Myself and my marines aren't living the best life granted to us, but we make do. We are out around the world to protect the families at home and our families back home also. We are in dire need of things that make us feel just a little less "homesick." Â ...I have some of the finest individuals working for me and the same thing is said for the men and women I work for. Marines are here to keep the United States safe and we are out here doing exactly that. For just a few moment's we want to be able to smile because people care.
Cpl Edward Raudnael, US Marines
Gulf of Oman
On June 23, I saw Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America speaking to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC about the resignation of Gen. McCrystal . Â Rieckhoff said he felt that something positive might come from this negative event.Â It's his hope that the publicity surrounding the General's departure will bring more attention to the war in Afghanistan. According to Rieckhoff, because of the recent focus on the Gulf oil spill and the economy, the troops in Afghanistan feel neglected and forgotten by people at home. It broke my heart to hear that. Â I went to a FaceBook page called â€œSupport the Troopsâ€ and asked for suggestions of the best ways to support these young men and women and show them that we havenâ€™t forgotten them. Â They suggested a site called AnySoldier.com I checked it out last night.Â (The letter above is from an actual request I found on the site.)Â They connect soldiers who have requests with people here at home who want to help. Although the soldiers (who typically make requests for their entire unit) ask for anything from chewing gum to Playstations, AnySoldier.com says that there is nothing a soldier appreciates more than a card or letter from somebody back home. Some soldiers never receive mail, and a special effort is made to pass on your cards and letters to them in particular. If you want to do more but donâ€™t have time to spare on shopping and packing and shipping items, a site called TreatAnySoldier.com makes it very easy. They have several care packages and gifts ranging from $12 - $150.00 and they ship them for you to very deserving and grateful soldiers. (see feedback from soldiers below) Both of these sites were set up by families of servicemen.Â For only $2 you can buy a lonely soldier a cup of coffee at Cup of Joe for a Joe.
Iâ€™d suggest you spend some time getting familiar with AnySoldier.com before deciding how you would like to show your support. Thereâ€™s lots of info about what types of items are most needed, what items arenâ€™t allowed and so forth. If you click on the tab â€œWhere to sendâ€ youâ€™ll see a list of soldiers who have made requests for themselves and their units. Click on a name in the left hand column and youâ€™ll see a personal note from the soldier, as well as information such as the number of men and women in the unit, where the unit was stationed at home, etc. Youâ€™ll also see how many people have requested the address of that particular soldier. I chose a unit in Afghanistan from Ft. Campbell here in Kentucky. They had had only a few requests for their address, so I knew they had received few, if any, responses. Some units have posted pictures and letters and you can tell they have an ongoing relationship with some of the people or groups who have sent them letters and care packages in recent months. This would be a great project for a classroom or church group â€“ choose a certain unit to "adopt" for a certain period of time. This project can be as simple or as involved as youâ€™d like. Again, it can be as easy as sending a postcard. There are lots of other sites, Iâ€™m sure, and a hundred different ways to show your support. Just do something â€“ whatever you choose.Â As the President said, "We need to remember what this is all about. Â Our nation is at war." Â And regardless of whether we agree or disagree with why they are there, these soldiers are our children, our sisters and brothers, our husbands and wives.Â They are representing our country. Â Letâ€™s do what we can for these men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis so far away from home.
Notes from soldiers who have received mail and care packages through AnySoldier.com:
We have started receiving care packages and are eternally grateful. This reminds us that people haven't forgotten about us. We truly thank you...
SPC. David A. Schexnayder
Let me just say thank you for all you are doing and for being a part of our effort here. We can't wait to get home again but you help bring a little bit of home to us here..
God bless you all.
Cpt Mike P. Barnette, U.S. Army
After only 2 weeks of firefights all over Marj-eh we were already getting mail. Mail from people like you sending it to the Marines who need it most. Letters from complete strangers saying "thank you."Â I've watched Marines cry after reading letters we have received. There's something there ... its more than a box, its more than a letter ... its knowing we aren't here alone. No matter how cold it gets at night, no matter how close those rounds come, no matter how far we move, no matter how lonely we feel when we are in our sleeping bags at night..... we know you're there to keep us warm, keep us safe, help us move that extra mile when the pack is just so heavy you want to collapse. For that, I thank you. I wish I had the time and money to come visit every single person so you could look into my eyes when I say that. It comes from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the support.
Cpl. Charles T. Mabry, U.S. Marines