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Who’s Protecting You?

Who’s Protecting You?

I am just starting Death in the Delta.  I’m already enjoying it.  I’m reading Fearless on my Kindle but I’m not allowed to bring it to work.  It is a true story about Adam Brown who was part of Seal Team 6.  What those guys do is insane.  I’m a city girl, but I enjoy the boondocks when I can. I am from the Twin Cities back in Minnesota.  Everyone fishes up there!  The crazy thing is I’ve never been fishing.  Some of the guys I am deployed with plan on taking me when I get home.  They are convinced I will love it.  Wolves, Grizzlies and Mountain lions….that’s insane!  I can’t even imagine having to worry about that kind of stuff.  I’ve lived in the cities my whole life.  The only thing I need to worry about is hitting a deer with my car every now and then. I’ll tell you, it’s hard to ignore that stuff here (Islamic Fundamentalism).  I actually work in a prison.  We are supposed to turn it over to the ANA (Afghan National Army) at some point.  At times, it’s hard to be a bigger person.  I know we’re doing the right thing here and treating them humanely, but knowing what some of these guys have done or what they were capable of is ridiculous.  Once I get back home I hope to become a police officer in Minneapolis.  I have such a heart for protecting and serving others and I really look forward to that line of work.  I know it will be a difficult job, but I’m up for the challenge.

(unknown rank) Ashley, 257th MP Company, Sabalu-Harrison, Afghanistan, August 2012

Many wanted to express their gratitude for the copies of the Constitution.  It is surprising to see how many people don’t truly know what we raised our hands to protect. I grew up in Arizona where hiking and camping is common, but fishing or any other water activities is limited.  Fly fishing sounds like fun.  Someday I want to learn how.  When I was stationed in South Dakota I wanted to go down and visit Yellowstone but I only made it to Devil’s Tower.  It was breathtaking.  I am and always will be a country girl from a small town, so it is nice to hear that others also enjoy the boondocks.  Have wolves and grizzlies always been a problem where you live?  Before I left Arizona we had problems with Mountain Lions coming down into the valley.  No wolves…yet.  People from home keep us going by reminding us why we work so hard everyday.  Without human interaction there is no passion to making a better world.  You have re-sparked that passion.

Airman 1st Class Erika, USAF, Afghanistan, August 2012

I want to take a minute to thank you for the package that you sent me. It really means a lot and is greatly appreciated! Things like these packages help lift up moral and the books help us “escape” for a short time. I am from Ohio, and like you an avid outdoorsman. Sadly no wolves in Ohio but I am doing my part to help thin the coyote population. Can’t wait to get back home to pick that back up! Again I want to thank you and wish you and your family nothing but the best!

Jessie (rank unknown), USA, Afghanistan, September 2012

It’s good to know there are people who are out there supporting the troops in any way possible. I shared some of the contents of the box with the fellow Soldiers I work with. The microfiber cloths were a hit. Our eye protection gets so dirty so fast here so they are very useful.  I have never been to Montana but I do love the countryside and wilderness. Do you see the grizzlies and wolves often? Have you ever had an issue with them? Wow 175 pound wolf sounds big! I hope the fires don’t get near your home. I will be driving cross-country in the summer of 2013 and I am looking forward to stopping at as many locations I can on the way. Yellowstone Park will definitely be one of them. I concur with what you have said. It is great to know we still have supporters. I have seen in the news recently that they are calling the Afghan war “The Forgotten War” it’s sad to hear that, there are so many Soldiers here. Thank you again for the package, I greatly appreciated it.

1st Lt. Charles, MEDOPS BATTLE CAPTAIN, CJTF-1 Surgeon Cell, USA, Afghanistan, Sept 2012

It’s finally October.  We’ve made it through Labor Day and football season has started!  We tried to pay attention to the Olympics and enjoyed picking on our coalition (NATO) partners as American’s continued to run up the medal count. We have passed the halfway point, or I should say I have.  All of my Soldiers, Airmen and contractors are doing 6 months so most of them have rotated out.  Most of my augumentees have changed over as well.  My team is now 19 strong (an increase of 5 from last month), composed of males and females, Air Force, Army and civilian contractors that all work for me.  As of today, I am over 7 months complete with another five to go.  150 days remaining which means I am about 60% done. The temperatures have definitely changed with the season.  It is still warm during the day, high in the upper 70s, but at night it’s now getting down to the lower 50s.  We spend most of our time in a valley and the surrounding mountains got their first snow the other day.  It’s all melted already, but it was great looking at it for two days.  Only a matter of time before we get our first flakes here.  I enjoy the snow as I am a Michigan man, but seeing that our unit is stationed in Florida it will interesting to see how everyone reacts to this winter.

Dave, USA, rank unknown, job unknown, Afghanistan, October 2012

Everyone in my section was interested in the books you sent.  There was a book in nearly every hand before the box flaps had a chance to swing shut!  I grabbed Eagle Against the Sun and had the chance to read it during the dead time on some recent travels.  I have read about some of the Pacific battles previously, but this comprehensive account put everything else in context.  Additionally, I thought the author gave a fascinating account of the military, political and economic actions that led up to the war.  I’ve put the book back in circulation around the camp. I hope to read some of the other books you sent once they come back around.  I know several of the guys are reading the Revolutionary War books.  I heard them debating whether Karzai was an Afghan George Washington.  The consensus was NO.  Likewise I know Bernard Lewis’ books are making some service members smarter about Middle Eastern history and culture. I am fascinated by your heritage.  I’m honored to meet a descendent of Lighthorse Harry Lee.  I also have ancestors who fought on both sides of the Civil War and on the patriot side of the Revolutionary War.  None of them were famous (ed. note: most of mine weren’t either) My wife is determined we should retire in Idaho when my military career is over.  Maybe my son and I can figure out how to fly fish.  He wants to earn the fly fishing merit badge for the Boy Scouts.  Thanks again for your continued support of service members in Afghanistan.  I know public opinion has moved on to other issues, but we still have a couple of more years before we can wind this war down.  I agree that we need to defeat violent Islamist fundamentalism and believe we are making progress here in Afghanistan.

John (unknown rank), USAF, Afghanistan, October 2012

This is my first dealing with Books for Soldiers and I am very impressed.  It is wonderful to learn that people at home still care about what is happening here.  The books will become a welcomed retreat from the daily grind. I am 24 years old and grew up between Baltimore and D.C.  I graduated from West Point in 2010 and commissioned as an officer in the Armor Branch.  I am currently assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry – “Garry Owen” – in 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart GA.  I am an avid reader of Military History but I have yet to read any of the books you sent!  I am particularly interested in the Class of 1846 book I have just begun to read and have already found parallels to my class of 2010.   I married my wife Chelsea last June and we just celebrated our first anniversary before I deployed in early August.  Chelsea is living with her family in Maryland and is in her last year of student teaching before becoming a full time special education teacher.  I am anxiously looking forward to returning to her in just over 10 months. September 17 we celebrated Constitution Day.  I actually made a comment to my Platoon Sergeant about how more soldiers should read the Constitution since they took an oath to defend it.  The copies of the Constitution you sent couldn’t have come at a better time.  Please trust me, leading any group or organization on any level is a huge challenge and responsibility, particularly when it is an organization like a church group where no one has to listen.  The most effective and most difficult leadership tool is getting people to do something because they want to do it, not because you tell them to.  In order to master this, I have become a devoted student of leadership.  It’s even harder when I don’t want to do what I’ve been ordered to do, but I need to make my men buy into it or they will not commit and failing to commit is dangerous in Kandahar City. Fortunately, I don’t have much in the way of wild animals to add to my list of dangers.  Most of the animals I see are goats, sheep and camels.  They are always in a herd or flock and tended by shepherds.  I have met many pleasant Afghans, but the system of morals and values in this culture if fundamentally different than our own.  I don’t see us being compatible.  I certainly have not met one Afghan I would consider a friend.  It is also hard to build friendships with on hand extended while the other holds a loaded weapon because no one really trusts each other.  But this has been a positive experience so far and I am beginning to see it as a long term one, too.

1st Lieutenant Bradley, Garry Owen Squadron, 7th Cavalry, USA, Afghanistan, October 2012  

I am a HHC (Headquarters) Company Executive officer and have roughly 220 soldiers in my company.  About 10 of us are avid readers and will be passing around the books you sent.  I am kind of jealous about those bears and wolves you have wandering around.  I am a hunter and have killed a black bear but never a Griz.  I need to go up north some day and get one.  I appreciated the cleaning cloths and the copies of the Constitution.  I handed them all out….no problem.  More than any of the ‘stuff’, we appreciate the support. Knowing there are people like you out there make the job a lot easier.

Captain William, 3rd Infantry Division, USA, Afghanistan, October 2012

This letter is late because I have been moving around a bit.  Glad I didn’t lose your letter.  I enjoyed the package very much, specially the classic books you sent.  They will go great with the rest of my collection.  I also liked the copies of the Constitution.  I use the lens cleaning cloths to clean my weapon, eye pro (?), computer and DVD player. I have always wanted to go to Montana.  I find the area fascinating.  One day I’ll go there and visit Yellowstone Park.  It’s on my agenda.

(rank unknown) Angel, Task Force Dragons, USA, Afghanistan, October 2012  

I am a Chaplain (Captain) here at Task Force Gunslinger on FOB (forward operating base) Sharana.  I greatly appreciate your package of amenities, books and treats.  I have made them available to our Soldiers, while keeping a stockpile of candy suitable to pass out at Halloween.  The mission here is vital.  We provide air support to ground troops with Apache Helicopters and conduct other missions.  We are located on a mountain top.  Thankfully we have not had issues with being attacked like some of the other FOBs.  What your donations do is make the fight much more bearable.  We do not live in as harsh conditions as many of the movies portray.  We live in tents and have hot food at a dining facility, but there is a fight against life becoming drab.  Treats from the states keep life more bearable.  Passing out the contents of care packages helps me to relate to the troops in a positive way. By the way, I will be 43 in February.  I don’t hunt, but I grew up in Michigan where I had my share of venison and salmon.  We are stationed in Germany now, but I just came from the Seattle area, stationed at Fort Lewis.

Captain Steven (Chaplain), HHC, 101st Airborne, FOB Sharana, USA, Afghanistan, October 2012

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