while attending Chapel in Fallujah, Iraq. I want to thank you for your gift and support. The tie will be well utilized. I am a Navy Seabee and work daily in temperatures up to 125 degrees F. I was delighted to see your Oklahoma address as I too live in OKC.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
God bless you.
BU1 (SCW) Chuck P.
Dear “OKC Group Hug”,
Hello guys. And thank you for the hugs that you sent out. You have impeccable timing. This is the time of year when the temperature reaches heights that would cause a sinner to change his ways.
My name is Master Sergeant Jeffrey W. I am an African American by birth, a Christian by the shed blood of Jesus, a Marine by design, an American by fate, and a TEXAN by the grace of GOD himself!!!
I got your hug from the chapel here at Camp Wilson, and now I’m hugging you back. It’s really refreshing to know that there are Americans such as yourselves out there. And, don’t you think for one second the Marines don’t thank you every day, because we do.
I really only wrote to tell you how wonderful I thought you guys are and to thank you for what you do and maybe to encourage you to keep up the good work. We’ve got a LOT of people here.
We appreciate you and thank you very much.
May the Lord keep you and bless you all the days of your life.
OOOHHRRAAHHH!!! Semper Fi!!
Thank you very much for all you and your organization do for our troops. You would be so proud to see just how extremely motivated and hard working our brave men and woman are out here. Despite all the news broadcast on our televisions, our troops have a clear vision of what needs to be done so all the world’s children can grow up in a safer place.
Thank you again for the relentless support you and all the patriots back home provide for all the troops and particularly my troops going into harms way everyday.
May God bless you and keep you safe!
My name is Robert H. (USAF) and I am currently serving a 1-year remote tour in Korea. I just wanted to say thank you for all you do for us. I know you receive info all the time about the results of your efforts, but I wanted to tell you again how much we appreciate the thoughtfullness and caring we receive from your group’s members. It really helps our morale when we are so far from home and loved ones.
Thank you again and keep up the great work.
Greetings from Iraq!!!
I received your care package yesterday! My soldiers came by and picked up the items. They are all very greatful.
I’ll tell you a little about myself. I have been in the U.S. Army for 14 years. The Army has given me many great opportunities; the best being the opportunity to travel. I plan to retire from the military after 20 years of service. I don’t have many years left. Then, I plan to start my second career. I had wanted to be a Social Worker; however college opportunities for that degree plan have been limited due to assignment locations. Instead, I will obtain a masters degree in Criminal Justice.
I am the MWR Officer for the unit and plan various activities for Soldiers to help improve their quality of living. We just had a Turkey Bowl Tournament on Thanksgiving. The Soldiers played football all day. The winner has the Turkey Trophy displayed in their office. My platoon won the tournament and no I didn’t cheat for them.
I have been married for 13 years. My husband Mark is also in the military. I have achieved a higher rank than him, therefore he is required to salute me. Hahaha! He had always outranked me, but that is the case no longer. It’s an ongoing joke between us. Mark just returned from deployment 30 August 2006. I deployed 18 September 2006. I didn’t have much time with him prior to deploying. I miss him!
Mark and I have one child. Jasmine just turned 12 years old. She is bright, strong and my HERO! She has had to deal with more hardships in her young life than most adults have had to deal with their entire lifetime. This is neither my or my husbands first deployment. We each have several year long deployments under our belt.
I almost forgot about Peanut! He is the family dog or according to Jasmine her brother. He is a loveable Chihuahua. We take him everywhere. Peanut loves to sit on everyone’s lap and cuddle. He is so cute.
My family and I love to travel. We currently reside in Germany and have traveled all throughout Europe. In my spare time, I make scrapbooks with the pictures we take. It is an enjoyable hobby. While deployed I developed a new hobby. I take Isshinryu Karate. I plan to obtain my first belt this Friday! I am so excited.
Well that’s All for now.
Thanks for all you do for deployed Soldiers. I do appreciate it and so do they.
I wanted to get an e-mail off to you as soon as possible. I wish I could sit down and write each individual person, but due to operational commitments; it would take me at least a month for you to receive a Thank you. I hope this will do for now. I’d first like to write you and thank you for everything you’ve done. With all the hustle & bustle during this busy time of the year, it’s hard to believe that people actually stop and take the time to write and/or send a morale package to complete strangers. It’s people like you that give the meaning of the Great United States of our America. The Marines & I are astonished with all the mail that we are receiving. Yes, mail will always be a little slow, especially when you’re this deep inside Afghanistan. If you are curious as to where we are located, find a map of Afghanistan and look for a city called Asadabad located off the eastern (right) boarder of Pakistan. The climate here is pretty dusty. I now see why the local people wear rags over their faces. For the most part, people here seem very friendly and happy that we are here. This culture here is definitely different and somewhat unique. There happiness is not measured by the material possession they have, for the people here have very little to begin with, and yet have a high appreciation for what they have. We know that is a bit different in the US. Some of us could learn a lot from them. The standard of hygiene here is a bit different. The locals here do not practice the standard of hygiene that most of us are used to. With that being said, there isn’t a store here for us to buy the necessities such as soap, shampoo, or toothpaste. Another reason why mail is such a big issue/importance. The base that we are at is not bad at all. We have running water, so we are able to shower at least once every three days. There is a local person here that will wash our clothes for us during working hours. It’s great, but we need to make sure that he dries them. Our living quarters are wooden buildings that have tin roofs, which have been finally outfitted with power outlets. The tempo is a little different here than Iraq. We don’t have to constantly be on the go. Don’t get me wrong; the boys are staying very busy. But when there is time to relax, we are able to do just that. The Marines are able to workout by lifting weights at the gym and or run many times around the base.
When not on a mission, we get three hot meals a day. We are part of a joint operation with the US Army. To be honest with you, I’ve heard in the past how different the Army is compared to the Marine Corps. I’m glad to see that is wrong. Since I’ve been here for a month and a half, I’ve seen nothing but trained professionals. Soldiers willing to take their shirts off their backs to make sure that we (troops) are comfortable. I’m glad to have brothers and sisters like that. The temperature here is around the mid 60’s to 70’s during the day. At night it can dip down to the mid 40’s. I know that’s nothing compared to the mid west and east coast. They keep telling us that the temps are going to drop soon. About once every two weeks it will rain over here. That’s when it feels like the temp has dropped below freezing. Well, I hope that gives you a feeling of how our living conditions are.
Well it’s about time for me to talk about myself. As you know I’m a Staff Sergeant in the Marines Corps. I’ve been in this awesome gun club for ten years. I get to share this experience with my wonderful wife Celina. We met in North Carolina five years ago. We are both stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. No, she’s not in the military, but we both understand that since we’ve got to be separated, it’s the same thing. We’ve been married four and half of the greatest years of my life. She’s definitely my soul mate. It’s great when your spouse relationship is based on true friendship. Celina is a school teacher. She had taught Latin back in N. Carolina and is teaching Spanish in Hawaii. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, and is working on obtaining her masters disagree. It might sound great to live in Hawaii, but to be honest with you it’s not. One of our many hobbies is to jump into our Dodge truck and take long joy rides. When we were stationed in N. Carolina, at least once a couple of years, we would try and visit with our wonderful friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is in Canada. Celina lived there for 16 years. Of course that will not happen anytime soon. We also have a daughter named Adrianna. She’s 17 years old and lives with her natural father in Texas. She comes over for Christmas and for summers. She is beautiful like her Mother. She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her mother & I have been working very hard with I.N.S. so we can get her a US work permit, as she can’t yet work in the USA. I know it’s got to be hard for her trying to be an independent young lady without a steady income. Celina and I try our hardest to spoil her. Well, enough of that. They were, together trying to have their first Christmas and New Year’s without my presence. Everything will be just fine. I love them very much. Well, let’s get back to me. I was born in Decatur, Illinois. Yes, I am a big Chicago Cubs fan! It runs in the blood. Only a real Cub fan would know what I am talking about. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been in the Marine Corps for 10 years. I will stay for another 10. As everyone knows it’s hard to find a good job these days. Surprisingly, it can be just as hard to keep one. The main reason why I joined my beloved Corps was that when I was a little child my uncle was a recruiter in the Marine Corps. He brainwashed me. Semper Fi! Granted, I can say up to this point in my career that I’ve never been disappointed. From the beginning, I’ve always known what I’ve wanted. Number one; see the world on the government’s dime. Number two; receive some type of pension for an early retirement. Number three; receive a decent health care plan. About my job, I’m what they call a Grunt in the Marine Corps. My MOS (Military Occupational Skill) is 0369, which is a Platoon Sergeant if you’re in a Line Company or a Section Leader if you’re in a Weapons Company. An 0369 is a jack of all trades in the infantry field. He’s the expert when it comes to tactics and operations. He’s also proficient with handling and employing all the weapons that are in the Marine Corps arsenal. He also looks after his Platoon Commander. The Platoon Commander is usually a second or first lieutenant. I’ve always have been an infantrymen. Being in the infantry you learn a thing or two. My current billet that I’ve been assigned is an 81 mm (millimeter) mortar Section Leader. We are what you call ‘Steel Rain’. We are an indirect fire weapon. Not to insult anyone’s intelligence, have you ever seen in war movies where they drop a large round in a metal tube and a second or two you hear a boom! That is it. This is the best and simplest way to describe it. We are a great asset, for the Company or Battalion Commander, when things get bad. My job as a section leader is to #1 – ensure safety! When given the command to displace and then (#2) occupy another position. I’m trained to look for the best place to set in the gun line. That’s what we call RSOP. Once we occupy, I then call on the radio and give a Fire Cap Report. There is a little more to that, but I wanted to give you a good insight on what my responsibilities are.
I hope in the near future that you receive a letter from the Marines. But, please write me back if you haven’t heard from us. I do have one request, if you correspond via mail, please enclose a self addressed envelope. You do not have to attach a stamp; mail here is free for us. This will help us, and you will save a little money. Like I mentioned before, the Marines have been busy due to on going operations. However, the Sergeants inform me that they have been writing thank you cards & letters. Once I receive any letters and morale boxes, my squad leaders will hand them out to the Marines, making sure that everyone gets plenty of the good stuff. I wish you could be here for mail call. These grown men sound like happy children, excited with anticipation. Wondering what they might receive, either by letter or package. In fact Sergeant R came up to me last week after our first big mail call and informed me about some letters he had just read. The letters were from a grade school and what the children had written in them made all the Marines feel warm inside. He said, Staff Sergeant Sxxxx, when I was reading those cards, I just felt like I wanted to burst out crying. Reading them filled us up with pride. It makes me remember why I’m over here and what needs to get done.
That is why I want to THANK EVERYONE for his or her support. To be honest with you, I’ve been refraining from taking anything from the morale boxes. I enjoy the cards and letters the most. It’s so amazing to receive letters from so many states. I guess that’s why they call them the United States. Most of my Marines are single and in their late teens and early twenties and receive very little mail/packages from back home. Others have only this family of 81’s that they call home. That is why your support means so much to us. I feel if I take anything from the boxes that I’m taking from the Marines. It is about the leadership thing. Troop morale! No worries, unlike most Marines here, I have been getting many packages and support from my family. What I would like to do is give you a list of some wanted items the ‘Leathernecks’ (Marines) want. I hope this will do for now. Please keep the morale/support coming in. Please try and have a good holiday with family and friends. No worries here. We will be just fine. That’s what we’ve been doing since 1775, when our Marine Corps came alive! We, 81’s Platoon are one big family!
Well, I hope I was able to answer some questions and give you a general insight of our daily activities.
Semper Fi! (Always Faithful)