28 April 2006

FReep at Walter Reed Last Friday

Gunn Nutt's got an extended post up from the FReep last week with lots of photos:

A Lotta New Friends at Walter Reed

Like I reported earlier, it was wet. Not that it scared too many people off - we had a great crowd of FReepers, friends, heroes and milbloggers who were in town for the Milblog Conference.

Going to the FReep was one of the hightlights of my trip and something I'd wanted to do for a long time. Gunn Nutt and the other FReepers ROCK!

Thanks again for having us!

Update: BillF has the "FReep #53 Report" up at Free Republic here with more pics.

Opposed to our at least 37 patriots, the Pinkos only had 7 America-hating traitors and their dupes when I counted, but they may have had a few others who left early. They were outnumbered, yet again, even in the liberal bastion of Washington, DC.

Although we outnumbered the Pinkos, we had the bloggers and that helped us get the troops out to join us in large numbers. We need you there this Friday to continue outnumbering the Pinkos.

If you're in or near DC on a Friday evening, take part. You'll be glad you did.

The Screaming Angels

From a letter submitted by Aric Catron, 25, a Washington state National Guardsman to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

On one of those days in Iraq where I wasn't sure if I'd see my daughter again, I was working at a checkpoint near a small camp in the desert. (...)

On this particular day one of the locals had his little girl with him. She was shyly watching me from behind his legs. When I smiled and waved at her, she brazenly ran up to me with a big smile and held out her arms, expecting to be picked up.

At first I was shocked at her sudden bravery, and it took me a second to reach down and pick her up. When I did, she immediately kissed me on my cheek and then nestled in as if she meant to stay a while.

I looked toward her father and he immediately began talking rapidly in Arabic and gesturing at me. Our translator quickly explained that he, the father, had been locked in a prison for most of the child's life. He had been sentenced to death for being a Shiite dissident traitor.

The man went on to say that soldiers wearing the same patch on the shoulder as I was (the 101st Airborne Division) had freed him shortly after we began the liberation of Iraq. His daughter from then on believed that the famous Screaming Eagle patch of the 101st meant that we were angels sent to protect her family.

Read the rest.

Thanks to Soldiers' Angel Nila for passing this on.

27 April 2006

Milblog Conference - Saturday

Andi's posted a complete and updated roundup of conference coverage called What They're Saying that you should check out to make sure you haven't missed anything.

As a summary, I like John of Argghhh!'s second conference post including a list of "take aways", and his excellent "Continuing the Discussion" post.

Personally, I initially had reservations about attending the conference. Willie and I are not Milbloggers, we are supporters. After emailing with Patti and seeing there was an attendee category called "Military Supporter", I felt better.

Knowing that I would have the opportunity to go to the FReep and visit some patients at Walter Reed clinched it for me.

It was worth it for all of those reasons and more. Experiencing (and in many cases meeting) people whose blogs I've read for a long time adds a dimension that technology - as wonderful as it is - cannot provide.

And Friday night at Fran's is something I will always remember.

Surprisingly (for me at least), I did find some of the conference themes relevant for our blog. For example, OPSEC is obviously a critical issue for deployed bloggers. But we meet hundreds of soldiers who have just come from theater and they talk about... everything. Some subjects are sensitive, others may simply be misunderstood by those who don't understand how things work.

Some conversations are intensely personal and I would never even repeat them, much less blog about them.

Through these conversations I also experienced firsthand the disconnect between what I saw on TV and what the soldiers were telling me.

I don't mean not reporting "good news", like building hospitals or schools. I mean What Is Really Going On - all of it.

The MSM often portrays our efforts in Iraq, in particular, as though our soldiers are aimlessly driving around the desert just waiting to get blown up. And yes, guys going out on patrol do sometimes feel that they're just waiting to get blown up. But why are they on patrol? What is the strategy behind an operation? How do different operations fit together? You won't find out on CNN, that's for sure. But you will find out here and here.

The worst aspect of the legacy media's war coverage - and in my opinion the most reprehensible - is the coverage of the soldiers themselves. Or better put, the lack of it. For them, casualties are apparently subjects of theoretical debate or statistics to be used for political gain.

According to them, there are no well-trained professionals among our troops, and there are certainly no Heroes. Hell, they're not even people. Or if they are, they are 19 year olds that couldn't get jobs.

It is this ignorance - no, callous disregard - that I find deeply disturbing on several different levels.

This was a common theme amongst the panelists when discussing their motivations to blog. When dealing with security concerns, it seemed to me that a lot of it came down to common sense, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of respect. And although those self-imposed restrictions work for the most part, they are too ad hoc for the Military establishment, and many Milbloggers themselves would prefer more clear-cut guidance.

This has gotten much longer than I intended but I have to mention a few more highlights. Fred from In Iraq for 365 was awesome on the Blogging From Theater panel. I've been reading his blog forever and finally got up the courage to tell him that when we ran into each other at the hotel. Too bad I wasn't able to convince him to come to the pub crawl. Got to meet Bill and Steve (hope the Advil helped, Steve) also awesome on the same panel. And Buzz Patterson - if you don't listen to his radio show and haven't read his books, you're missing out. One of the first people I met at the FReep was Stacy, with whom I had emailed ages ago. I had the pleasure of briefly speaking with David at the conference about Robert Stokely, who unfortunately could not attend. Maggie and Rachelle were real hoots at the pub crawl, as was Hfs, who actually traveled further than I did to attend the conference (I won't go into the flashing incident). Thanks for the lift back to my hotel, Bill - I don't think I could have taken another DC cabbie at that point. (What is the deal with the DC cab drivers??)

Thanks to Greyhawk and Mrs. G for the online conference moderation, which must have been quite the task and of course to our First Lady, conference organizer Andi, for bringing us all together.

25 April 2006

Milblog Conference - Friday

My Milblog Conference weekend started on Friday afternoon having a late lunch with a buddy of a patient I met at Landstuhl hospital in Germany last year.

He's spent the last nine months recovering from injuries at Walter Reed and has been driving again now for two months. He picked me up at my hotel and we headed out to a nearby Mexican restaurant. After a short detour caused by an unexpected flight of stairs ("welcome to my world"), we tucked in to a great meal and lots of talk. I knew a lot about him from our mutual friends, but was still impressed by what a great guy he is. Thank you for the hospitality... and everything else.

Later it was on to the FReep in front of Walter Reed where I finally got to meet Gunn Nutt, which I'd been looking forward to forever. As noted here, it started pouring the minute the FReep started so it was WET. A Soldier offered me his OEF cap to keep my head dry but I'd rather get rained on than have hat hair.

(Gunn Nutt not only live-blogged the conference but has a great wrap up - just keep scrolling.)

At the FReep I also met bloggers Laurie and Heidi, and lots of others including FReepers BillF, Albion Wilde, Justanobody, and tgslTakoma.

Not much Pinko action at this rainy FReep, especially after a group of soldiers went down the block to talk with them. In spite of the weather, the atmosphere was great with passing drivers honking their horns and waving in support. This was something I've wanted to do for a long time, and was a real honor being out there with this dedicated group that I've read so much about.

Next stop on Friday evening was Fran O'Brien's. (Thanks Albion Wilde for the ride!)

The bar at Fran's was absolutely rocking, and I just waded in. I can't remember who I saw first, it's all a blur. I met Holly and Pam, who are as wonderful in person as they are on their blogs. I had a great time talking to Carol, and met Some Soldiers' Mom and her fabulous husband. There were two boisterous, cigar-smoking guys - one wearing a kilt (sorry, Taco, but a skirt by any other name... ) and one (thankfully) not. Then I heard a voice say, "Hi MaryAnn" and it was Matt.

The atmosphere was... incredible. There were diners doing the limbo under a crutch. I saw Paul Wolfowitz sitting at a table. A Marine at the bar desperately needed his missing right arm to complete the hand motions for a dance, and yelled "arm!" His wife (also a Marine) stood behind him and provided the arm, matching the movements of his left arm with her right. We were all hysterical, and Capt B said it was the most awesome thing he'd ever seen. Later, she 'lovingly' offered him a cigarette. Each time he opened his mouth for it, she quickly attempted to stick it up his nose.

In the Ladies' room, a young woman at the sinks holds her hand out to another. There's an engagement ring on her finger. "Oh, honey, I am so happy for you!", says the second woman. They embrace. "Of course", the first woman says, "we're going to be here a while longer. He needs to have another 4 inches removed from his stump. The femur has deteriorated." "Oh, I know how that is."

It's like a big family, where everyone can just be themselves.

Or, to quote FbL, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting:

I understood, in a way far beyond the intellectual way I had before, that Fran’s was a treasure beyond description.

Please read the rest of her post on the evening here - she says everything far better than I can.

The Capital Hilton Hotel, where Fran's is located, is throwing this treasure out into the street by cancelling their lease. This coming Friday will be the last dinner Fran's will be able to host for our wounded soldiers.

Read FbL's posts on this travesty here
to find out what you can do.

See also Save Fran O'Brien's Steakhouse.

More on the rest of the conference later, I'll be on a plane tomorrow.

24 April 2006

The Milkshake Man and the Invitation

Yesterday at Walter Reed while I was sitting in a young Soldier's room chatting with his Mom, the door suddenly opened. A man came in and asked, "want a milkshake?"

The Soldier's Mom took the milkshake and before she could thank him, he handed her an invitation for 'a Friday night dinner' and was gone.

When the door closed behind him I turned to the Mom and said, "OMG, that was the 'Milkshake Man'!"

This story started on 28 March near Taquaddum, Iraq when a Humvee was hit by an IED blast. The occupants were medevac'd to Landstuhl where we caught up with them (scroll down). One of the vehicle occupants and the driver were together in the same room and they asked us to track down two others.

Returning the next day, we reported we had found one of their buddies in the ICU but were unable to locate the fourth Soldier.

As we left, I mentioned I would be in DC for the Milblog conference later in the month and expected them to be in 'much better shape' when I next saw them at Walter Reed.

The Humvee driver is already home and the two soldiers at Reed have a long road ahead of them but are doing well. I learned yesterday that the fourth Soldier had been killed in the incident.

Meanwhile, back at Walter Reed, I told the Soldier's Mom about the Milkshake Man and the Friday Night Dinners at Fran O'Brien's.

The invitation the Soldier received included a caveat about the location for upcoming dinners and the search for a new venue.

Will this Soldier be able to attend the dinners when he's well enough? We need your help to make sure they continue, so head over to Andi's and find out what you can do.

The most meaningful part of my trip to DC was the contact with patients who are 6, 8, or 9 months along the path to recovery. Our experience with severely injured patients in Germany is that of never-ending triage and stabilization. To see how these guys 'come back' is nothing short of miraculous.

The stories of the guys I know personally will remain personal, but I'll tell you a little bit about Friday at Fran's in a later post.

More on Fran's...

... over at the Mudville Gazette.

Fran's Countdown

Fran's Countdown, continued

Just keep scrolling.

15 April 2006

Easter at Kleber Outpatient Barracks, Landstuhl

Amanda and I were in surprisingly good shape after the late-night "Film Festival" at Kleber on Saturday. It had gotten way too late for her to take a series of buses and trains home so we snuck her into my hotel.

After a beer at the bar (I was worked up and she was falling asleep), we went up to my room, pulled the twin beds apart, threatened each other under penalty of being made to sleep in the hall not to snore or make any noise whatsoever during what was rest of the night, and slept like logs.

It's always easier when someone is as neurotic as you are ;-)

But I digress. It was probably easy to feel good because today was going to be (early) Easter at Kleber.

World's cutest and cuddliest Easter Bunny.

Everybody loved this Easter bunny, including the Commander. I don't know who ended up with him, but if I had to take a guess I'd say one of the patients took him home for his/her kids.

We had the fun job of putting together and decorating the Easter baskets, one with real hard-boiled, colored eggs.

Lynda's home made chocolate.

Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I didn't know you could "make" chocolate. Soldiers' Angel Lynda sent enough for an entire basket. Like Soldiers' Angel Sara and yours truly, Lynda comes from New Jersey. People from NJ rock!

CQ SPC H enjoys one of Lynda's home made chocolate lollipops.

You may remember SPC H from the Saturday post. Like some of the other CQs, he completed a tour in Iraq before joining the MTD at Kleber. His unit replaced the 617th MP CO, home of Raven 42 (a must-read from Blackfive), a squad with multiple Silver and Bronze Star recipients.

In fact, another one of the CQs here was the first female Soldier to receive two Purple Hearts in Iraq. I'll have to tell you her story some day...

14 April 2006

Side by Side

Via Candace and Greyhawk, who has an excerpt from an email from someone who knew SFC Stone. The word is that Stone, a Medic, was giving Costall medical attention when he was hit.

Private Robert Costall of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (image: Combat Camera)

Army National Guardsman Sgt. 1st Class John Thomas Stone, 53, of Tunbridge, VT (AP PHOTO)

U.S. medic died next to Canadian soldier

Pte. Rob Costall, meanwhile, was a scrappy hockey player, but still wrote poetry in Grade 9. He surprised many when he decided to enlist.

The Canadian military gave him a sense of direction, relatives say, providing him with a lifestyle he quickly embraced.

The 21-year-old Canadian with the year-old child and high-school sweetheart at home had been in Afghanistan for 52 days.

Stone, the 52-year-old American medic who found love much later in life — and who looked after children far from home, though he himself had none — had spent his life in and out of the military, and began his third tour of duty in Afghanistan last July with the Vermont National Guard.

But they did have something in common. Both believed they could make a difference in Afghanistan.

And they died, an American and a Canadian together, in a firefight last week in Helmand province, 110 kilometres from Kandahar city.

It's believed to be the first time such allies have died fighting side by side in more than half a century.
(Emphasis mine)

13 April 2006

Angel Sends Over 70 Easter Baskets (and "Peep War Kits") to Deployed Soldiers

Sara's son was deployed to Iraq with the 82nd ABN last year and has since returned safely home. She knows how important support from home is, and how celebrating holidays can help break the monotony of a deployment.

For example, here's her son Dan (right) and buddy Jimmy celebrating Easter in Iraq last year with a "Peep Roast". For those of you not familiar with "Peeps", they are those little marshmallow bunnies, chicks, etc. available around Easter. Sara recommends this site for more Peeps fun.

Forget the ham - nothing finer than roasted Peeps for Easter! (Click for larger images)

This year Sara has again sent Peep Roasting kits and Peep War kits (don't ask!) downrange, as well as over 70 Easter baskets. Here's some of the feedback she's received so far.

Some of Sara's Easter baskets ready to go.

Hi Sara!

How are you doing? As always I hope this note reaches you in good health and spirits. Our spirits were surely lifted this afternoon when I picked up the package you sent to me! My Soldiers were so happy. It was like Christmas in March! I think it was just what they needed today! It has been a tough couple of weeks.

All the snacks and goodies are already gone... except for the Herseys Treasures, they were a little soft so I put them up for tomorrow. And the books are amazing! Thank you. I have also handed out the magazines and everyone seemed happy for a minute! And it is all because of you and the networks' thoughtfulness. A lot of Soldiers do not receive packages and when I hand them items, I can see it does a world of good. Even though it is short-lived, it is worth each moment.

Please know that you are making a world of difference and we appreciate it. I will say, you do have perfect timing! Easter is just around the corner and my Soldiers started talking about their last Easter. It was great.

Thank you again,

Hey Sara,

My Soldiers are still walking around with the toys you sent us. They are the most coveted war trophies in Iraq. Before long, the bunny will be wearing rank and I'm sure if no one loses it, we will have a new mascot.

The Easter baskets continue to be a big hit. While we attended our mission brief last night, some of the Soldiers (men and women) were playing with the toys they received from the Easter baskets. They toys get passed around forcibly from one Soldier to the next.


Hey there you. I got your box yesturday. Thank you so very much. What a very cool box. We loved all of the toys and Easter candy and such. It was really funny we were like kids at a party. You really made our day. I loved the post card.

Do you know I spent almost every weekend of my high school career going into New York and I have never once been to see the Statue of Liberty. It's unreal. I really need to take a trip up there just to do that.

Hey Sara,

We received your package. Thanks a bunch. It has been a while since I have received an Easter basket. The little toys in it were cute. All the candy was solid and delicious. Six months has all of a sudden made everyone a chocolate freak. The no-chocolate season is going to be a hard one. Everyone enjoyed the magazines as well. The guys especially seemed to enjoy the cheerleader one. Go figure.

Other then that things are pretty quiet here. We have some great training events coming up and I can't wait for them to be over so we can focus on other things. The anticipation of training always seems to take up more time then the actually training. Well, take care.

Being Safe,

Hey Sara,

I’m emailing you from my work cause I haven’t been able to check my yahoo. It was nice to get your package. I loved it so much. The calendar was awesome. It just motivated me to go visit New York City. And I am. I want to take my little sister and best friend cause they have always wanted to go. And so have I.

The Easter basket and candies were great. I told some of my Marines that we were going to have an egg hunt for easter. So hopefully it turns out great.

Sara is Co-Leader of the Soldiers' Angels Letter Writing Team, which sent well over 100,000 letters to deployed soldiers last year.

11 April 2006

Weekend at Kleber

After a busy Friday bringing backpacks to the Liaisons at Landstuhl and visiting inpatients, it was back to our "home away from home" at Kleber for the weekend to work in our storage room and look after the outpatients.

I met up with Amanda on Friday at the hospital and she came back on Saturday and Sunday.
Because the Landstuhl and Kleber facilities are transitional facilities, there's always a lot of coming and going. New outpatients can arrive at any time of the day but often do so in the early evenings.

Gear from the new arrivals. (Click images to enlarge)

More gear.

Something about seeing the gear from the new arrivals makes me sad every time I see it. I've often tried to explain why, but it's hard to describe.

The soldiers here are outpatients and certainly in much better physical shape than the hospital patients... but when I think about all they're been through just getting here - not to mention what they may have experienced downrange - seeing the gear always brings tears to my eyes. I know. I'm a wimp.

Maybe it's because they are so valiant and never complain. Well, correction. All soldiers complain.

Maybe it's everything they've been through to get to this point.

They have been to a CSH, then sent to the hospital in Balad for a few hours or maybe a few days. They never know what's going on until somebody tells them to get on a helicopter or a plane. Then they get swept away to Germany without the opportunity to go back to their FOB and pack additional personal items.

They fly all the way here in a medevac plane, are driven from Ramstein AB in a bus to the hospital where they are processed through DWMMC and their Liaison office. Then they are driven over to Kleber. The whole time they are dragging around their gear - packs, body armor, etc.
I've seen guys so tired they were standing in this hallway at Kleber wearing their body armor. They simply couldn't carry it any more. I've had to uncurl their fingers from their packs and put them on the floor and then remove their body armor for them.

And then there's the orientation at Kleber. They need to know where they are, under which command they fall, the regulations at the barracks (including dress code, bed check and morning formation), meal times at the DFAC, how to be issued new uniforms - a million things. There's an orientation video that explains it all.

Finally, they are given a room.

So I guess they are happy to see someone like Amanda standing at a table in the hallway making Leberkäse sandwiches.

Or Mrs. G. from the Mudville Gazette, who brought a huge pot of her delicious homemade vegetable beef soup on Sunday (but who wouldn't allow me to take photos).

Amanda in action!

Amanda explains that Leberkäse is kind of like a big loaf of hot dog meat and that each soldier should take a roll, slice it open, and put some mustard on it while she cuts him a thick slab.

SPC H., one of my favorite CQs (Charge of Quarters), and I get close for a photo. Somebody's got to do it...

Later, Amanda and I go to the TV room to watch DVDs with the guys. Considering most of them have not watched movies with females in a while, they are very understanding of our frequent emotional outbursts.

They're usually pretty quiet with the exception of an occasional low-key, "use your knife, a$$hole", or "yeah, RIGHT" when confronted with unrealistic scenes.

We, on the other hand, blurt out all kinds of stupid stuff. Sometimes we leave the room to make some more sandwiches for other guys and miss things. But they patiently fill us in on what has happened during our absence.

It's one movie after another until we realize it's almost 2am (!). We've got more work to do on Sunday, so we finally head out.

To be continued...

09 April 2006

How Many Liaisons Does It Take...

... to unload a large van full of transitional backpacks?

More on that in a moment (and I'm just kidding, guys!!!), but let's start at the beginning.

Hamming it up with one of the Service Liaison Officers at the Soldiers' Angels Germany freight room. We loaded up a van with transitonal backpacks and drove to the hospital to distribute to the other LNOs.

Many hands make light work ;-)

There are Liaisons for each branch of service and Army by division. They coordinate their patients' stay here in Landstuhl between the medical staff, the patient's unit downrange, and the patient's Rear Detachment back home.

We also checked in on a couple of soldiers injured in an IED explosion earlier in the week on behalf of their buddies downrange.

One of soldiers was in the ICU. The other was on a regular ward and told us about getting blown up. Through his account we learned that there was one and possibly two more soldiers from the same vehicle in Landstuhl, and promised to track them down.

07 April 2006

Church of Hate at Walter Reed - Updated

Update: AAR (After Action Report) at FreeRepublic with lots of photos here. It is a must-see.

Fred Phelps and his "church", known for their protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers, took their message to Walter Reed yesterday. Here's the article from CNSNews.com.

The man responsible for the "GodHatesFags.com" and "GodHatesAmerica.com" websites picketed the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Thursday with a dozen of his family members and followers. They carried signs stating "Thank God for Maimed Soldiers," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates You."

Fred Phelps, pastor of the independent Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., claimed the injuries and fatalities suffered by American military personnel are the product of God's wrath.
( ... )

"It's irrelevant whether they as individuals support them. They joined an army and became a part of a military establishment, voluntarily, knowing that that military establishment was packed and jammed with homosexuals," Phelps argued. "If they join an army that they know is a sodomite army and fight for a nation that they know is a sodomite nation, they are equally guilty."

O.P. Ditch of Woodbridge, Va., retired from the U.S. Air Force, learned of Phelps' planned protest and displayed his own printed sign at the main gate of the Walter Reed hospital.

"I disagree with anybody who comes to a military hospital and, you know, says trashy things like 'God Is America's Terror.' I'm reading their signs right now, 'Thank God for Maimed Soldiers,'" Ditch said "That's the same word that Code Pink uses -- 'maimed' soldiers. They said the soldiers were 'Maimed for a lie,' and this guy's using the same words."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the anti-war group Code Pink began picketing Walter Reed in August of 2005. The group lost its permit to protest at the main entrance to the hospital last month.
( ... )

Don Smith of Maryland turned up the volume on his opposition to Phelps' protest. The owner of what he described as "the loudest Harley I know of," Smith brought his motorcycle and had other friends bring theirs to wait for Phelps' group.

Shortly after Phelps and his followers marched into position -- singing "God Hates America" to the tune of "God Bless America" -- Smith and his friends started their engines.

In law enforcement and military circles, the procedure is called "acoustical countermeasures." Smith referred to it as "protestus interruptus."

"I understand First Amendment rights, but my personal feeling is, there [is] a time and a place for everything," Smith argued. "These people are protesting at funerals of guys -- men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and outside a funeral or outside an Army hospital, holding signs that say 'God Hates Wounded Soldiers.' It's not the time or the place."

After approximately 30 minutes of no one being able to hear their chants and songs over the motorcycles, a large group of off-duty military personnel in civilian clothes approached Phelps' followers and began verbally challenging the anti-military signs. Phelps' group packed their belongings and walked away, followed briefly by the servicemen.

Members of FreeRepublic.com and TroopsSupport.com immediately took up positions on all four corners of the intersection at the main gate to the hospital, waiving American flags and displaying signs supporting the troops.

06 April 2006

"Every time they hear mail call, I'm hounded for more letters from Soldiers Angels... "

To whom it may concern,

I recently signed up with Soldiers' Angels. Just know that I really don't talk to many people, well, I guess they don't talk to me because I am actually deployed at the moment with the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Just know that I appreciate everything you do. I think that its wonderful on how people contact just random people they don't even know with words such as ones people in my division have received. With my division alone, 3 Angels have sponsored my shipmates. I think it's great, and they are currently in contact with I think last count was 8 or 9 seperate families.

It's great, because all 3 have had rough times so far on this deployment. Every time they hear mail call, I'm hounded for more letters from Soldiers Angels for our shipmates. Frankly, I would have it no other way.

At times, it's rough on our ship, others it's a breeze. It all goes day by day.

But more importantly, I want you all to know that what you do does matter, it's had a major impact on my shipmates, on my friends. Please keep it up, because they write back to every letter they receive out of their own free will.

Please know that everything you do is appreciated, and you all have more friends then you actually know. More supporters, and more people who will back you then I think any other
organization I have ever heard about. Keep up the good work and please take care of yourselves.

Very sincerely and respectfully,

Kxxxx Wxxxx
USS Abraham Lincoln

Dear Kxxxx,

Thank you so much for your email. It is always so awesome to hear back from the men and women who we support, and who we honor as heroes of our nation. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do – all that you sacrifice – for our freedom and security.

There is no way that we will ever be able to repay you or to thank you enough for all that you do. So we are very happy that our support – our letters and care packages – help to brighten up your day. Just know that we all support you in everything you do and pray for your safety and quick return home.

If there is ever anything that I can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to let me know. We will do everything we can to help you, or a comrade, should you need it. So just let me know and thank you again for all that you do!


Donald William MacKay
Executive Director
Soldiers' Angels

Dear Don,

Thank you so much for your email. It was really nice to receive it, and it's no problem to write back. Your organization has helped so many of my shipmates out, most of the time when they really needed it as well. It's really great that people like you exist, I feel honored just to have received a reply.

Thank you for your kind words, hopefully I will return home safely for my wife and child. And just know that anything Angels ever send I will respond to as quickly as possible.

Also, I want you to know that I have spoken of your organization to my family and friends, so hopefully they sign up to adopt more soldiers. My brother is in EOD for the Army, so almost every single family member I has is either veterans or finishing up enlistments now, including my friends in Iraq at the moment.

Just thank you Don, and please extend a great "THANK YOU" to your Angels and fellow workers. Its really appreciated, I mean that from my heart and soul.


Kxxxx Wxxxx
USS Abraham Lincoln

Would you like to make a difference? Please consider stepping forward and becoming a Soldiers' Angel.

04 April 2006

The "Worst Part of War"

From Soldiers' Angels Linda: "I wanted to share an email from one of our soldiers at Task Force Thoroughbred in Afghanistan. He is looking for toys for an Afghan family whose daughter was wounded by a land mine."

I wanted to take a minute to say thanks for the support from you and your organisation. The cards, letters, e-mails and packages are great.

I have another request for you. My team has kind of adopted a family here with 10 children. One of the daughters stepped on a land mine left behind from the Russains and lost her leg.

We're tring to find stuffed animals and simple toys for her and her siblings. They are 3 to 12 y/o. We also team up with the chaplain from time to time for other kids here.

The worst part of war is what happens to the kids. I wish we could put all the adults in one room and slug it out and leave the kids out of it.

Maybe 20 years from now our kids won't be fighting each other. I'd like to say I fought in the last battle of the last war ever fought. But I've been fighting them for 20 years and I don't think anything going to change any time soon.

So if any of your people would like to help please let me know.

If you can help please email me and put toys on subject line.

Thank you Angels and Friends.