Archive for the ‘Thank You’ Category
I have typed the letter because the scan wasn’t very legible.
Military Family Support Group 10 Jan 12
Howdy from Afghanistan,
First off, thank you very much for the packages you have sent me/us. Your generosity is very much appreciated by the paratroopers of the 1-501st Infantry Battalion (ABN).
The hygiene items and sundries go out to the paratroopers who are in the small combat outposts (COP).
They usually have 3 to 5 showers to share with 150 of their closest battle buddies. More often than not, they use port-a-john’s. Some places, toilet paper has a premium value.
The cooks at these COP’s are doing an outstanding job with the limited resources, equipment and facilities at their disposal. The best meal I have had thus far was the Christmas Meal at COP Sabari. The guys (and gals) really do look forward to a hot, delicious meal after returning from a long day of patrols.
All the COP’s have coffee pots, but their coffee supplies are running low. We try and resupply them as much as possible, but some days that is a difficult task. We are getting mail fairly regularly out to the COP’s. It is always good to see smiles on the paratroopers’ faces when the mail arrives.
It is still wintertime here. The nights are chilly, but the warmth of the sun during the day is something to look forward to. Some of the COP’s have received a dusting of snow. Not like the 4 feet we are accustomed to at Fort Richardson, Alaska. Winter will hang around for the next two months before fiving way to spring and the rainy season. Before we know it, it will be hot and we will be wishing for the coolness of winter.
That is all for now. THANK YOU once again for your support and confidence you have for us. It does not go unnoticed. Till then, GODSPEED!!
1-501st IN (ABN)
PS. The packages were intended for CH (CPT) Diaz from 1-26 Inf. He had redeployed when they arrived. We opened the packages, as noted on the Customs slip, and have distributed them to the paratroopers from 1-501st Inf (ABN).
PPS. Thank Sweet Tomatoes from me for letting you meet at their restaurant. I bet the pies are outstanding!
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
UNITED STATES AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND (USAFCENT)
64TH AIR EXPEDITIONARY GROUP
Military Family Support Group,
My name is Chief Master Sergeant Jack Bass.
I am currently deployed to the Middle East with the U.S. Air Force.
About 2 weeks after my arrival here, my unit received several care packages from your organization. I can’t begin to tell you how much the packages have boosted the morale of my troops. The first couple weeks of a deployment are the hardest. The packages contained numerous items that made them smile and enjoy some small pleasures we normally take for granted.
I was very humbled to read in your letter that your organization has been doing this since 2003. Amazing!!!!!! What you are doing is no small task. It’s takes a lot of organizational & supervisory skills to pull this off for such a long time. It’s very touching to know after 10 years of war, the American public is still behind us.
Please extend my thanks to all of the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Patriot Guard Riders, church groups and ROTC units that assist with this project.
I have also to applaud the proprietors of Sweet Tomatoes for allowing you to use their restaurant to make the packages.
On behalf of my unit and all of the other units in the A0R that have received your packages for the last 9 years, I would like to say Thank you!!!!
Chief Master Sergeant Jack Bass
Summer greetings from Baghdad. The magical midway point in mydeployment came and went last week, marking six months since I arrivedon Christmas Eve. To celebrate I revisited the same dining facilityand recreated my first meal – a ‘fishwich’ with red jello. This time,it was much better – almost Filet o’ Fish quality.
In my daily routine, I think I’ve officially found my groove. I nowam keenly aware of what makes a successful day (not counting work,which is inevitable): quality sleep, exercise, contact with home, ameal with friends and journaling. If I accomplish three of these five- the day is a ‘win’; four or five – I’m ecstatic; and the rarelyachieved five of five I’m Arthur Fonzarelli – super cool.
With regard to work, another shift in assignment is in progress.After four months as aide to the Deputy Director, USF-I J9, Itransition this week to the job of Executive Officer to Major GeneralJeff Buchanan, Spokesman for US Forces – Iraq. I’m attempting tosteel myself for the demands of the upcoming job. The general is abona fide Airborne (Army) Ranger, as tough and hard-working as itgets. He’s served three previous combat tours in Iraq and is made oftensile steel. At 53, he runs circles around (and practices ju jitsuon) soldiers thirty years younger. His routine, powered by jerky,cliff bars and coffee is simple: seven days a week, sixteen hours aday and zero quit. This man will be my new boss.
To my great surprise (knock on wood), the summer season in Iraq hasbeen more less grueling than initially feared. The mercury -consistently in the 100s – coupled with the humidity from the Tigrisis intense, but not overwhelming. Of note, Phoenix has endured a farworse summer than Baghdad through 2011 (highs in the upper 110s and arecent monster sandstorm). I almost feel like I’m getting the betterdeal…(almost).
I can report the drawdown of our military presence in Iraq is wellunderway (45,000 US Forces in Iraq will be out of Iraq by December31st). Friends are flying home every few days and bases are closingevery few weeks. As for my unit, we are completing relocation fromVictory Base to the US Embassy Complex in the International Zone wherewe’ll spend the remainder of 2011(see my new address below). The movehas been mostly welcomed. Victory Base, which will be returned to theIraqi military, is a surreal landscape of concrete blast walls andcontainerizedhousing units (CHUs) located among dozens of lakeside palaces andvillas from the Saddam Hussein era. Victory is also dusty, decayingand home to some of the meanest geese I’ve ever encountered (Saddam’sghost possessed one of them, I’m told). In complete contrast, the newEmbassy Compound (NEC) is a clean, modern mega-fortress featuring palmtrees, green grass, fast food restaurants, two modern gyms and atennis court. The NEC is also safer from rocket and mortar attackwith most buildings constructed to withstand bombardment.
To a more uplifting topic, last weekend I made a long-awaited deliveryof forty-two boxes of donated school supplies and toys to the IraqiBoys and Girls Scouts. According to the Scout organizers, thesupplies will sustain their inventory through the end of the year.The visit was bittersweet since my recent move from Victory Base tothe U.S. Embassy will prevent my future attendance. Still, I washonored to be the happy messenger of so many kind supporters. Mysincerest thanks to everyone who contributed.
Personally, I continue to feel optimistic, motivated and amazed by theevents I’m witnessing. Morale is especially high as I look forwardto my 15-day R&R later this month. The Burke Family is converging onmy parents’ home in Rapid City, SD, for our first reunion in fiveyears (yes, local law enforcement is aware). Truth be told, I don’texpect a restful visit. My hope is to sleep on the flight back to Iraq.
My apologies for the long-windedness – this is why I should write morefrequently.
Thanks ever so much for your continued thoughts and prayers.
1.) Post-game with US troops and Iraqi translators
2.) Delivery of school supplies and toys to the Iraqi Boy and Girl Scoutscamp
3.) Young Iraqis
4.) My new favorite T-shirt from the O’Malleys
5.) Posing with the general’s security detail – I am only trustedwith the satchel
6.) Victory Base (Al Faw Palace through the dust) with ‘Saddam’ (far right)