Wednesday, December 19, 2012

S H O U T O U T S ! ! !

The contents of many Care Packages laid out in our mini mess hall - gone in two days!
I know it has been a while since I posted an entry and for all those who have been waiting with "bated breath and whispering humbleness" (Google it) for an update, I apologize for the extended hiatus. 
One of the main purposes of this blog is to be an open letter to my family (i.e. my Mom) to keep them posted (pun intended) on how I am doing while deployed.  And since my Mom posted on FaceBook she hasn't seen anything lately on, I thought I better get to it. 
You see, I have always felt an accompanying picture/graphic was important to highlight an entry and for the past little bit it has been not so picturesque; quite dreary with overcast skies, cold rain with corresponding mud - nothing really worth writing home about. 
But those at home, who send letters, cards and Care Packages, have not been remiss in supporting deployed Soldiers and I thought it appropriate to dedicate an entry highlighting those individuals. 
So, on behalf of all the grateful Soldiers to whom I have distributed treats and snacks, here are the individuals and groups I would like thank for their fantastic support and generosity - I will still try to send a snail-mail thanks to everyone, and hopefully some readers have received the card and token of appreciation I mailed in the past weeks, but until then, please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude in these
S H O U T O U T S ! ! !

@ Helen C. and the great Virgin Angels in SF, CA: Dola, Doreen, Andrew, Joe, Nina, Grace, Tiera, Ashley, Rob, Andre, Dustin and Kristin (I hope I got you all).  Your letters are greatly appreciated and the snacks you send I tend to keep mostly to myself but I shared the great DVDs - our USO is going to have a "Mad Men" marathon thanks to you all.  I just got a letter today from Damian; best wishes for a Merry Miami Holiday!

@ Logan G. of London (very close to Corbin!), KY:  Thank you for your letter; you have good hand writing for an 11 year old.  I am not married and do not have any children but I do get to spend some time with children on Sundays at the Cat in the Hat Language Arts Center here at Bagram; there are kids about your age who are learning English.  Unfortunately, I do not know how to play Xbox 360 so when I get bored I tend to read a book on my Kindle.  The type of gun I have is called an M-249; I understand you are very curious about whether I have been shot at or if I have shot someone - it seems that is a common question from guys your age (and all ages) - but it isn't something most Soldiers like to talk about.  I can promise you it is nothing like TV or the movies.  It is getting cold here; yucky and muddy but sometimes we get some clear skies with the sun glistening on the surrounding mountains for a beautiful view.  The Afghanistan money is called Afghanis with one US Dollar equaling about 50 Afghanis; I will see about mailing you some real Afghanis.

@ Soldiers' Angel Lori W. of Katy, TX:  Tell your 76 year old Dad his card did make me smile.  I haven't seen the Gangnam Style dance yet but I am sure it is good exercise and hope your lupus does not keep you from practicing.  Thank you for your efforts in writing to deployed Soldiers.

@ Operation Buckeye and Susan, Kathleen H., Maria S., David, Mary and Daniel J., Robin and Dan S., and Stephen G.:  The Care Packages you sent were great; the picture above is where I sorted the snacks into different boxes in our mini-mess hall where a couple hundred Soldiers eat lunch each day - everything was gone in less than two days!

@ Soldiers' Angel Leslie S. of Mill Hall, PA: Thank you for being a troop-supporter since 2006!  It is great you take time from being a full-time college student and Mom to write to Soldiers; as a member of a large military family I know you know how much it means to Soldiers to receive mail.

@ American Legion Auxiliary, San Anselmo Unit 179 of San Anselmo, CA:  Thank you Jan, Edna, Debra, Lauren, Ellen and Girl Scouts of Northern California (Troops 32053 and 30729) for the fantastic Holiday Stockings (and very nice home-made snowy holiday cards)!  My favorites were the almonds and beef jerky but the shaving gel was greatly appreciated as our PX here in Bagram ran out some time ago.  Also, the hand/feet warmers were just on time, too; with the weather getting pretty chilly in the evenings, the Soldiers on gate guard duty were very grateful.

@ Estes Family of League City, TX:  The home-made cross necklaces were given to Soldiers who were happy to wear them and the Christmas decorations were used to decorate the "Rats Nest" a small Morale Welfare and Recreation building where Soldiers go to shoot pool, play ping-pong and relax.  Thank you very much for sending so much holiday cheer.

@ Karen D. of Simi Valley, CA:  Thank you and the kids for the great drawings; if you look at the picture above, you can just make out one of the drawings where they are decorating the walls of our mini mess hall.  The books were taken to the Cat in the Hat and the snacks were quickly gobbled-up.

@ Desert Angels of Auburn Hills, MI:  The gate guards greatly appreciated the snacks and candy from your packages while the books, magazines and socks went to the USO where they were snatched up by Soldiers from all over Bagram.  Thank you very much for your continuing support.

@ Anne W. of Cedar Rapids, IA: Thank you for the Snoopy Letter; we heard all about Hurricane Sandy and hope everything is back to normal.  Our unit did not do much particularly special for Halloween but there were some ghost and goblin decorations as well as candy shared with everyone.
@ Si (Sonny) Tenenberg (former Marine - ongoing supporter of Troops) of and Janet, Silvana, Kathy, and Alyssa of First Baptist Church of San Luis Obispo:  The green socks were a big hit and a pair went to several grateful Soldiers.  The candy and snacks went into the boxes in the picture above and were enjoyed by hungry Soldiers who were very happy to get something special with their Army chow (well, maybe some of the beef jerky and Slim Jims got stuck with me).
@ Soldiers' Angels Valerie and Chaplain Bill K. of Bronx, NY!:  Thank you for the nice card as well as your thoughts and prayers.
@ Soldiers' Angel Patti McD. of Ravenna, OH:  You are right about the weather changing here; from hot and dusty to cold, rainy and muddy; not many trees changing colors but Soldiers are changing into beige fleece jackets.  My Dad was a Navy guy like your husband but all of his sons went into the Army.  Thank you for writing to deployed Soldiers and sharing your thoughts.
@ Soldiers' Angel Melissa M. of Las Cruces, NM:  One of my brothers was born in Las Cruces but it seems we only lived there long enough for him to come into the world and for me to get tubes in my ears.  Thank you for the "Forget me Not" flower and for clearly caring so much about Soldiers.
@ Julie B. of Salem, MA:  Your Care Package with Pringles, PB crackers, Swedish Fish and candy was a big hit with all the Soldiers I shared the goodies although I kept the oatmeal for myself - I get teased by some of my coworkers because I use hot coffee to make the oatmeal but it sure gets me going in the morning!  I also enjoy running, and like you, have done a marathon but once is enough.  I am a big fan of the movies and one of the things I miss most is going to Friday/weekend matinees of opening films; it's a bummer to miss "Lincoln", "Hobbit", etc.  Thank you and your friends and family for supporting deployed Soldiers.
@ Operation Gratitude of Encino, CA:  Thank you to everyone in your organization for the great support of deployed Soldiers.  The Care Packages you sent were distributed to Soldiers working at our warehouse where they have 24-hour operations.  The snacks and goodies were a great treat and greatly appreciated.
@ Karen M. of Belmont, MA:  Thank you for the healthy nuts and dried fruit - I kept those for myself while giving the "donations" from Sir Peter and Butterfly Kate's Halloween baskets to co-workers.  I am not much of country music guy, but I like the title "Two Days in November."
@ Sharon G. of Woburn, MA:  Please tell Julie her efforts in coordinating the TLC Packages are greatly appreciated.  I enjoyed the pictures of your furry "children" - particularly Shelby's cool sunglasses.  We do have a Green Beans Coffee shop here on Bagram but I am not familiar with the Cup of Joe for a Joe program - although I am all for coffee!  My co workers sweeten theirs with sugar and cream but I take mine black.  Thank you for your support, thoughts and prayers.
@ Soldiers' Angel Gale R. of Cherryville, NC:  Thank you for your nice card - when I saw it I thought the pottery was some sort of Mesopotamian artifact but it turned out to be traditional Armenian.  Your support, well-wishes and kind words are greatly appreciated.
@ Danielle, Cora and Daniel H. of Portland, OR:  The jerky and almonds stayed with me but the Pringles, M&Ms and Pringles went to Soldiers on gate guard duty; thank you very much for the great Care Package and nice Christmas card - it took me a while to figure out the "25" on Santa's train was for the 25th of December.
@ Pat and Mac McCoy of Yellow Ribbon Support Group in Palatine, IL:  Your generous Care Packages contributed to the boxes in the picture above as well as to Soldiers on gate guard duty.  I took the stuffed animals to the little girls at the Cat in the Hat where they brought bright smiles.  Thank you very much to your great support to deployed Soldiers.
@ Holli G B. of Owensboro, KY(!):  Thank you for the yummy snacks; I usually keep Slim Jim type of things for myself but shared them along with the other items.  We have made good use of the Chess game and play almost every day; your support of Soldiers, as well as The Humane Society, is greatly appreciated.
@ Soldiers' Angels Dave and Daisy J. of Canal Winchester, OH:  Thank you for taking time away from babysitting David and Sarah to send the nice card and letter; I hope Dave's cane has a slip-proof tip to handle your ice and snow.
@ Operation Shoebox of Belleview, FL:  The great variety of snacks was distributed to numerous Soldiers and the toiletry items went to the USO where they were grabbed up by needful Soldiers; thank you very much for your ongoing support of deployed troops.
@ Katrina M. of Las Vegas, NV:  There is a certain Sergeant First Class whose favorite treat is peanut M&Ms so she was very happy to get the ones you sent.  The soups and granola bars were shared amongst Soldier's in my unit; thank you for your generosity.
@ St Hugo Second Grade Brownie Troops 70874 and 70883 as well as Desert Angels of Bloomfield Hills, MI:  It was very nice to see the picture of all the smiling Brownies but the best part of the great packages you sent was the great hand-drawn Christmas card with the decorated tree and Brownie waving hello under the American Flag; I taped the card to my wall where it brings me a smile every day.  All the great goodies went to our mini mess hall and were enjoyed by hungry Soldiers.
@ Joyce M. K. and Hibernia United Methodist Church of Coatesville, PA:  Nothing says Christmas like a colorful stocking stuffed with goodies!  I am sure your son shared with you what is like for us here at Bagram and your are 100% right it means very much to Soldiers to know that folks back home are thinking of us; the prayers well wishes definitely help keep our spirits up and make the days a bit brighter.  Thank you very much for your concern and care.
@ The Military Support Group of Rhinelander, WI:  The snacks, treats, and movies you sent were shared amongst the troops and were greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much for your care and efforts; I know as Veterans you understand how important mail call can be and much expressed appreciation means to a Soldier.
@ Kelli C. of Seobu-Myeon, South Korea(!):  It was very nice and quite a surprise to receive your package from Korea!  I was in Seoul many years ago and your note had me thinking about some yummy yakimandu and bimbimbop.  The strawberry Oreos are still on my desk because the package makes me laugh.  I hope you enjoy your adventure in Korea and thank you for the nice letter.
@ Gilda and Tom M. and Maureen Corbin(!!) C. of The Dataw Island Community in St Helena, SC:  Thank you for the great package; I will take the gliders to the Cat in the Hat for the boys - we just had a field trip to the air strip where they got to go inside a C-130 so it will be fun for them to put together and fly the gliders.  @ Maureen - there are not too many Corbin's around so we must be kin somehow!
@ Amanda C. Morrow J. of Amherst, NH:  I wanted to be a complete Scrooge and keep the bag of homemade holiday cookies you sent all for myself but I have shared them with co-workers to enjoy with our morning coffee.  Thank you also for the decorations; we used them to bring cheer to a new Sergeant's work area.
@ Anyone I missed and did not address specifically: Thank you very much for your support of deployed Soldiers; people here like to tease me about the mail I receive but Soldiers like the ones who spend long hours on guard duty in the cold and/or dark are extremely grateful.  Soldiers can be rough and gruff but they really are very appreciative of the thought, care and efforts made by those who show support with letters, cards and packages. 

Best wishes to all for safe and enjoyable holidays!

(It's a fleece jacket....)