Every week (normally on Sunday) I send a card (usually a Hallmark) to each squad or platoon I support. The card is addressed to the group and inside is a multi-page letter. The purpose of the card and letter is to let the group know that they have not been forgotten and are very much appreciated.
Given what goes on in that part of the region it is incredibly important to maintain an open line of communication and to communicate on a consistent basis. The modern soldier is well-equipped with e-mail and the like. But nothing beats a handwritten letter.
My dad and his brothers (Vietnam Vets), my granddad and his brothers (WWII and Korean War Veterans) and some of my buddies (Gulf War Vets) all agree that the highlight of any soldier’s day is mail call and chow. Once a week I send a package of goodies for the platoon as a whole and when possible to each individual.
If you could read some of the letters, you would blink back a couple of tears. These men and women work 16-hour shifts in incredible weather and ask for nothing really except for some stationery to write home, reading materials, grooming products, a few CDs and some movies.
Each weekly package is really an assortment of 7-10 boxes. Half the boxes are food and treats for holiday themes, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. The other half includes special requests made by the group. And every group is different. I have gotten requests for eye drops, hydrogen peroxide wipes, band-aids, sunglasses, and underwear. I wondered about the underwear thing too. Someone explained to me that some places wash their clothing by hand and the water is full of e-coli bacteria so undergarments don’t last long. And at least one box has plenty of reading material like books, newspapers, and magazines.
Lately, I have been spoiling my soldiers with chocolates because the weather is cool enough to send to them.
To summarize: Each group/soldier receives:
– a weekly card and letter
– a weekly packet of reading materials
– a weekly assortment of boxes that contain edible treats and entertainment
And that’s where you can help, with the entertainment.
Phone’s ringing. That’s means it’s time for me to entertainment one of you.
See you around.