Home
Donate
Send A Letter
Events

Operation Ensuring Christmas 09


Press
Troops Thanks
Letter Offers
Sponsors
Links
Contact Us

Letters To Soldiers is a volunteer crew sending letters, care packages and support to our troops in Iraq.

How Can I Help?

Your donation will help us ship what soldiers need most - messages from

Find out more...

 

Volunteer

Help us send letters and packages, or organize letter-writing in your area! Find out more...

Send a Letter To a Soldier

Take a few minutes and send a message to a soldier in Iraq.

Help Us Help Others

Do you know a soldier who could use a letter? A military family in need? Have a cause that could use some help? Let us know!

Letters From The Troops

At Christmas Time go to Operation Ensuring Christmas  link

 

01/22/11 From a Retired officer of the Utah National Guard:

"Comments like these from MAJ Jones to you are both thoughtful and well deserved! I very much appreciate people who take the time to acknowledge your dedication and the hard work you have put into making Letters to Soldiers a viable and respectable organization."  Don

"You are awesome and our unit loves you and thinks the world of you.  Thanks for doing so many wonderful things for our Soldiers and their Families."

Maj. Jones

Does anyone know anyone at Colgate? From mom of soldiers: ""wisps" the toothbrushes that you don't need to use water for?   Some of the guys have told me that they were life savers for them while deployed. If they wouldn't have had them, they most likely wouldn't have brushed their teeth. "

12/05/10"Denise D. & Letters to Soldiers Friends,

 The 934th Forward Surgical Team at FOB Sharana, Afghanistan would like to send you our warmest wishes and most heartfelt thank you for the wonderful letters and the great care packages.  We want everyone that participated in this project, which obviously was done with love, significant time, and great effort, that we very much appreciate what you have down for us.  It is not easy for us or our families to be separated for such a long period.  Our team provides medical care to wounded Soldiers and Afghan people.  We are sadden whenever a wounded Soldier comes to our clinic, but we feel honored to be able to help out in anyway we can with their healing so they can return to their families.  Something that has been a tremendous help for our team is the amount of support we receive from back home.  The kindness and support you showed to us in the nice things said in the letters and the fun gifts in the packages makes us feel uplifted and helps us know that we are not alone in this endeavor.  We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Thank you for taking the time to lighten our load and brighten our day!

 I attached pictures of some of the 934th FST Soldiers opening their packages and a copy of our team Christmas eCard.

 With Sincerest Thanks,"

 1LT A. A. , SSG N.C. , & the rest of the 934th FST Soldiers

FOB Sharana, Afghanistan

"Oh, thank you so much, Denise!!  My assistant and I are heading out to day, in

fact to a couple of FOBs and are taking their packages with us!  :)  You are

the best - tell everyone thanks, again!" 

T.

11/05/10  From Brigade of 350 Soldiers from Utah in Iraq:

 "Dear Denise,

 Hello!  We received the first of the Christmas packages today.  Just so I am

tracking...each individual box goes to one soldier, except for the ones that

specifically say for two soldiers - is that correct?  I do not want to open

them up - so if each box is for one soldier, I will put their name on the box

and get them out as soon as I can.  You guys are all so awesome!  Thanks so

much!  I will try and get some pictures with the soldiers receiving the boxes

as I am telling them to wait until Christmas to open them up."

Chaplain b

 

02/24/10 "Denise,

Has SGT C.  been able to contact you yet?

I received the Valentines package that you sent me.  Than you sooo much!  I picked it up when I was in ...  CPT R. is going to send you pictures."

LTC F.

 

From the Army Reserve

"Dear Lance, Parker, Aubrey, and Gavin at Lewiston Elementary School,

I am glad that you wrote us a letter. Thanks So much. It means so much to have letters sent to us.  I love reading and to know that you took your time and wrote.  My name is SFC B..  My home is ... I have two children.  A girl and a boy.  The weather is cold and wet here, alot of mud...My job is going to the Post Office and making sure that each post office is doing what they are supposed to do.  We have guidelines that have to be followed and we are the ones to supervise them.  Well I have to go for now. Please write when you can.  Thanks for your support.

 

SFC B,."

2010 Home Front Conference

The University of Utah College of Social Work and the Utah Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in conjunction with the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the United States Army Reserve 807th Medical Command, are pleased to announce a major conference of the effects of military deployments on families and communities.

For the first time in history our military engagement in the Middle East has brought unique dynamics needing specialized services and interventions. These have included a.) a fully voluntary military, b.) large deployments of women and national reservists, and, c.) multiple deployments and home-comings. Many families have both a father and a mother in the service. "When parents leave on war missions, the remaining family members often struggle to regroup and set up new routines. Roles change" (H. Fitzgerald, 2009).

Home-based care givers, the children, and the individuals who daily interact with these families, such as pediatricians, school teachers, clergy, law enforcement, social services agencies, and neighbors, need to adjust to these changing roles, through being sensitive to the difficulties of adjustment at time of deployment, and then again to readjustment when returning to home and community. Many reservists are deployed multiple times, so the process is repeated over and over again.

It's Official: The "Fifth Annual Milblog Conference and Party" Scheduled for April 9 and 10, 2010, Going to Be the Best Yet!

Sunday, December 6, 2009, 06:03 PM - 2010 Milblog Conference
The first Official Milblog Conference occurred nearly five years ago, and the Five Year Anniversary is going to be something special.  There are some really big, big plans in the works and the 5th Anniversary will be the BEST yet.  There is a great lineup of special guests, events, and other exciting details that I’ll be sharing on Milblogging.com over the next several weeks as I receive all the details.

What You Need To Know

Milblogging.com will be the official website of the Milblog Conference, so I’ll be communicating all the details here.  Bookmark this URL for the latest news and updates on the 2010 Milblog Conference.

When?   Friday, April 9, 2010 and Saturday April 10, 2010

Where?  The Westin Arlington Gateway,
801 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203

Want to Attend?  You'll be able to register online starting early January.  I’ll post the web address for registration as soon as it’s available.

What’s Going On? 

Registration will include:

Friday:

6:30PM - 7:45PM, Kickoff Panel

8:00PM - 11:00PM, Cocktail Reception (light fare)

Saturday:

9:00AM - 5:30PM, Conference (breakfast)

8:00PM - Midnight, Dinner and Party (full dinner plus drink tickets, keynote address, MILbloggie awards).

Twitter Hashtag:  #milblog

11/25/09

"Good Afternoon Sir/Maam,
My name is Bernice and your web page and the mission that you guys are doing is amazing. i am contacting you with a question and concern. my daughter just graduated highschool, she is 19 years old, graduated boot camp and from her school got shiped to afghanistan. she still has 12 more months in Kandahar Afghanistan. i was wondering if you could send her some letters filled with love, and also maybe a package or two here and there. this will be her 2nd time missing every single holiday because of the marine corps. this is her 2nd time eating at the chow hall for thanksgiving. and working during halloween. i miss her dearly and only talked to her twice since sees been deployed. the last time i talked to her their was a rocket atack over the phone. please add her to your list. thank you
her name and address is......"
LCpl mC., B.

11/17/09

About the 339 CAre Packages we mailed to the Army Reserve 

"I was in T/over the week-end. I saw the results of the boxes that were sent there. Soldiers were lending me their cards and sharing the goodies. From the looks of it, it was a very appreciated gift.

I thank you for them. It made them happy and surprised that someone was thinking of them."

Brian

 

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: FOUO

"Yes Ma'am. You can address to either one of us and they will be taken care of. Again, we appreciate all of your efforts as well as that of all your staff and volunteers efforts to make our holidays brighter."

S. W

CSM, USA   AF, Afghanistan

 

"You can mail me the packages and I'll make sure the  command get them and sends them out to the soldiers. Mail is pretty good here, but give me some lead time because mail can be slow in country. My address is: D..

Thank you,"

CH (CPT) D.

 

"Thank you Chaplain Y. and thank you Chaplain S. for

 taking care of my soldiers during this crucial time.  Feel free to contact me if

 you need anything on this end."

1LT K.MAED

"Denise,

Here is the name and email address for the chaplain in Afghanistan

who is supporting the soldiers from the 4 Battalion.

She is: Chaplain (Captain) D.. Her email is:

Chaplain S. will be able to help you with appropriate names

and mailing addresses to get those wonderful packages to the

soldiers from Utah."

v/r

CH T.

CH (LTC) T., Brigade Chaplain

 Iraq

 

09/16/09 From our Army Reserve Brigade we will be shipping Christmas care packages to this year: "Denise,

Chaplain is still in Kuwait doing some training. He will arrive in Iraq to set up shop towards the end of the month. (for the brigade)

I believe I know the teacher that you got the donation from. He was on several workshops that I have been on and he went to the Galapagos with me. You'll have to say Hi for me.

H LTC F.

From our Friend JP of Milblogging.com:  "Blogger D. Recalls Tragic Day She Learned Her Husband Cpt. R. was Injured (He later succumbed to his Injuries)

On October 28th 2009, D. recalled the day she learned her husband Captain R. was seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2008. Dena had started the blog shortly after he was injured to share the story of his fight to live, but sadly Captain  lost the fight and succumbed to his serious injuries. Over the last year, D.has kept up her blog, writing about her children and sharing personal stories and memories. < /FONT>

Read more here <http://milblogging.com/index.php?entry=entry091101-060145> .

Soldiers` Angels Valour-IT Fundraiser Kicks Off, Runs through Nov. 11: Raises money for technology that reconnects Wounded Warriors Read more here <http://milblogging.com/index.php?entry=entry091026-195823> .

Pediatric Surgeon and Military Blogger Dr. C. who Deployed to Iraq, Publishes Book: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq Dr. C., a Military surgeon and blogger who deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2007 has published a book.

Read more here <http://milblogging.com/index.php?entry=entry091101-095326> ."

 

09/15/09 if you've looked on the media board recently you've noticed a song by a Canadian soldier called "What A Soldier Left Behind" written and recorded by MCpl Elton Adams. You can read more about it down below but Mcpl A. has decided that every purchase of this song on ITUNES he will be giving to The Soldier On Program (Started by Soldiers for injured soldiers) so if you have Itunes do a search for "What A Soldier Left behind" and download it for $0.99 cents and help our wounded heroes.
 

From our friend JP founder of milblogging.com and cameraman of Bad Voodoos War:  "Capt. B.who blogged over at The Sandbox <http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox/> while he was deployed as an embedded trainer to Afghanistan has published a book. From the Amazon <http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Afghanistan-Send-More-Ammo/dp/0982525508> Book Description:

Working in teams of two, ETTs are tasked with training, lead ing in combat, and mentoring the Afghan Army to victory against the thriving and brutal Taliban insurgency. Writing and recording from a remote outpost, Benjamin Tupper`s boots-on-the-ground dispatches were broadcast on NPR and posted on Doonesbury`s milblog The Sandbox. Now he takes us inside the intricacies of the war, opening up a unique and multifaceted view of Afghan culture and war tactics. From the rush of gunfire to surreal, euphoric moments of cross-cultural understanding, this emotional and thought-provoking narrative is rich with humor, eloquence and contradiction. Writing of danger and desire, confusion and camaraderie, outrage and inspiration, Tupper illuminates the challenges of the war, vividly bringing to life both the mundane and the extraordinary and seeking a way forward. Readers will take away an understanding of the Afghan people, from soldiers to interpreters to villagers, that is critical to shaping our policies in what will soon be America`s longest w ar. His journey comes full circle; from direct involvement in fighting for Afghanistan`s future he is suddenly transported back home, haunted by dreams and enduring the travails of PTSD. Welcome to Afghanistan offers new insight into America`s eight-year mission, and takes readers to a place where our warriors need us to go.

A Navy SEAL father’s heartfelt ode to the special bond between fathers and sons, Never Far Apart is a poetic, visually-arresting children’s book that is bound to teach the hearts of its readers.

Told in lyrical narrative and awe-inspiring illustrations, this heartwarming story --- about Naval Officer’s thoughts and hopes for his son while he is at sea --- beautifully captures the sweet sorrow of the brave men and women serving in the American armed forces worldwide, many of whom have lost their parental rights as a result of their service to their country.

The prose of Lieutenant Gary and the spellbinding illustrations of Mike Motz eloquently combine to convey the message this work, which also contains a song the author wrote for his son, entitled "SS Rock-a-Bye". The author’s story (as well as the song he wrote for his son) has been the focus of websites nationwide. Additionally, FOX News ran the story with the song.

A story of separation, hope, and a parent’s undying love for his child, Never Far Apart is a doting father’s tribute to the magic of father-and-son relationships.

 

You can order a copy of Never Far Apart at this online bookstore:

ISBN13 (TP) : 978-1-4257-4983-5
ISBN13 (HB) : 978-1-4257-4986-6

From

 

Hello,

"My name is SPC S. and I am stationed at F.. I am currently with the ...Battalion that has just recently come back from Iraq. My MOS is Chaplain Assistant, which means that not only is it my job to take care of my Chaplain, but also my fellow soldiers. Since 40th has come back from Iraq, I've noticed the problems, mainly emotionally, that seems to plague the soldiers. The problems seem to be dealing with spouses,family members, and children, and in some cases even dealing with each other. So, I guess I'm writing you all because Independence Day is around the corner, and I was thinking what better time to show those soldiers some appreciation than on the 4th of July. So if you could help me out and also my Chaplain--he literally spends his entire workday counseling soldiers and spouses on everything from depression to suicide to infidelity...and believe it or not, that takes a toll on you after awhile. We would appreciate anything to show the soldiers that they are appreciated and that America does not forget the sacrifices they're making. If you would like to do anything then just reply back and I'll send you whatever information you need! Thank you so much for just reading this..."

Forgotten mourners: Soldiers' brothers, sisters
 

Posted: Sep 24, 2009 01:02 PM MDT

Updated: Sep 24, 2009 02:02 PM MDT

y KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press Writer

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The photo tells one story: brothers Chad and Ian Weikel, all smiles, arms around each other on Ian's wedding day. The tattoos now on Chad's forearms tell another - about his anguish over his brother's death in Iraq.

Words like "rage" ''alone," and "fury" are interwoven in the tattoos along with the likeness of Capt. Ian Weikel, a West Point graduate. Chad, 32, says his older brother's death in 2006 put him on a path that led to divorce and a decision to enlist in the Army Reserves. He recently moved from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Washington for a fresh start after a car crash kept him from starting basic training.

"It got pretty dark after all the services and all the family and friends stopped coming by," says Weikel. "We were very close. I miss him every day."

Weikel is one of the wars' forgotten mourners, the brothers and sisters of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike a parent or a spouse, they don't typically get the knock at the door notifying them of a sibling's death. At a time when they, too, are grieving, they find themselves doing the comforting, writing the thank you notes, mediating family disputes.

On Friday, about 100 siblings and their spouses are meeting in Las Vegas for a weekend retreat organized by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a Washington-based nonprofit that offers support to anyone who lost a loved one in the Armed Forces.

TAPS says there are thousands of surviving siblings from the recent wars. A majority are in their 20s or 30s - a time when many are starting careers and families.

There have been divorces and suicide attempts among siblings taking part in an online private support group facilitated by TAPS, says Ami Neiberger-Miller, 38, a spokeswoman for the organization. Her own brother, Army Spc. Christopher Neiberger, 22, of Gainesville, Fla., died in Iraq in 2007.

"Your spouse really joins you in life kind of late in life. ... Your parents will leave you late in your life, but you expect your siblings to be with you through all of this. You expect for them to be at your wedding. You expect for them to be with you when you bury your parents," Neiberger-Miller says. "You don't expect to be watching your family go through that."

In one case, Spc. Andrew Velez, 22, of Lubbock, Texas, took his life while serving in Afghanistan in 2006 two years after his brother, Spc. Jose A. Velez, 23, died in Iraq. Their sister, Monica Velez, 30, of Austin, Texas, says people fail to understand sibling grief.

"As a brother or sister, they feel like you're supposed to be over it," she says. "It's not understood that this is somebody you've had all your life. A lot of people don't understand that loss of companionship."

Like Chad Weikel, she participates in the online group, which has grown from just a few siblings who exchanged e-mails to more than 180. They say without their brother or sister they feel incomplete, often feel pressure to fill the sibling's shoes, and work to keep the family close.

Culturally in the United States, the death of a sibling isn't considered as significant as losing a child or spouse, and there are few resources available on adult sibling loss, says Darcie D. Sims, a psychologist who is helping with this weekend's retreat.

A surviving sibling's spouse or friends "may not realize the depth of your grief or understand why you're grieving so much," Sims says. Even when brothers or sisters weren't close it can be painful because the survivor is also grieving that problems weren't resolved, Sims says.

A common complaint among the siblings is that well-meaning people don't ask about them.

Karen Veater Walker, 31, of Old Forge, Pa., the oldest of six kids whose youngest brother, Marine Reserve Lance Cpl. Dennis Veater, 20, died in Iraq, says people frequently ask her about her parents, her brother's fiancee, or his son.

"Sometimes, this little piece of me wanted to yell out like, 'What about me? Are you going to ask how I'm doing?'" Walker said. Since her brother's death, another brother is coping with an addiction, and her family's relationship with her brother's fiance has become strained, leading to the loss of a bond with her young nephew.

"For some reason we just have some split we can't resolve, no matter how hard I try," Walker says. "You put so much energy into making sure everyone else is OK. I try to make sure I don't upset my parents, or I try to make sure that other people don't upset them. I try to make sure my remaining siblings are OK."

Kristen Norwood Hullum, 33, from Pflugerville, Texas, who is attending the retreat, struggles with guilt for not being with her brother, 25-year-old Marine Sgt. Byron Norwood, as he died - as she has been for strangers in her job as a nurse.

"It was not peaceful and beautiful. It was horrible and violent and he was alone. He had his Marines there with him, but I would've wanted to hold his hand to comfort him andjust to make sure he knew how much we all loved him," Hullum says.

Chad Weikel says he wanted to avenge his brother's death in 2006 and went to a military recruiter's office, but then decided it wasn't the right time to join. Once the dust settled, he says he started to feel a calling to join the military - a decision opposed by his family. Before he was to leave last year for basic training, he was in a serious car wreck that left him in a coma for a couple days and with broken ribs.

Meanwhile, his marriage crumbled.

"I definitely wasn't the husband I needed to be. I just wasn't around enough. I was around, but I wasn't present," Chad says. "So my wife looked elsewhere to get that attention and that's been a real devastating loss for me."

He says he's slowly worked through his pain and finds himself laughing again and feeling optimistic about the future. He's appealing a decision from the military disqualifying him for service because of the injuries from the car accident.

He points to the tattoos on his arms and explains that the emotional words in his tattoos are designed in a way that spells "Hope."

"Through all those emotions, I still have hope," he says."

_____

On the Net:

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: http://www.taps.org

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

"Iraq troops' PTSD rate as high as 35 percent, says Management Insights study

Double expected rate; Call to VA for treatment

The Veterans' Administration should expect a high volume of Iraq veterans seeking treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, with researchers anticipating that the rate among armed forces will be as high as 35%, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and management science. It appears in every issue of the monthly journal.

"A Dynamic Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among U.S. Troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom" is by Michael P. Atkinson of the Naval Postgraduate School and Adam Guetz and Lawrence M. Wein of Stanford University.

The tempo of deployment cycles in the Iraq War is higher than for any war since World War II, the authors write, and military survey data suggest that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among service members.

To assure ample mental health resources to care for returning troops, the authors argue that it is important for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to forecast the timing and number of new PTSD cases over the coming years, which is complicated by the fact that many cases have delayed onset.

The authors combine a dynamic mathematical operations research model with deployment data and PTSD data from the Iraq War, and estimate that the PTSD rate among Iraq War veterans will be approximately 35%, which is roughly double the rate from the raw survey data. This doubling is due to the time lag between the PTSD-generating event and the onset of symptoms and to the fact that many surveyed troops will do subsequent deployments.

Consequently, the authors write, the VA system, which is already experiencing significant delays for PTSD treatment provision, urgently needs to ramp up its mental health resource capacity.

The current issue of Management Insights is available at http://mansci.journal.informs.org/cgi/reprint/55/9/iv. The full papers associated with the Insights are available to Management Science subscribers. Individual papers can be purchased at http://institutions.informs.org. Additional issues of Management Insights can be accessed at http://www.informs.org/site/ManSci/index.php?c=11&kat=Management+Insights

07/29/09

"Hi!!!

This is SPC Smith, yet again. This time I'm just writing to say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for everything. Its been a long time coming, but I feel that you deserve appreciation for everything you've done, from setting up that website to shipping those letters. I did receive the letters. They been sorted, folded, and organized. Yesterday they were given to the 1SGs of the different companies, and from there they will be given to the soldiers. I can't thank you wonderful people enough. We really appreciate you and I'm sure as soon as the soldiers get those letters, they will appreciate them also."

 

                                                                                   

 

                                                         DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY    

                                                       

                                                           January 11, 2009

 

 

Denise  Of Letters To soldiers

 

 

Dear Denise,

 

We are writing you to thank you for your offering of support to us while we are here in Afghanistan serving in the military. Thank you for all of your long hours and many efforts to make this holiday special for us.  Thank you to all the supporters of your efforts.  Soldiers have thanked me for your kindness.  There were a number of soldiers whose only package for the holidays was the one you sent to them.  Because of you no one was forgotten.  Thank you for your support. Thank you for caring enough to do such a nice thing for us.  Thank you especially for your prayers.  We have been blessed by your faithfulness and we thank you.

 We were able to get a few pictures that we will send to you through e-mail.  The soldiers were very appreciative of the support from home and I was glad to be able to distribute the things out to them. It means so much to get something in the mail (Most of us are blessed to have e-mail, but nothing beats receiving something in the mail). Many of our soldiers are in remote locations without the possibility of going to the store or having many of the luxuries of home, so your kindness was especially significant to them.

 We should be returning home soon to our family and loved-ones, but we wanted to make sure that you know how grateful we are for you and how much your kindness helped us get through this experience.  We have received items from great Americans in many states Kentucky, California, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Hawaii just to name a few. We are honored to serve wonderful patriots like you. It makes our sacrifice so much more meaningful.  Thank you again. May God’s blessings always smile upon you.

 Sincerely,

Chaplain M

and The members of the National Guard Battalion

Task Force W.

07/10/09

"Well, we could use care packages, letters, etc.. Just looking for things to boost the morale of everyone. I myself am only a PFC. So I'm low on the totem pole. But, I do my best to make sure no one here is depressed etc.   I have my X-box 360 with a TV I got just for other people to play. Just to get their minds off everything. I am also the Computer guy. So I help everyone with pc problems etc.

There is 40 of us. 2 of them are females.

I do have a question. I was trying to look around for maybe a shoe company to sponsor us or something like that. Any idea on how ide go about this? Just about everyone here needs new running shoes. The stores here charge about $130 for a pair of $20 shoes. So not everyone can afford it. I thought it would be a neat thing if I could get a company to do that for us all. That would brighten every ones days."

"Dear Sir/Ma'am,

My name is PFC P.. I am currently in Afghanistan. The platoon I'm with, myself included have all been here for about three months. We are the  Engineers. We were brought here to help build part of Afghanistan up.

I was looking online and came across your site. Now I see that you all talk about soldiers in Iraq. I was just wondering if you did anything for soldiers in Afghan. To most of us, this will be our first deployment. I myself have only been in the ARMY for 9 months and here I am. No break to see the family at all.

So I thought it would be good for me to find a organization such as yourselves. Figured I'd give it a shot and see what happens.

"Thank You,  PFC  P.

06/25/09

"If you could send us 300 letters, then that would be great! You have no idea, how much I appreciate your help and your spirit! The address is the same. I realize its kind of late, but hopefully they will get here before the 4th. And just whatever you can send, is very much appreciated...whether its cards or letters...I dont want to be a strain on you or an inconvenience...I believe that God has made you and your organization a blessing to myself, my Chaplain, and the soldiers. Keep up the good work and He will add more blessings to you and your organization. I can't say enough about how thankful I am of your support!

God Bless!

SPC S."  "Wow...your dedication to these soldiers will not go unnoticed. I will pray over your organization and also let these soldiers know what a sacrifice you've made just to get the letters and cards to them. I honestly cant say this enough: THANK YOU!"

SPC S.

06/16/09 From one of the wives of National Guard we sent cards to in 08:

"Hello Denise,
 
Thank you for posting the link of ( http://www.soldierspromise.com) about help for PTSD on your website, I am hoping our troops will take advantage of this wonderful program. My husbands unit is actually gearing up for another deployment, this one to Afghanistan. We don't know exactly when this will take place, but no later than next May. I will keep you posted of any deployments I hear of. I love your program and the positive effect it has on our troops, keep up the good work! If you have extra binders I would love to put them to good use, let me know how to get in touch with you. Thank you for your support and your continued dedication to our service members.
 
Take Care,
K."
 

06/08/09 We might finally get help with shipping Thank you Aaron:

"Denise:

it is critical you contact me to initiate the logistics of your project. I also accept your offer to be your military advisor!
I am in kabul and need you to respond to me. our company is deeply interested in your cause. and, like i said - we DO AIR SERVICE IN IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN/AFRICA.

so, as a resident of Salt Lake (but living in kabul presently) I urge you to contact me to get this rolling."
 

06/15/09 From  Air Force in Iraq:

"I think Army gets it worse mentally than AF does, because they have to be over here for so long, and sometimes see some pretty bad stuff. Yeah we have a bunch of LDS guys from H.here, and we have church service every week. Actually I tought the lesson last week, and the Group Leader wants me to be Assistant Group Leader, so I'll be doing that until I leave I guess. If you want to send something out I'll give you my addy. I'm sure some of the guys would love to get stuff. That's really nice of you. Thanks Danny"

06/03/09 Thank you JP of milblogging.com with your 1000s of milbloggers and tweeters: "Just tweeted letters to soldiers and i'll regularly tweet at least once a week now to get the word out."

From our milblogger Bouhammer in Afghanistan about a hero:

Was He Pushing the Odds?-UPDATED

Posted: 22 Jul 2009 09:22 AM PDT

www.theledger.com/article/20090716/news/907169949

 

UPDATE- NEW PICTURE of SFC F. from Afghanistanmail

Did Sergeant First Class F. push the odds? Did he do more than his part?

F was killed in Afghanistan last week on his fourth combat tour of duty. Four times this man, this soldier, this father, this husband, this son, this leader has walked into the gates of hell and even though he has walked out of it three times before, this time he didn’t.

This time the son of a retired Marine Master Sergeant and a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant was not so lucky. He had three tours in Iraq and was on this fourth tour this time in Afghanistan when his patrol was ambushed.

I look at soldiers who have never done a combat tour, but whom are eligible for one and those that only have one tour and then I look at a soldier like Jason who was on a fourth tour. Did he push it too far? Did he do more than his part? Either way I think he is a hell of a man and an American for serving and doing one combat tour, much less four.

Last week the SecDef stated that the thinks America is tired of war and the soldiers are tired and can’t keep going. I ask the SecDef to look at men like Jason Fabrizi and tell me if he was tired? I don’t think so, I think he was an American, an American that knew freedom has a price and that price is being away from family and home a lot. Sometimes it has the ultimate price, which Jason has now paid.

The next time you see or hear of a conscious objector or see a code pinko or some other person who has never walked in the boots of a soldier and says we have no reason to be in Afghanistan, don’t just remind them of the images of 9/11/01, but show them the image of this man and those like him and tell them he was there because they were too much of a chicken*** to raise their hand and be there themselves.

The bottom line is that he is making up for the many that refuse to serve in the military or worse yet, refuse to deploy.

bilde

God Speed Jason, I hope your family and your kids know that your service and your sacrifice is not lost on deaf ears. We are a better place and our country is a leader in the world because of great men like you.

 

05/29/09"


OldBlue reviews AT WAR

Posted: 28 May 2009 06:43 AM PDT

My good friend, fellow NCO, fellow Afghan vet, and fellow blogger has now sat down and watched AT WAR and taken the time to write his review. I encourage you to head over to his site to read his take on this awesome movie portraying life on the ground in Afghanistan.

 

It wasn’t a single moment that took me there. It was the entirety of it. There was so much of my experience in it. Scott Kesterson and his collaborators have captured the unique experience of what it was like to be there, especially as an ETT or PMT. The only thing missing was the gritty taste of the Afghan dust and the distinct smell of cooking fires in the villages.

 

billandbobsadventure.blogspot.com/2009/05/at-war-stunning.html   Afghan&Military Blog

04/27/09 "

The Sack Lunches
 I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned
seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to
read Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.
 Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the ais le and filled
all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a
conversation.  'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to
me.'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then
we're being deployed to Afghanistan
 After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack
lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours
before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help
pass the time..
 As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he
planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a
sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to
base '
 His friend agreed...
 I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buyin g lunch. I walked
to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar
bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed
tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier
in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'
 Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were
seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef
or chicken?'
 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to
th e front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from
first class. 'This is your thanks.'
 After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading
for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be
part of it. Here, take this..' He handed me twenty-five dollars.
 Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down
the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not
looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my
side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out
his hand, an said, 'I want to shake your hand.'
 Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand.
With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military
pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch.. It was an ac t of kindness I
never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the
passengers.
 Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A
man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand,
wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
 When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting
just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in
my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another
twenty-five dollars!
 Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip
to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars.
'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for
a sandwich. God Bless You.'
 Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their
fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer
for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our
country. I could only give them a couple of meals.
 It seemed so little...
 A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check
made payable to 'America for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no
longer understand it.'"

04/15/09 Just got back from setting up/tearing  and running down our booth for 4 hours for the troops where we collected 20 volunteers' contact info, our director spoke on stage about supporting our troops and "protecting our freedoms at home while our military sacrifice their lives overseas,"

04/13/09 From our Medical team we ship packages to in Iraq:

April 13, 2009 at 1:29pm

The remains of five army soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq arrived at D. base Sunday evening as families looked on.  The five soldiers were killed Friday when a suicide bomber driving a truck detonated a ton of explosives near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul.  The attack was the deadliest against U.S. troops in more than a year. ( Doc's MRAP with his medical team was scheduled to drive there off base at 10am and was postponed or he could have been in the Mrap that was blown up. Read in  my friend, Doc's own words Sunday to his family and I: "..  a few days ago, as another group of US soldiers lost their lives defending freedom in this land. We were scheduled to go out on mission at 1000, but had to postpone it to 1100 because of projects that needed finished. Just after 1000, as I was walking back from the Hospital where I was working on a project of my own, there was a very large and loud explosion just to the north of us.
Reports said that a dump truck had made it onto one of the roads we use to exit the Base and drove into a wall
around some Iraqi barracks. The explosion destroyed several buildings and vehicles nearby as well as a MRAP
that was headed out on a mission. If we had not postponed our mission, that could very well have been our MRAP's
that were rolling by at the wrong time. Many on the team have begun to get spooked as the insurgents have
increased the power of their attacks." Help me send them our support and prayers for their safety!!

April 13th, 2009 From our friends on the frontlines:

"If you have a Twitter micro blog (like myself) and you regularly chat about military matters on Twitter, feel free to submit your Military Twitter micro blog to the Milblogging.com index.  This is a quick and easy way to receive free ta rgeted traffic/followers back to your Twitter account.

Several weeks ago we ran a poll asking respondents if we should accept Twitter Micro blogs, and the answer was: Yes. 

At present, we have over 2,000 military blogs indexed on Milblogging.com, and now we’ll be indexing all of the Military Twitter micro blogs from the frontlines and the home front.  Whether you are a military spouse, military veteran, active duty, embedded reporter, a military parent or any one of the eligible branches listed here – you can now submit your Twitter micro blog to our index.

There are no major changes between submitting a regular military blog or a Twitter micro blog.  The only format change is that for Military Twitter micro blogs, please enter the “Title” as your Twitter name such a s @Milblogging. 

By indexing Twitter micro blogs, this will allow our visitors to easily discover other Military Tweeters who tweet from the frontlines (such as @DeployedTeacher & @Scott_Kesterson) and the homefront, and increase traffic/followers to your own Twitter account. 

If you have any questions, please send an email to milblogging@gmail.com "
 

 04/09/09 From a soldier and milblogger in Afghanistan:

"The words below are from the Song Home Again, off of the new Queensryche album, American Soldier. Every time I hear this song I get a lump in my throat and have to fight back the tears. It truly speaks to my soul and reminds me of the way I felt many times."

 

It’s harder than I thought,
to be so far away.
So I thought I’d write this letter to you and explain.
For me it wasn’t easy to raise the flag and leave.
But I thought that you should know how
much you mean to me.

I won’t be there to see you dance and hear
you sing the songs we love.
So please be strong and it won’t be long till
I’m home again.
You know you make me proud
because you’re the one that I depend upon.
And when I return, I promise,
I’ll never leave you alone again.

It’s harder than I thought and you’re so far away.
so I thought I’d write this letter to you and explain.
It was only a moment.
I turned my head to wipe my eyes and
when I looked again I saw your smile that
said goodbye.

Mama says don’t worry,
because Daddy’s brave and he’s coming
home. But if I could change one thing,
I’d never let you go.

I want you here to see me dance and sing
along to the songs we love.
So I’ll be strong. It won’t be long till you’re
home again with me.

When it feels too much to take,
I want you to know that I’m thinking about
you, making plans for when I’m home.

Why aren’t you here?
I wake up every night.
I check the front porch light,
making sure it’s shining bright.

And I’ll be there to shine the light
So you can find your way to me.
I’m feeling strong, but don’t take too long.
Please come home to me.

I’ll be there to see you dance and hear you
sing the songs I love.
It won’t be long.
It won’t be long till I’m home again!

Why aren’t you here?
I’m coming home!

From: Milblogging.com Webmaster [mailto:milblogging@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 6:27 AM
To: Letters To Soldiers
Subject: Re: Honoring a Fallen Soldier and Avid Writer and Military Blogger, Sgt. Christopher P. Abeyta

 "Hi Denise

How can I help?"

JP

"Hey Denise

I'll get something posted late this week...

(Will put it) on Milblogging.com (and) hopefully other influencers will pick up your story.

I'll also send it out via my Newsletter of 5,000 strong subscribers and I'll tweet about it to nearly 3,000.

Thanks for all the kind words and more importantly thanks for everything you're doing.

Cheers!"
JP

In loving memory for our Honorable Heroes:

On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 11:04 PM, Letters to Soldiers <info@letterstosoldiers.net> wrote:

"I am so sorry and though I did not know these great men, I cry each time we
lose one of our brave heroes.  JP, I would love to have you help me find out who
to send letters and cards from kids all over US to our soldiers. Can you do
that? Thank you Denise www.letterstosoldiers.org"

From: Milblogging.com Webmaster [mailto:milblogging@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 6:10 PM
To: info@letterstosoldiers.org
Subject: Honoring a Fallen Soldier and Avid Writer and Military Blogger,
Sgt. C.

March 23rd, 2009

"Sgt. C. 23, of Midlothian, Illinois, was killed last
week while serving in Afghanistan.  Sgt. A. and two other soldiers who
were with him, Sgt. R. and Spc. N., were also
killed when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by an IED.

Sgt. A. ran a military blog from Afghanistan called The Chronicles of
Butters! <http://ironmansplace.blogspot.com/>   and according to a news
story Sgt. Ab. had kept a journal since he was 11-years old..."

Jacob Poehls overcoming learning disability by writing to Marine in Iraq

Video

 

  Marine: ‘Proud’ of young pen pal
Feb. 12: Jacob Poehls overcame severe learning disabilities with the help of his mom and a Marine pen pal. TODAY’s Meredith Vieira talks to Jacob, his mother, Nora Hall, and U.S. Marine Balthazar Pineda.

Today show

  Black History Month

 

By Mike Celizic

"TODAYShow.com contributor

updated 9:05 a.m. MT, Thurs., Feb. 12, 2009

The 8-year-old boy had never been to New York City before, and he looked as if he wasn’t sure why he was sitting in a television studio with his mom talking to a nice lady who wanted to know about his Marine pen pal in Iraq.

So Jacob Poehls let his mom, Nora Hall, do the talking while he sat quietly wearing the camo hat and scarf Sgt. Balthazar Pineda had sent him from Iraq. Hall was telling TODAY’s Meredith Vieira that her special needs son had slept with the scarf and hat for a week after he got them, and described how little use for reading and writing Jacob had had before his correspondence with Pineda began.

But once Jacob, who loves all things military, had Pineda in his life, he leaped into the world of the written word, because that was the only way he could communicate with the gunnery sergeant who was serving his country in Iraq. Changing his life
Having a Marine pen pal changed Jacob’s life “in more ways than I could ever have expected,” Hall told Vieira. “It gave him confidence besides a reason to want to write and read.”

In a few months, Pineda, who lives in California and has two girls of his own, will be returning to the states. In their correspondence he had promised to come to Colorado to meet Jacob.

Vieira asked Jacob when he expected to meet Pineda. “A couple months,” Jacob said.

“How about today?” Vieira said.

Jacob said nothing, but nodded his head to indicate that would be fine with him. And then, as if by magic, there was Pineda on the studio TV monitor talking to Jacob via satellite from Al Asad Airfield in Iraq.

“I’d just like to tell Jacob, I’ve heard about all his hard work from his mom, and [to] tell him I’m really proud of everything he’s been doing,” Pineda said as Jacob watched in fascination.

Vieira asked Jacob if he’d like to say something to the sergeant. The boy hesitated and finally said, “I really, really, really love him.”

“I love you too, buddy,” Pineda replied with a big grin."

Getting mail from home is a major morale boost for troops serving overseas. Vieira said that some 25 percent of soldiers don’t get any mail. A Web site, www.adoptaussoldier.org, has been established to connect Americans to soldiers as pen pals.

A new world opens
Last August, at her wit’s end over how to get Jacob interested in his schoolwork, Hall had called a recruiting office in Fort Carson, near their home in Colorado. She told the officer about her son’s deep love of the military, and the officer suggested she go the Web site and get Jacob a pen pal.

TODAY

Jacob Poehls struggled with reading and writing due to learning disabilities.


 

Excited at the thought of having a real Marine as a friend, Jacob worked hard to compose a letter talking about his interests in gym, lunch and recess. Pineda sent Jacob the camo hat and scarf and told the boy in a letter that gym and recess were fun, but reading and math were important, especially for a Marine.

Hall said that Jacob literally ripped the package open when it arrived. From that moment on, reading and writing were no longer chores to be avoided. They were a gateway to his friend.

Jacob took the scarf and hat to school, and soon his entire class — and then all of Summit Elementary School — began adopting soldiers as pen pals. The school collected stuffed animals and sent them to soldiers to give to Iraqi children, and when a TODAY show camera crew visited the school earlier this week, the school was busy making valentines to send to the troops.

 

TODAY

Gunnery Sgt. Balthazar Pineda, a U.S. Marine, surprised his young buddy Jacob Poehls by speaking to him from Iraq.


 

“For us Marines out here, it means a lot,” Pineda said. “It means that there’s people in the United States who still care about their Marines and are thinking about us during this whole Iraq and Afghanistan war.”

Jacob was too shocked at actually seeing and hearing Pineda to say anything else. But his mother had one more thing to tell Pineda.
“I want to thank you, sir,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I’m honored to be able to tell you how much you mean to us and my son.”

 

A new world opens
Last August, at her wit’s end over how to get Jacob interested in his schoolwork, Hall had called a recruiting office in Fort Carson, near their home in Colorado. She told the officer about her son’s deep love of the military, and the officer suggested she go the Web site and get Jacob a pen pal.

 

TODAY

Jacob Poehls struggled with reading and writing due to learning disabilities.


 

Excited at the thought of having a real Marine as a friend, Jacob worked hard to compose a letter talking about his interests in gym, lunch and recess. Pineda sent Jacob the camo hat and scarf and told the boy in a letter that gym and recess were fun, but reading and math were important, especially for a Marine.

Hall said that Jacob literally ripped the package open when it arrived. From that moment on, reading and writing were no longer chores to be avoided. They were a gateway to his friend.

Jacob took the scarf and hat to school, and soon his entire class — and then all of Summit Elementary School — began adopting soldiers as pen pals. The school collected stuffed animals and sent them to soldiers to give to Iraqi children, and when a TODAY show camera crew visited the school earlier this week, the school was busy making valentines to send to the troops.

“For us Marines out here, it means a lot,” Pineda said. “It means that there’s people in the United States who still care about their Marines and are thinking about us during this whole Iraq and Afghanistan war.”

Jacob was too shocked at actually seeing and hearing Pineda to say anything else. But his mother had one more thing to tell Pineda.
“I want to thank you, sir,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I’m honored to be able to tell you how much you mean to us and my son.”

_____________________________

"January 11, 2009

 Dear Denise,

 We are writing you to thank you for your offering of support to us while we are here in Afghanistan serving in the military. Thank you for all of your long hours and many efforts to make this holiday special for us.  Thank you to all the supporters of your efforts.  Soldiers have thanked me for your kindness.  There were a number of soldiers whose only package for the holidays was the one you sent to them.  Because of you no one was forgotten.  Thank you for your support. Thank you for caring enough to do such a nice thing for us.  Thank you especially for your prayers.  We have been blessed by your faithfulness and we thank you.

 We were able to get a few pictures that we will send to you through e-mail.  The soldiers were very appreciative of the support from home and I was glad to be able to distribute the things out to them. It means so much to get something in the mail (Most of us are blessed to have e-mail, but nothing beats receiving something in the mail). Many of our soldiers are in remote locations without the possibility of going to the store or having many of the luxuries of home, so your kindness was especially significant to them.

 We should be returning home soon to our family and loved-ones, but we wanted to make sure that you know how grateful we are for you and how much your kindness helped us get through this experience. We are honored to serve wonderful patriots like you. It makes our sacrifice so much more meaningful.  Thank you again. May God’s blessings always smile upon you.

 Sincerely,

 Chaplain M. and The members of the National Guard Battalion

Task Force W.

I am trying to get the photos from our photographer to send to you.  You

are awesome!  Thank you so much for your support.  May you have many

great success in this new year.

 Sincerely,"

 Chaplain M.

 

12/28/08 From NG Public Affairs Unit in Iraq: Letters mailed to us:  Click their picture to see all the pictures they took with disposable cameras WalMart donated

Dear Denise                                                                                          Dec. 9, 2008

 

You don’t know me but I have been blessed at your hand as a Soldier in Iraq.  My name is Sgt. W.  I know, I know, it looks like a fraud, but that is really my name and I am a 26 yr old male originally from P..  I’m really good friends with your buddy D. and he gave me one of the many care packages you sent just recently.  So I had a little time to stop and say thank you, because that care package was the best care package I’ve received.  You could just tell that everything was well thought out and carefully prepared for someone you didn’t even know, so thank you for your thoughts, your time, your heart and not to mention the money and effort that went into these care packages.  I have told my parents not to send me anything because I have everything I need, I even went as far as to not give them my address, but you know, it’s good to get something every once in a while.  So thanks for making me feel special and that there are people back who actually take the time to think of us out here, it’s actually quite gratifying.  This Christmas ill be the first I’ve spent away from wife and kids and every little bit helps, but you gve a “big” bit, holy cow!!!  As I was going through the box, I couldn’t believe the stuff I was pulling out!!!  That A Capella CD is freaken awesome!  I haven’t listened to the other CDs yet as I just got the package last night.  Thanks Again!  Things here are steadily progressing and elections are coming up in January.  Iraq is slowly gaining the ability to become a sovereign nation and is taking the necessary “slow” steps.  We’ve been kept safe out here and I believe it will continue.  Thanks again and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Sincerely,

W.SPC Ni.  National Guard

 

                                                                                               December 8, 2008

  

Dear Denise,  What a wonderful care package!  SC Y. shared the boxes you sent and I absolutely loved the one I got – cute stocking, wonderful music, a copy of The Christmas Box (love that story), adorable handmade cads from elementary school kids and plenty more.  Although, I have to confess my favorite was the package of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.  I didn’t like the change to the recipe from the last year so I was excited to see the old style again.

 We’re getting close to the end of this deployment, but I’s a strange feeling.  It’s close enough now to start planning for it; but, still far enough away to be unreal sometimes.  Friendly care packages from home are the best way to keep our spirits up and remind us what’s waiting for us when we get back.  Not just family and loves, but a whole community of people with open arms and hearts.  Thank you from the bottom of mine.

Sincerely,

 

                                                                        Ni.

Letters to Soldiers

Attn:  Denise D...9 December 2008

 

Dear Ms. D... (reponse to your Christmas care packages dated 2008,12 01).

First off let me convey my utmost and heartfelt thanks to you and everyone else who participates in “Letters to Soldiers” for your efforts in putting the care packages together for me an dmy crew; they are wonderful and the kids who made the cards are artists in bloom! J

 

As you may or may not know I have been in the military for nearly 8 years now and am serving my second tour here in Iraq.  I am currently serving with the  and we are attached to the Public Affairs  and Multi-National Division  ( out of Fort Hood, Texas and Carson, Colorado).

 

We are military journalists who tell the Army’s Story, be it in print, photograph or video.  Our job is to cover our troops and paint the ‘real’ picture, which sadly most of the media back home seems afraid to convey.  In any case, we enjoy this job; covering our fellow servicemembers, especially because of those who’ve laid down their lives in defense of our nation and its liberties.

 

Well my friend I surmise that this is satisfactory for now.  I wish I could type an infinite amount of meaningful lines, but even as a journalist; I don’t always know what to say.  Christmas is not far off now and after that there are only 2 major holidays left until I am back home! J

 

In the meantime, please take this as an open invitation for you and any “Letters to Soldiers” participants and friends to write to me.  I will always write you in return.  While it is very faint, the light at the end of this tunnel has finally come into view.  Here’s to hoping it keeps on coming quickly.

My Thanks and God Bless you all,

Spc. D.

 

PS Although you live in Orem are you still going to cheer for my beloved Utes against Alabama? GO UTES!  The Concert DVD

 was Great!

Our 1,000 packages for the Marines arrived and Chaplain Harding drove them all over: Click pictures below to see

rest of pictures:

"Denise-

Here are some photos. There will be a couple of more emails with photos. Marines were touched by the gifts. Thanks again for putting this together. I know it must have been a stressful undertaking.

In addition to supporting military organizations do you do other things?

Blessings,

Brandon

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Over the past few days we have received all of the (1,000) packages. I will have to pass many of them out prior to Christmas or they will not all get out. My unit is not all at the same location and I don't have my own transportation assets to take them to all of the guys on Christmas  Day. Also, I will probably take most of the photos with my digital camera and email you a link to a photo album where you can down load them. We will definitely get you some.

Thanks for all of the effort you put into this. I know the Marines will appreciate it.

Blessings,"

Brandon

Chaplain B. (1,000 Marines)

From Aeromedical Hospital in Kuwait:  A1C L.

"Denise,

 I think we’ve gotten all 100 packages now. Wow! Thank you! We’ve been wrapping them up and putting them on the beds to greet the patients as they arrive. We also have a few under the Christmas tree. We’re not doing great with taking pictures of them opening the boxes, but we’ll try to do better and send you what we can. Just wanted to say THANK YOU!!

 -Logan"

From an ARMY wife:

".and I have already listened to the music and it made me cry..I thank god everyday that we have people like you who make such a difference in our lives..The men of pathfinder company will be very happy..If I may can I have my husband send me pictures to e-mail  to you? Maybe you could post them on your site…I will let everyone know about this site, I have many friends with husbands deployed in different units!

 Thank you again,"

M.

"I AM SIGNING UP ON THE BEHALF OF MY SQUAD. FOR 6 OF MY SOLDIERS THIS IS THERE FIRST DEPLOYMENT FOR ME IT IS MY 2ND. I AM JUST TRYING TO MAKE THEM FEEL AT EASE AND LET THEM KNOW PEOPLE DO CARE ABOUT WHAT WE DO. BASICALLY JUST LOOKING FOR A LITTLE HELP TO MAKE THIS 15 MONTHS EASIER ON THEM. WE ARE FROM FT. HOOD TX. WE ARE SERVING IN IRAQ. ALL YOUR HELP WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND DEDICATION... SGT B."

A soldier in Iraq can't see your ribbon,
Or the flag at your front door.
But a letter they hold in their hands,
To them means so much more.

 


10/05/08"

OH I am so thrilled. Please have them write to info@letterstosoldiers.org and we will forward to those who wrote them.  I also have a SSG friend Jeffrey P. in Active Duty Army in San Diego working at a wounded warrior hospital who has asked me to come down to meet his commanders and the soldiers to share my program with them and get them lots of letters too.  I am so honored to do anything I can to help Americans show their love and appreciation to all these heroes. I will send you more as I receive them.  Thank you so much for writing back. I know this work is very important. I also plan on sending some special packages for Christmas around Dec. 1st if you can tell me how many wounded warrior heroes you have then. Thank you for allowing me to do this.

 DD Letters to Soldiers

-----Original Message-----
From: logan.
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 2:41 PM
To: Letters to Soldiers
Subject: RE: CASF

 Got your package today, and we're distributing the letters now. We also

have a guy here who's been giving the contact info for the emails so

some of the people will receive responses to the letters =)

 Thanks again!

-Logan

-----Original Message-----

From: Letters to Soldiers Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 11:38 PM

To: L.

Subject: RE:  CASF

 I will get a package out asap for the wounded in your facility too, I

love sending them the special cards we get from children.  This is very

exciting for us to help in this effort. Also remember when you do move,

to pass on the batton to the next unit in charge so all injured get our

cards and letters nonstop. 

 Thanks for looking into the military shipping if possible. My friend is

a Navy doctor in MD and he can help too. T hansk D. -----Original

Message-----

From: l.r

Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 1:14 PM

To: info@letterstosoldiers.org

Subject:  CASF

 "To whom it may concern:

 I was wondering if I could register the facility I'm working at to

receive letters and other support items. We are the  Contingency

Aeromedical Staging Facility located at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

We receive patients that have been medically evacuated from different

parts of Iraq, some battle injuries, but lots of other issues too. I

used to work at the CASF in Germany, which had a USO in the facility.

The USO provided lots of support type letters, posters, artwork, etc.

The CASF here in Kuwait doesn't have much of that, and I am in contact

with the USO and other organizations to help boost the morale of the

sick and injured troops on their way home. Is there a way we can

register the entire facility? Thanks for your time and support.

 Respectfully,"

 -A1C L.

09/25/08  "I was wondering if I could register the facility I'm working at to receive letters and other support items. We are the  Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility located at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

We receive patients that have been medically evacuated from different parts of Iraq, some battle injuries, but lots of other issues too. I used to work at the CASF in Germany, which had a USO in the facility.

The USO provided lots of support type letters, posters, artwork, etc.

We seem to have a pretty decent supply of hygeine items for the patients, but letters and other morale boosters, maybe something to hang on the wall would be great. We probably see 20 inpatients over the course of a week.

The CASF here in Kuwait doesn't have much of that, and I am in contact with the USO and other organizations to help boost the morale of the sick and injured troops on their way home. Is there a way we can register the entire facility? Thanks for your time and support.

Respectfully,

-A1C L."

09/21/08  "  I am thankful for the people out there like you. I received 1 package from family and friends. I could not begin to count the letters and packages I received from those I did not know. It is unreal the support I received from the great people in this country. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT TO THE MILITARY PERSONNEL."  Marine leftydesperado

09/05/08  "Our 4-H group will be starting their annual Community Service soon and I feel very strongly about getting these young girls and boys involved in writing letters to our service men and women. I need an address to where I can send these letter in bulk. Depending on the number of our group this year depends on the number of letter to be divided. If I get sufficient participation, I feel 3 letters per package will be coming your way soonest. Being Retired Air Force I know the importance a single letter can be, greater the importance to get these shipped quickly for the holiday season.

V/r,"  Lyle W. Hi.  Human Resources Assistant (Military) 30 FSS/FSDE

Vandenberg AFB, CA 93437

09/02/08 Read about PTSD study at BYU

Soldier's Iraqi Puppy Arrives in US, Tail Wagging By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
Associated Press Writer

 
"CHANTILLY, Va. -- A black puppy decked out in a red, white and blue bandanna jumped out of his crate and wagged his tail at the airport Monday, three flights and two days after leaving Iraq en route to his new home with a U.S. soldier.

 

Army Spc. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis says she couldn't have made it through her 13-month deployment without Ratchet, who she and another soldier rescued from a burning pile of trash in May. Ratchet, wearing a dog-bone-shaped collar with its name, will spend two nights in a kennel before flying to Minneapolis, where Beberg's parents will pick him up. Beberg is scheduled to return home next month.

"I'm very excited that Ratchet will be waiting for me when I get home from Iraq! Words can't describe it," Beberg said in an e-mail to friends and family. "I hope that Ratchet's story will inspire people to continue the efforts to bring more service members' animals home from Iraq and Afghanistan."

The dog was rescued by Baghdad Pups, run by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International. The group, which has now brought 63 animals to the U.S., says the effort both saves dogs and cats and helps soldiers who benefit from the bond with the animals.

The military bars troops from caring for pets while on duty or taking them home, citing reasons such as health issues and difficulties in caring for the animals. The military didn't prevent Ratchet from leaving but said it wouldn't be responsible for transportation.

Baghdad Pups coordinator Terri Crisp, who brought the puppy back from Iraq, said animals adopted by soldiers help them get through difficult times.

"I hope Ratchet and his story will lead to some dialogue with the military," Crisp said as she stroked the puppy.

Ratchet flew on a charter flight to Kuwait, then flew commercial from Kuwait to Amsterdam and on to Washington. Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines picked up the cost of the last two legs.

Ratchet frolicked on a grassy patch outside the airport before heading off to Clocktower Animal Hospital in Herndon, Va., for a checkup and some shots.

"Your tail's wagging!" said Dr. Chris Carskaddan, the veterinarian, as he greeted the dog. "So cute."

Ratchet didn't bark at all, but let out a whimper during the shots. Afterward, Carskaddan declared the dog "extremely healthy."

------

Ratchet petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clemency-for-ratchet

Baghdad Pups site: http://www.baghdadpups.com

 

08/20/08 "Thank you for what you do. I know some soldiers are stuck in situations where they don't get access to phones or email, so letters do really pick up their spirits. Thank you again"  Soldier

07/22/08From Airman in Iraq we send letters to that needs our help collecting supplies:re: shipping 11 pallets of Tahitian Noni Chews and Neways Personal CAre products to Iraq: "i'm not sure if they would make it here fast enough, but please let me know all the information such as your contact number, what exactly is in the pallets, and how close you are to what air force base.  i have talked to the chaplain here, and they requested that information and for me to forward them the information and how to contact you.  they would love to have all the donations, but we have to consider things like getting them here in time and such.  it is a great idea either way, and i really hope that we can take the pallets.  steven " (Air Force Airman in Iraq in pictures)"

"More comments from Steven about his visit to a Clinic in Iraq:
 
so today i went and visited the CMOC, it's the Civil Military Opererations Clinic.  it's where the iraqi's come on base to get help with check ups and medical supplies.  i think that it was pretty satisfying for me.  i actually enjoyed going over there and i've asked to be invited to anything that happens for something similar.  i took some of the boxes that were sent to me to give, but i didn't take all of them.  mostly i took the diapers and the formula for now.  i wanted to leave some stuff for other people to take over there so that everybody can get that same feeling of how important it really is for us to be here.  doing my normal everyday job just doesn't always seem important to me, or a lot of the other guys and girls that i work with.  but after going here and seeing first hand some of the difference that we are making, just by giving simple supplies to the families here, helped a lot.  it's good for everybody to see first hand what we can do if we all get together and donate, whether it's time and efforts, or supplies and donations through the mail.  i wasn't allowed to take a lot of pictures, but i did get a few and i posted them on myspace.  all the good pictures are in my head though, and anytime you guys want to talk about some of the fun stuff i did get to see, just write me a message or im me sometime.  i enjoyed it, and i hope to do it again."

 

07/14/08From a Brigade in Iraq needing supplies from home:

"Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

Letters to Soldiers Personnel,

My unit 41st Fires BDE) is currently deployed at FOB D., Iraq.

We're located in a rather remote area. It's in the W., by A.. There are very few places for Soldiers to hang out or purchase items from. All that we have is a small PX (about the size of a 20ft trailer), a Green Bean Coffee (just opened last month), a barber shop (opened last month), a MWR (not in the greatest care due to other Coalition Forces), and a gym.

I was wondering if our unit could be on your care package list? We have two battalions that are here and the brigade headquarters equally about 300-400 Soldiers.

V/R

1LT Teresa M."

We will be honored to start shipping letters, cards and we are looking for a "Base to Base contact here in Utah like Hill Air Force Base to ship 11 pallets of delicious Tahitian Noni Soft Chews and many pallets of natural personal care products donated also by NEWAYS here in Utah. We are working  to get the contacts to s hip base to base?

Will get cards and letters we currently have received. What is the total number of letters you can pass out? We have 800.

07/13/08

"Could you please tell me who ide contact-to ask if anyone would help in donating a X-Box 360 and games to some of our troops in Iraq-Ive had a few soldgers contact me saying it would be great to have one-Any help would be great

Thank YouJohn B. Mechanic Street"

07/08/08

"My son, SrA Steven F. is currently serving at S.A.Base in Baghdad. He is Active Duty Air Force. Steven is my oldest and only son and I miss him terribly! Steven has made a point to make sure that all the guys in his tent (6) are receiving letters and packages so that they know just how awesome we think they are. He has gotten quite a few letters from Letters to Soldiers and told me that when they come in, he and the other guys sit around and read them together. They answer what they can, but mainly just smile because they know others care.

 Steven has also started taking voluntary donations to help the Civilian Military Operated Clinic (CMOC) which is a volunteer run women and childrens hospital run for the families of the Iraqi civilians that have chosen to work on base.

 These guys are working in the sun and sand in horrible heat day in and day out. He sends me pictures of the sandstorms and tornadoes that they are exposed to constantly. They stay in full uniform (all long sleeve) and at night it is still 120 degrees in their tent. I have made it my goal to let all of these folks know that we support them by asking everyone I know to send a card, letter, or even a picture and it only costs a stamp to make our soldiers smile. My family and friends have been sending the letters to Steven and he passes them out, not only to the guys in his tent, but others that he knows aren't getting support.

I have the names and address of the guys in Steven's tent and can also give you Steven's email if you would like to contact him directly. I'm very proud to say that my son is protecting our country and if you decide to send those letters and care packs his way, you would not be disappointed. If you decide to send them elsewhere, that is perfectly understandable. If you have any extra letters though, I know it would bring a smile to the guys at Sather.

 Sincerely,

Jeanette proud mom of SrA Steven F.

John C.
Anthony L.
David H.
Landon S.
Steven B.
Steven F.
 
 
they all have the same address and Steven's email is...  They have a time allotment daily that they are allowed to check their email.
 Yes, it is true that shipping base to base is free. If you have an opportunity to ship from a base in Utah, they can ship it military and it won't cost anything.
 
J.
 
Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth...AMEN..!! "

06/26/08 Please come vote and help an injured soldier and his family win a home makeover:  http://www.americahometoday.com/homemakeover/stories.php?page=&direction=&aht_hm%5Bsort%5D=rating

Soldier family


 

Redmond Family Our Story


 
 
"The Redmond's spend most of their time helping others. 

 Kendall is a soldier that has just finished serving a year in Iraq.  Just before he was to return home in May with his unit, he was in a car accident that left him with some brain trauma.  Now he is waiting for an unknown time in Texas before the doctors will release him to come home. He is a security officer at UVSC when he is home. 

Sarah is a stay at home mom of four kids.  She spends extra ( ha ha) time helping the kids teachers at school and is also a Scout Leader in our community.  She is always volunteering to make meals for others in need and she helped me personally clean my home when I was moving to a new one and watch my kids while I was cleaning it too.

They have three boys from age 10 to 4 and a daughter that is not quite 2 who hardly even knows her dad because he has been serving our country most of her life. 

They live in a home built in the 1800's.  It is made of adobe brick and there have been several additions put on in the past.  It is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. They use space heaters to keep the kids rooms warm.   The kitchen is tiny and there is not really a place for the family to eat dinner together. 

I have never heard them complain.  Sarah always has a smile for everyone and she is constantly on the look out for someone else to help.  They are such a benefit in our community and a blessing to any lives they touch.  I would love for this family to be touched and blessed for all they do for others. "

 

05/26/08 From mom of soldier:

 
"These brought tears to my eyes! Steven and his buddies will LOVE to hear that their efforts are appreciated! Thank you for letting me read the emails you sent to them from Americans.
 
Sincerely,
J.."
 

05/23/08

"Hi everyone. My son is stationed in Baghdad on base and sleeping in a tent. He has been there just since the first of May and this is his first time going to Iraq. Recently he has been able to email me and tell me some of the things that they need while they are there. I would like to share these items with you and hopefully you can lead me in a direction to someone that would be able to help.
 
Sincerely,
J..
 
 
 
The following are the items that he has told me they would like for their tent. There are 6 soldiers in his tent.
 
1.Morale boosters-cards, letters, pictures from home letting them know people appreciate what they are doing. The guys LOVE getting pictures and letters from kids because they know it comes from the heart and only costs a stamp to send.
 
2. Folding chairs with a spot to put a can in the arm (cheaper to buy online and have shipped) Theirs are all broken and they have to rig them to sit in them.
 
3.Calling Cards to call home and talk to their families. It's been almost impossible to get the american bases to patch them thru to a number that isn't local to the closest base. They need regular calling cards, not international, and would love to pass them around. Hearing a friendly voice would be the best thing for them and security for their families to know they are ok.
 
4.Toiletries-deodorant, body wash (not bar soap), toothbrushes/toothpaste, razors/shaving cream, sun screen, shampoo, q-tips, etc. (these should be put in a ziploc just in case they break.
 
5.Battery operated fans. Sleeping in a tent at night in 100 degree weather has GOT to be hard. If they have fans that they can put right at their heads, I think it would help tremendously!
 
6.Batteries of all sizes. It used to be that you couldn't send batteries, but that has changed. Now they just request that you keep the batteries in the pack, not in the product.
 
7.Treats that won't melt. I sent Twizzlers, Slim Jims, Gum, and Mints just to give you an idea.
 
8.PSP games. He said all the guys in his tent brought their PSPs, but few games. They would like to have some to share with each other. It doesn't matter what game it is, even a kid game would be fine. They just need to have some down time where they don't have to think.
 
9.Magazines-new or old. just nothing controversial that would get pulled. I think that is self-explanatory
 
10.Puzzle Books-Sudoku, Word Find, Cross-Words, any puzzle books. They could even be sitting around your house with some of the puzzles already done. Electronic game versions of these are pretty cheap too.
 
-They love to receive anything from home, whether it be in an envelope, box, cushioned box...etc, etc.
 
Memorial Day is coming up and I think this is the perfect time to ask people to help. If it were your child, you would be doing the same thing I'm doing. I can't do it all, but I'm not afraid to ask for help!"
 

05/05/08

From:      PV2 Ri.

Contact_City:         M. PA

"Hey i just want to thank you for all that you guys have sacrificed for us to be a free and safe country.  I'm in the national guard.  Gonna be goin to Iraq with my unit in January.  I have mixed emotions bout it cause I think that it is fun, but it will be hard to leave everyone that I love. I'm infantry so I'm up there in the thick of things.  but I just wanted to take time to thank you for all you have done and sacraficed.  Cause when I get over there I hope that someone will take the time to thank everone that is over there.  God Bless You All!!!   <><  We aare all praying For you guys."

03/29/08 "JP, webmaster of Milblogging.com.  As many of you know, I`m a member of Bad Voodoo Platoon and Im currently deployed in support of OIF.  Over the last year, several of us includi ng fellow military blogger Toby Nunn, have been videotaping our experience.  Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) has made a film for FRONTLINE called Bad Voodoo`s War that will be airing on April 1st.  The details are below:

BAD VOODOO`S WAR

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

9 P.M. (check local listings)

"In June 2007, as the American military surge reached its peak, a band of National Guard infantrymen who call themselves "The Bad Voodoo Platoon" was deployed to Iraq. To capture a vivid, first-person account of the new realities of war in Iraq for FRONTLINE and ITVS, director Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) created a "virtual embed" with the platoon, supplying cameras to the soldiers so they could record and tell the story of their war. The film intimately tracks the veteran soldiers of "Bad Voodoo" through the daily grind of their perilous mission, dodging deadly IEDs, grappling with the political complexities of dealing with Iraqi security forces, and battling their fatigue and their fears."

Watch a preview now at: pbs.org/frontline/badvoodoo

Visit the PBS pressroom for press release and
photography.
www.pbs.org/pressroom

Online starting April 1."
 

 

03/18/08

"Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

Denise,

Here is our Youth PSA.

Thanks for all that you're doing for our families.

MAJ A. B.

State Family Program Director

Suicide Prevention Program Manager

 National Guard"

03/13/08 Thank you Chaplain R.of Sledgehammer Unit for this wonderful plaque and thank you Video Prayer for Iraq:

Click picture to see video

03/08/08

"I'm sorry I haven't written to you in a bit...I've been really busy here at work. Going to start training soon. I read this letter and I loved it. I recieved your package and I really appreciate it. I gave out letters to my battle buddies. Please keep em coming, I do really appreciate it and so do they. Thank you and may God Bless you."

PFC F. :)

Watch this amazing video from a Servicemember of Park City Called "First in Iraq 2003"

REad updates from the Frontline in Iraq: http://fromthefront.military.com/?wh=wh

This is Why we need to write more letters:

02/15/08 Denise,

"I have a lot of battle buddies here that are really missing home right now, some of them don't even get letters. I do have people here that I think would like to recieve letters from anyone. That's what we need right now especially being miles away from home. Thank You

PFC F.

PS. My Address is:

I WOULD LOVE TO HAND OUT LETTERS AND CARDS OR WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU WANNA SEND. THANK YOU SO MUCH :) TAKE CARE AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

JESS:)"

02/12/08 From fellow soldier to our troops:  "Just wanted to let you know that God is always with you, no matter where you are and what you do. He's always going to protect you :) I'm here in Kuwait supporting everything that you do. God Bless You and keep you safe. "  PFC J. F.

02/02/08 "I am trying to find someone special to me so I can write him.  His name is L. D. T.  and he is stationed in Iraq.  I want to write to him, but I don't know exactly where he is or what company he is assigned.  You see D. and I were high school sweethearts who finally had a chance to be together again.......that is we would have, but he received orders to go to Iraq for 18 months.  He told me it wasn't fair to make me wait for him so he cut off all contact with me a couple of months before he was set to leave.  The last time I heard from him, he sent me a text saying "I have always been crazy about you." on Sept 3rd."

Hear from Troops: http://www.dvidshub.net/?script=media/holiday_greetings.php&view=UT 

 

12/24/07 From an Army Veteran:

"Keep doing what you are doing - It's great!"  Alfredo

http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/fullmovie.php

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED 12/12/07

 

Hi Denise,

 10 minutes ago I received the box of Letters you sent from 7th Graders in Utah and some emails from several places, printed on beautiful Christmas Stationery!!!!.  They are awesome.  I will pass them on to everyone else.  Thanks a lot for thinking of me.  The Chaplain’s contact info:...

 Thanks again for everything you do.

Have a great Christmas.

Commander M. F , P.E.

_________________________

REad Blogs from our Troops in Iraq: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Name: Eric Coulson
Date: 12/31/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url: badgersforward.blogspot.com

http://badgersforward.blogspot.com/2007/05/doonesbury-sandbox-exciting-news.html

_________________________
 

"Speaking as one receiving the packages...
by Air Force Warrior @ 4:10am - Tue Dec 4th, 2007
They are appreciated very much! It gives us a very nice feeling to know that there are people back home that not only appreciate what we're doing but go out of their way to spend their time and money to let us know. It never fails to put a smile on my face and happy feeling in my heart to know that there are so many fellow Americans who care enough to show it.
We're currently collecting art supplies
by Air Force Warrior @ 10:38am - Tue Dec 4th, 2007
for the deaf school here in A, Turkey. I have an idea of another way you can help.

Many of us here volunteer in the local communities. For example, my unit has "adopted" a local deaf school. We collect things for the children such as shoes, clothes, coats, school supplies, etc. Things that they and their families can use. This type if thing is happening all over; there's a lot of poverty out here. Last time I was deployed I was at Balad Iraq. There's a regional military hospital there; you may have heard about it as it's been in the news from time to time. Any way, they don't only treat military, but civilians who are injured by IEDs, suicide bombings, indirect fire, etc. As volunteers at the hospital during off-duty hours, we collected things for the children patients. Things like stiffed animals, shoes, coats, clothes, etc. Also, many of our warriors in Iraq spend a lot of time outside the wire in the local villages. There they see a lot of need in those villages as well.

How about the next time you send a package, please include in it something that a needy child may need. I assure you, your wonderful gifts will find their way to those that need them. The school is in need of art supply items such as paints, paint brushes, paper, colored pencils, crayons, etc. If you're interested in helping out please send me an email at cnzeus@comcast.net

Thanks,
 

From one of our Utah Singles serving in Iraq:

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

“Hi Denise,

Thanks for the packages. Everyone loves the letters. I hope things are going well for you. This is my favorite time of year in Utah. Here in Iraq it's still about 110, but it seems cool compared to what we had earlier. I'm attaching a photo taken yesterday of me and my new best friend (I'm on the left!!!)
*Smiles*

“I feel blessed to know you.

Always,

Mark

P.S. I’ve got emails out, soliciting mailing addresses from different LDS chaplains”.

M. F.
(Navy Commander)

mark and chuck norris

"Thanks so much for packages. You are so thoughtful. I passed out the goodies to the people I work with. After reading all the cards, I routed them to everyone also. I especially like the notes from the little kids. They are the best! In your words..."Priceless"

Fallujah Resident--temporarily displaced from Utah.


Chaplain Randy Curry writes: 

daughter kisses dad on tv

"This picture was given to me by a soldier from the Tennessee National Guard. He was reading as part of a the United Through Reading program out of San Diego, Calif. His daughter saw dad on TV and ran to give 'him' a hug."


"I cannot describe the feeling I have knowing that you and your community back there still think about us now and then. Our days are long & busy and sometimes we forget we'll actually get home one day. The items you provide keeps us going especially the music, the under armor underwear and DVDs, again thank you. The weather here has gone from extremely hot to very cold. Each week it gets colder and colder."


Thanks  to all the organizations out there supporting our Troops.


From the Horse's Mouth - Wishes From the Troops

"A lot of our Marines have children. Most of them were just newborns when we left. Sad reality is that they are not going to remember their daddies when we get back. And nothing breaks a Marine's heart like getting rejected by his own child that does not remember him or her. We want to make small videos where our Marines can talk to their children or read them stories, and their babies can watch them back home ...  If anybody has any kind of video camera or tapes we would very much appreciate them."


"When the siren sounds on camp, run as fast as you can to take cover cause we have something coming that's going to make a big boom ... incoming artillery, RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], mortars rockets, etc. You never know when it's going to be your time--[you need] something to relieve stress and take your mind off things--magazines, games, being able to call home, no ATM machines so no phone cards etc. ..."


"Some good things in some packages were Red Bull, it would be awesome to get some more of that, it is good go juice. Other than that all is well in this part of the world, it will get a little rough around the holidays, keeping everybody's head in the game. I am sure nice packages will help lift their spirits some. I am mainly concerned with the younger, newer guys, who are on their first deployment. Some things that come to mind are of course beef jerky, still, lol. Winter is coming, and we were blessed to get a microwave, so things like Chunky Soup, Chef Boyardee, Dinty Moore stew things."


"There is what we call "moondust" everywhere, it is a talcum[-]powder[-]consistency sand that gets everywhere ... Food would be helpful although all we have to cook with is a coffee pot but it works. Extra long nylon bootlaces are desperately needed here because of the number we break. Combat socks for tall soldiers is a need here since half of us are over 6'2" tall. We are moving into winter and under armor cold gear and balaclavas [cloth face masks] would be a great help. Tactical gloves for big hands would be appreciated too. As for wants, DVDs, CDs, PlayStation or Xbox games would be most used for entertainment. As for me, I am 19 and enlisted in the Army while I was still in high school. I am happily married and my wife is having a tough time with this. It is a great feeling to know that people at home support us and may not agree with why or when but that they are still behind us as soldiers. On behalf of myself and my soldiers I thank you for your support and want you to know that what we do over here could not be done without loved ones at home and people who care.

Thank you again.  


 

 

Thank Yous From Others

"Thank you Denise for sharing my song "My Prayers Are With You Soldier" on your PSAs, I can't tell you, and you probably know this too, but I really feel that the Lord led me to your table that day, and vise versa. I know that we are here to help each other, and to help out our brothers in sisters, in the military.  YOu are amazing. You are doing great things, so expect great things to happen. I felt the first time when I wrote this song, that my desire for it was to go throughout the nation and hopefully touch every military person and families heart. I like your matching goal of making sure every military person this year gets a letter, a package and are taken care of.  Denise, I just want you to know HOW PROUD I AM OF YOU! YOU HAVE TAKEN ON A HARD TASK, AND WITH THE LORD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. HE LOVES YOU, AND HE IS WATCHING OVER YOU. YOU DESERVE THE BEST.  THANKS FOR BEING YOU. I KNOW THAT GOOD THINGS ARE IN STORE FOR YOU. 

YOU ARE AWESOME!

- Lantern Lane

Mothers of sons joining the Army: "Denise thank you so much. I cannot stop worrying. I do not know anything about Fort Benning if you have information please let me know and also if you add my son to the list to write to that would be so wonderful his name is Cameron he just turned 18.    Is Todd in Iraq?    I would love to help you with any flyers and anything to help the soldiers.     I am dedicated now to the cause to help these incredible men."  Val

“My son is 19 and serving in Iraq along with my brother and I am the Pleasant Grove Stake Singles Rep and want to put a Letters to Soldiers box at my work  and help you get the seniors to write letters at the Senior Citizen Expo.” Vicki

 


November 30, 2007

Dear Ms. Denise,

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the collection of letters and packages of support for soldiers currently serving overseas. I appreciate your interest in the issues facing our country and state, and I am happy to respond. When you contact me, you help me to better represent Utah in Congress.

I greatly appreciate all the work you are doing to ensure that our brave soldiers currently serving overseas receive the recognition they deserve. Especially during the holidays, sending them care packages and letters from their families, friends, and communities can improve the morale of our troops. I have always been a strong supporter of our brave young and men who serve in the military, and I will continue to ensure that they get the funding they need both when they are abroad and when they return.

Again, thank you for sharing your concerns with me. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact my office.

Sincerely,

 

JIM MATHESON
Member of Congress


From a soldiers: "You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.

He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.


You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.

He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.

soldier dries tears
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.

He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.

soldiers pray

"Denise, I received this from a buddy in Iraq.  Thought you’d like to put it on your site."

C.N., MSgt, USAF, Turkey

 

REMEMBER ME

http://www.youtube.com/v/ervaMPt4Ha0&autoplay=

 
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
 
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't qu ite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
 
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
 
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
 
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, 
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night." 

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me, 
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
 
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
 
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S.service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

                             

                              LCDR J., SC, USN

                              , Iraq

                             

PERSCO...

Proudly serving the finest warriors in the universe & achieving mission success through integrity, dedication and excellence!

>Press Here To Listen

"Bring Him Home Santa"

Dear Santa, I need to change my Christmas list
There's one big thing I missed
You see my Daddy's working for away from here
And I know Santa, I asked for a Barbie doll
And a brand new soccer ball
But I'd trade it all, for just one gift this year...

Bring him home Santa, bring him home to mom and me
Let us wake up Christmas morning, and find him standing by our tree
You can pick him up on your way, he could ride there in your sleigh
Don't make him spend Christmas all alone
Bring him home

And Santa, here's a picture that I drew
Of him in his dress blues
Mama says our country needs him over there
And you know Santa, this whole year I've been good
And I was hopin' that would
Do all you could to answer her prayer...

Bring him home Santa, bring him home to mom and me
Let us wake up Christmas morning, and find him standing by our tree
You can pick him up on your way, he could ride there in your sleigh
Don't make him spend Christmas all alone
Bring him home

Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

>Press Here To Listen

"Bring Him Home Santa"

Dear Santa, I need to change my Christmas list
There's one big thing I missed
You see my Daddy's working for away from here
And I know Santa, I asked for a Barbie doll
And a brand new soccer ball
But I'd trade it all, for just one gift this year...

 

Iraq war dog to retire with fallen Marine's family

(CNN) -- A U.S. military dog whose handler and best friend was killed in Iraq got a new assignment on Friday -- retirement with the late Marine's family.

art.marines.dog.family.jpg

"Marine Cpl. Dustin Lee, slain in Iraq in March, with his dog, Lex, who is going to live with Lee's family.

It took the family months of lobbying to get the adoption approved by the military.

Lex was beside Cpl. Dustin Lee when Lee was killed in a mortar attack in Falluja.

In spite of his injuries, the dog didn't want to leave Lee's side after the attack, according to the Marine's father. Other Marines reportedly had to pull the dog away from the young man's body so medics could reach him. Video Watch Lex demonstrate his talents »

Lex attended Lee's funeral in March, playing games with the 20-year-old Marine's younger brother on the sidelines.

Although some shrapnel remains in his body, Lex recovered from his wounds and returned to duty at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia.

Friday, the 8-year-old bomb-sniffing German shepherd was turned over to Lee's family to live out the rest of his life in Quitman, Mississippi. "