Following email-is from Lois in Washington:
–Our 173rd soldiers left Vicenza, Italy deployed to their remote base to face the Taliban. They’ve been on the front line of the war. If you could send quick notes often between packages, it would help their morale. They don’t have to be long letters, just a “thinking of you with gratitude” type note will let them know they aren’t alone in this war.
For those who don’t have a second name for the customs form, #17 “in case of non-delivery“; use the name SGT James N Himrod and the same address that you have for your soldier. It’s best to have the second name so the box stays there rather than coming back. Sometimes the postal service charges postage for a return.
It’s getting warm there now so we can switch the Swiss Miss for Gatorade and singles drink packets or other energy drink mix/singles. Winter gear is no longer needed. If you sew, we’ll start making the Cool Ties now for their necks, it will be HOT soon even though they’re in the high mountains. It’s also dusty so cheap small paint brushes are good to clean weapons and equipment. Even a tub of household wipes comes in handy.
It’s cold/flu season in the Korengal Valley but duty calls and they keep going. They have no means of buying anything to help reduce symptoms so if you can send any of the following it would be appreciated: cough drops, Alka Seltzer Plus cold tablets, Pepto tablets, pocket packs of Kleenex, packs of baby wipes, anti-bacterial wipes and foods to boost immune systems/ add energy. (no Vitamin C tabs) Dried or canned fruit is good. The little plastic tubs of fruit often break in transit so a regular can of fruit is great. (add a plastic spoon) They all want pocket snack food for patrols. Some have a cook and some don’t…but a cook doesn’t mean they’re getting gourmet meals. James is happy his new cook doesn’t burn everything like the last one did!
James said to thank all of you, that our support makes it bearable…not comfortable but bearable. That’s how dismal their conditions are, remember they have no sanitary facilities or rooms to sleep in, just bunkers plus generators for heat & cooking. No email or phones. Mail has become irregular in arriving. He said they REALLY appreciate all that we send even though they don’t say so.
And I add my huge thank you to each of you for helping these soldiers through their long deployment as they fight to keep us safe at home. I know you will all think of great items to help them alert as they patrol and face the Taliban.
God Bless these fine men,
PS: When it gets hot they will appreciate bed sheets – you might want to be on the lookout for a good sale on twin dark sheets. They probably won’t get washed so dirt color or a brown print is great!
Here is a link to the Vanity Fair article: “Into the Valley of Death” http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/afghanistan200801
The above link will take reader to an article and video that sheds light on the 173rd and their realities of daily life-keep in mind this article was written during the hot summer-it is still FREEZING at night in those steep hostile mountains.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ARE SENDING OUT SUPPORT TO THE 173RD — THEY HAVE BEEN RECEIVING PACKAGES AND VERY MUCH APPRECIATE THE CONNECTION BACK HOME. KEEP ON KEEPING ON. BRAVO ZULU!!:)
There is an address at the bottom of this post to send care-packages to the 2nd/503.
“Temps are warm now in the day, up to 60 but drop to teens at night, they have been very grateful for the blankets we sent earlier. At some remotes they exist on Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) packets and have no hot meals — try to include include hearty snacks for your soldier as well as baby wipes in each box now.
They have asked for sun glasses and knives. The glasses are the extremely dark lense, black framed style that wraps close to the head. Knives are a bit pricy but if you decide to get one, here are some links and advice from James dad….
“Any good knife is going to run around $30 or so. The cheap Chinese stuff isn’t worth the postage. They won’t hold an edge and they are junk. They will get more mileage out of a utility knife than some John Wayne straight edge Bowie type. That surplus USAF survival knife is pretty handy and it’s made of high quality steel. The Leatherman line of knives is also a handy knife.”
Beyond this, I’m not any help on knives and please don’t feel compelled to get one for your soldier, these are only suggestions from their requests. Green olives are also on the “want” list, pack carefully if you send them, be sure the jar is padded and in a secure zip lock bag in the middle of the box. I buy cheap wash cloths to use for padding. They toss everything for lack of laundry so it gives them a cleans wash cloth now and then rather than a baby wipe. Antibacterial liquid soap is good to send and cough drops are always needed. A cough can be deadly on patrol. Antibiotic ointment is good for chapped lips & raw faces from cold & wind.
By now I hope all our guys are well outfitted in their share of the 750 sets of long under wear and 5,000 pair of socks Carhartt Clothing sent to the 2/503rd Brigade. What a generous gift for these soldiers! On March 2nd I will have a few hundred pounds of donated Starbucks coffee to send. Then later in March the annual Girl Scout cookies will be ready to ship…by the ton!
The new larger flat rate boxes are available to order online at the USPS postal store and will be accepted at the post office on March 3rd. They are 12×12×5.5 and will ship to our APO addresses for $10.95. (All other domestic addresses will cost $12.95) We get a lot of extra space for $2. I don’t know when each PO will have the boxes in stock.
Thank you for your support of these brave young men.
Everything is appreciated and the connection back to home is priceless.
Letters can be addressed to:
2nd Platoon, Battle Company, 2-503rd PIR
c/o SFC Patterson
APO, AE 09354
Go to above link (Black Five)–they have organized another campaign to send email and letter support to the deployed troops-specifically those stationed in Afghanistan. Their last effort brought in over 30,000 emails to send to the Marines. OOOOH RAAAH!:)
Those of you who can, please take a moment and send out words of thanks/gratitude, respect and American patriotic pride in letting these men know that we are thinking of them and with them in spirit 100% for success in all their missions and looking forward to their safe return.
Here is the last paragraph from Black five’s post for sending out support to these brave men who have been faithfully defending and protecting our country as we sleep soundly day in and day out.
Historically, spring is a time of heavy fighting in this region as the terrorists and insurgents emerge from their caves after the harsh winter temperatures and snows. Let’s show these Soldiers how much support they have from home to help them through the spring and the remainder of this long and dangerous deployment.
Our paratroopers are in the fight of their lives and they need to hear that America loves them.
Please send an email of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can mail cards to:
P O Box 100
Cordova, TN 38088
Due to security reasons in Afghanistan please do not put addresses or phone numbers on any correspondence. All emails will be printed out here in the US and mailed to Afghanistan as they do not have the resources to receive a large number of emails. All letters and emails will be vetted to make sure there are no negative comments. These are letters of support, so please keep them positive and uplifting.
This post has been updated- 3/17/08