Recent letters from Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan
Editors note: the picture attached to this post is of Marcus Luttrell, who was awarded the Navy Cross for his service in Afghanistan. Lone Survivor is an account of his experiences as a Navy Seal.
The Constitutions are good things to have and pass out, a reminder where we all came from. The lens cleaners have many uses. If I find any new ones, I’ll let you know. When I read your story about the comments from other service members, I thought you may have a better understanding of what this war is like than the media. You have contact with all the services (maybe not the Air Farce or Chair Force) which might explain it.
Those were a good set of books you sent. I am reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War first.
Sergeant Mellor, USMC, Afghanistan, October, 2010
My name is Yavianny and that is a mixed name between my sister’s and my aunt. My sister’s name is Yazahira so my mom used the Ya, the vi I don’t know where she got it from and the anny from my aunt named Ana but we call her Annie. I am 22 years old (23 on Thanksgiving Day) and I am from Puerto Rico, born and raised. This is my first deployment to Iraq and I’m currently in Camp Taji, which is a rock in the middle of the desert. I’ve been to a few states and I was in Germany once, thanks to the Army. I went to the concentration camp for Jews, that’s why I loved to see Ann Frank’s book in the package.
You are right when you say it is hard to be away from the ones we love, even though I had some differences with the people in my house. I miss them to death now. You learn to live with the people who surround you and making friends makes it all better. You get all the support from them because they are the ones that know what you’ve been through every day and it is good to know you can help them too. It is the same situation for everybody. We are working 12 hours now. I am currently a day sleeper because I work 7 pm to 7am. Thank God this shift makes the days go really fast, even though I have 10 months left and maybe 6 more after that. But that’s part of the game. I joined because I wanted to be someone different in my family and neighborhood. I didn’t want to become a nail salon worker. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is just not for me.
Yavianny (unknown rank), USAR, Iraq, November 2010
We are four months into our year tour and we have read most of the books we have so it was great to get some new ones! It helps to keep us sharp mentally. Our unit is spread out all over Northern Afghanistan providing communications services in the most remote areas I have ever witnessed. The lens cleaners were snapped up quick! I saw someone cleaning the face of a screen to a mobile stack of equipment outside so they could read how much signal strength there was during a dust storm.
I am on my third tour here and am quite sure there is no end in sight as we fight a very evil ideology. I do hope that I can be a part of stamping it out to the point that my children will not have to worry about going through what I have gone through the last ten years of my military life.
There are zero American stores here and up until a few weeks ago shops would only accept Euros or Afghanis. I included some Afghan money that is used. 100 Afghanis. Most of the North is under Nato command with a German General running the show. Been a joy being surrounded by Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and others…eating their food and enjoying their customs. After just a few weeks here a German soldier told me that he understood why we beat them in past wars. He stated we work harder and longer hours than any other Army he had ever worked with.
1st Lieutenant Pat, USA, Afghanistan, November 2010
I am sorry for typing this letter, but because I am college educated my penmanship is horrible. The boxes I receive through the Books for Soldiers program are dispersed throughout my brigade. They go to soldiers whom I see are in need of a pick me up. I also go through the Chaplain to see who might not have family members, or haven’t been receiving mail. I appreciate the copies of the Constitution. I will disperse that throughout the Brigade. I have my own personal copy which I keep with my field manuals and regulations.
I am divorced and remarried, a father to six wonderful children. I was married for 13 years but fighting two wars took a real toll on my marriage and even though I fought very hard to keep it alive, it too became a casualty. I have learned to look on the bright side: I have wonderful children who adore me as I do them. This is my fourth trip overseas; two to Iraq and now two to Afghanistan. Another bright note is that I married my childhood sweetheart last year before I left for Afghanistan. We were boyfriend and girlfriend from the time we were 12 until we were 17. We lost contact when I moved to Texas and she was still in West Virginia. After 20 years we reconnected via a high school reunion website, and the skies have been bright every day since.
I sacrifice willingly, much like my father and grandfather. I have a dream that is America, the true America that our forefathers envisioned, much like the America that my grandfather used to tell me stories about. I only pray that my sacrifices will one day lead even in some small way to the return to greatness of this great nation. Our nation has some problems, but I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Sergeant First Class Michael, Combat Aviation Brigade, Afghan National Army trainer, USA, Afghanistan, November 2010
I especially appreciate the copies of the Constitution. My Masonic Lodge back home gives out copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to every 5th grader in Lee County, Alabama in the public and private schools located there including the city schools of Auburn and Opelika. As soon as I opened the box, two Soldiers in my office asked for a copy.
I am the Battalion Chaplain for the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. We are an active duty unit from Ft. Benning, Georgia and will finish up our one year deployment in April 2011. I am originally from Alabama and appreciate your Mule Deer story as I too am a hunter. We don’t have Mule Deer in Alabama but I have killed my share of Whitetail! We can kill one a day in season so I have had my share of venison over the years. I hope to be home on R and R during hunting season so perhaps I will have your luck in hunting!
My Chaplain’s Assistant was thrilled with the cloths. She said they are perfect for a number of uses and was grateful for them.
Captain Mark, USA Chaplain, Balad, Iraq, November 2010
I really appreciate you taking your time to get me a copy of Pressfield’s Gates of Fire. What led me to get this book was that I recently watched the movie “300.” A fellow NCO in my Battery told me that this book will go further into detail about the movie. I have not read his book about the Afghan campaign, but I will have to look into it.
A little about myself; I have been married for only 3 years which is nothing compared to your 43 years and that is awesome compared to the statistics today where not many people stay married for long. It’s definitely hard raising a family of three kids. My oldest son – A.J. (6 years old). Second oldest – Gavin (he just turned 2 years old), and my little princess Ava who is only 4 months old. My wife is great and very understanding about life in the military and that I’m constantly away due to missions that arise frequently, but our marriage is strong and we are very happy together. I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I love to surf, fish, travel, play sports and spend time with the family. I was stationed in Germany for 4.5 years and was able to travel all over Europe and see a different side of the world. It was a great experience and one that I will never forget. I’m currently stationed at Fort Sill, OK, which is where I deployed from.
I’m with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment and we have an Air Defense mission out here which is very significant to keeps troops safe on the ground and to keep our aircraft flying…that’s about as much as I can say about it in a nutshell without getting into information I can’t talk about due to OPSEC (Operational Security).
Staff Sergeant James, USA, Afghanistan, November 2010
I haven’t read Tolkein before but now I’m intrigued. It sounds like you have some nice scenery by your house. I don’t think there is anything more relaxing than enjoying nature. I put the extra copies of the Constitution on the table at work and now they’re all gone! Thanks for the lens cleaners. I’m an aircraft mechanic so I’ll probably use them to clean the grease off my face and actually use them for my glasses. The sand blows around so much I have to clean them a few times every day.
It’s nice to know people back home support us in our mission.
Airman 1st Class Michael, USAF, Afghanistan, November 2010