Friday, April 30, 2010

LETTER: 515th Appreciates Packages

Dear Socorro Supporters 515
c/o Disabled American Veterans

I would like to thank you for the package you sent. My name is SSG Kass. I am a weapon specialist for TF 515. My battalion is currently in southern Iraq. While my mission occasionally calls for me to travel to other FOBs the majority of the time I stay here on Bucca and assist the other elements preparing for patrol. This means my shop is usually the last stop before a convoy leaves the wire. That’s how your gift ended up with me. You see every day I stop at the chapel and pick up a care package. I put it out at my shop for the troops to plunder through before they head out. It gives them all a chance to find entertainment, toiletries and most importantly, snacks.
I never cease enjoying the smiles on the soldiers’ faces, I wish I could share it all with you somehow. When there is time I will chat for a few minutes with them. It seems to be custom to show off to each other what was gotten. Sometimes the snacks become a meal because their mission overlapped chow hall hours. I have been told by some your boxes are their favorite part of the day. A few elements will pool toys and hard candy to toss to the local children.
You may not receive many thank-you’s, it appears to be a dying courtesy, but I wanted you to know that what you do really mean a lot to these soldiers, I have had many troops who would never receive a piece of mail if it wasn’t for the people like you. Could you imagine being away from home for an entire year and not getting one letter? Even with today’s email and phones I just don’t think the old-fashioned care package can be replaced.
What is more is your show of support. I read an article last week in which today’s troops were criticized for having it too easy. The writer remarked that previous soliders didn’t have armor. How interesting I thought. I would have liked to remind the writer that we have to carry that armor. Also we need armor because the weapons used to kill us are that much more deadly. Gone are the days of firefights and ambushes. No, today we drive around waiting to explode. We drive up and down the same roads because that is what we are told to do and the enemy knows our schedules and routes. They put out hidden bombs that just don’t hurt us but instead rip our bodies to shreds.
There is no platoon of enemy combatants to return fire on and there are no anti-aircraft guns to have bombed. There are only millions of individual people who may or may not want to kill you and a very confining set of rules of engagement. Here hesitating may kill you but not hesitating may lead to a military prison. At least that is how soldiers feel.
The good news is that Iraq is much quieter now. I truly hope and pray it will be a successful nation in which its people can have a family and raise them in peace.
So thank you for your gift. Thanks for your support and reminding us we are not forgotten. What you have done for us is priceless. I can never repay you but I will never forget you.

SSG Melissa Kass
NM National Guard

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