Keep Your Helmet On!

Be A Part of a Tribute to Fallen Heroes - Help Build the Fallen Soldiers' Bike
Help support the families of our deployed Heroes - Visit Soldiers' Angels' Operation Outreach
Help Our Heroes Help Others - Click Here to visit SOS: KIDS
Nominate your Hero for IWT's "Hero of the Month" - click here for details!
Search Iraq War Today only

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Touching a soldier�s heart

Touching a soldier’s heart

by Hayley Fixler
June 1, 2005

Hayley is a 10-year-old fifth-grader at North Chevy Chase Elementary School. She lives in Silver Spring.

For more information, see: Sending TLC

“I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your life to write me a letter. I appreciate it so much. It’s a little bit weird how such simple gestures make me so happy here. I guess it goes along with the notion of never being forgotten, or the fear of being forgotten, which sometimes overwhelms me here …”

— U.S. soldier fighting in Iraq

That excerpt from a letter just shows how a little support can change the day of a deserving United States soldier overseas.

Just imagine coming “home” after a day of hard work or fighting, and at mail call finding that you have a letter waiting there for you. There are many more soldiers who feel like they are being forgotten and not supported and they need our help. Luckily, there are people helping these special men and women, and they are called Soldiers’ Angels.

The organization is made up of about 32,000 volunteers, or Angels, who give their free time for our troops, mostly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Some Angels have a mother, father, sibling, son/daughter or a friend who is or has been in a war and who has returned to the U.S. depressed because of lack of support. Many Angels however, just feel the need to support their fellow Americans, no matter how they feel about the War in Iraq.

Soldiers’ Angels was founded in 2003 by a California mom whose son, Brandon, was fighting in Iraq. She is a great-niece of Gen. George Patton.

When Brandon received mail and packages during mail call, many of his fellow soldiers did not. Upset by this, he wrote to his mother and she called some friends to ask if they would be willing to write and send care packages to the unhappy soldiers. Her friends agreed to help.

Soon these friends began the nonprofit group they named Soldiers’ Angels. Members of the organization can “adopt” one or more soldiers. Adoption means a person is assigned a soldier to take care of — write letters, send e-mails and send care packages to for as long as they are overseas. Some Angels even support their soldiers when they return to the United States.

With Soldiers’ Angels, soldiers have returned home less depressed and without the forgotten feeling.

My mom and I are members of Soldiers’ Angels, the Letter Writing Team and the E-mail Squad and are very proud to be a part of them. We have officially adopted a soldier and unofficially adopted others — writing them numerous letters and sending care packages.

My mom’s friend, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said, “You don’t know the feeling of opening letters while you are at war.”

A group of fourth-graders from North Carolina wrote to him and he was so happy to get letters that he is going to visit them. Even something as little as a letter can put a smile on a soldier’s face.

“Thank you for everything. You brought a giant smile to my face. … So just about everything shows that people out there care.”
— U.S. soldier fighting in Iraq who is assigned to me and my mother as part of the Soldiers’ Angels Letter Writing Team

Touching a soldier�s heart

Going Home

DALLAS -- A caisson carries the remains of Capt. Troy Cope as an Air Force honor guard follows him to his final resting place during a repatriation ceremony at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery here May 31. Captain Cope's remains were recovered in China after his F-86 Sabre was shot down in 1952 during the Korean War.


At Work in the US Air Force

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Senior Airman Lee Swaney awaits the arrival of a passenger bus and pallets so he can assist in loading people and equipment destined for various bases in Iraq. He is a C-130 Hercules crew chief with the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at a forward-deployed location and is from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Al Gerloff)

OVER IRAQ -- Capt. Eric Alderman keeps an eye out for threats before landing at Balad Air Base, Iraq, during a tactical airlift mission. Captain Alderman is assigned to the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and is deployed from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Carlos Diaz)

NEW YORK -- Six F-16 Fighting Falcons with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team fly in formation over the Statue of Liberty before an air show May 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Josh Clendenen)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Staff Sgt. Thomas Burns watches as Ogar, a military working dog, attempts to take down Staff Sgt. Danielle Carver during training. Six dog handlers are deployed to this forward-deployed location with their dogs. Sergeant Burns and Ogar are deployed from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cheryl L. Toner)

OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM -- Staff Sgt. Robert Prier changes out a KC-135 Stratotanker boom used to move fuel from the tanker during aerial refueling missions. He is a crew chief with the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at a forward-deployed location and is from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joceyln Rich)

WLTX News 19-Everyday Angels

Jennifer cherishes that letter the way you would hold one from a long lost friend near to your heart. But in this case, the woman writing her is someone she's never met.

"She tells me about how the little girl's growing up so fast and about how much she misses and it's just really neat that they share that with you because they share a piece of themselves," she says.

It's that gift that made Jennifer want to join Soldiers' Angels - a non-profit, volunteer group that began as a way for one person to adopt one soldier. She and other volunteers write letters, send cards from local school kids, plus games, food, candy, even hospital clothes.

"It's to make them feel like they're wearing regular clothes instead of hospital gowns," says regional manger Janette Marvin of the hand-sewn shirts and pants.

It's a project that's become so popular with the troops, Soldiers' Angels now gets requests for adoption. In April, they took on a 1,000 person unit in Afghanistan and size, it turns out, isn't the only challenge.

"It's just so hot there," says Janette. "They really need these things to get through the really hot season."

WLTX News 19

In Today's News - Thursday, June 9, 2005

Quote of the Day
“This is free ground. All the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by what your father was. Here you can be something. Here’s a place to build a home. . . It’s the idea that we all have value, you and me . . .”
-- Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

News of Note
New Iraqi staff find guns at London embassy abandoned by Saddam
Troops play pool to break ice in Saddam Hussein's hometown
Mountain of Boxes Rises From the Iraqi Desert
Surgical Team Strives to Keep Patients Alive

Fallen Heroes
2 Marines, 3 soldiers killed in Iraq

Returning Heroes
USS Bonhomme Richard Returns Home Photos
USS Taylor Returns Home Associated Press
Army headed to recruiting shortfall
Senate OKs Brown, ends Pryor filibuster
Bush open to possibly closing Gitmo camp
Iraq leader lauds Shiite, Kurdish militia
Feds charge father, son with al-Qaida link

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Iraq Sunnis warn of charter panel boycott
Gaza settlers begin preparing for move
Syrian activists seek prisoners' release
Hamas ready for dialogue with U.S., Europe

Ananova: War In Iraq
Terror control laws breach rights (according to European group)

The US News: Iraq News
British Iraq war memo not true, says Bush
Iraq's Kurdish president praises Shiite, Kurdish militia as insurgents press attacks
Sunni leaders set demands on Iraq constitution body
Car bombings kill 18, wound scores in Iraq
US-led troops battle insurgents in north Iraq, three US soldiers killed
N Iraq Oil Pipe Resumes Exports; 3.9 Million Bbl Stored - Source

Various Sources
Pentagon holds emergency response training exercise
2 U.S. soldiers killed, 8 wounded in Afghanistan
Trial date for Saddam is not yet set

Fox News
Bush Pick OK'd
California Terror Bust
Feds probe possible terror cell
Video: Muslim Leader Defends Men
Video: 4 Men Nabbed in Terror Probe
'Not Even Close' - Bush: Gulag, Gitmo talk 'absurd'
Video: Bush Interview, Pt. 1
Video: Bush Interview, Pt. 2
Video: Bush Interview, Pt. 3
Army Recruiting Likely to Fall Short for 2005
GOP Slams Dean Remarks
One of the 1st Maps of America Sells for $1M
Iraqi Pres. Backs Shiite Militia
House Takes Up U.N. Reform
Bomb Explodes Outside Ecuador Citibank
Suspicious Passenger Sparks Amtrak Scare

Department of Defense
Rumsfeld Tours Joint Warfare Center — Story
U.S. Marines May Pre-position Equipment
Myers: Cooperation Key Against Extremists — Story
Adaptable Tactics Help Defeat 'Thinking Enemy' — Story
Bush, Blair Share Common Commitments — Story
Stars and Stripes 'Heroes' to Honor Troops - Story

Mountain of Boxes Rises From the Iraqi Desert — Story
Surgical Team Strives to Keep Patients Alive — Story
Maritime Security is Critical for Security — Story
Reservists Provide Vital Warfighting Training — Story Photos

Troops Clear Unexploded Ordnance from Farm
Engineers Upgrade Baghdad Power Grid

'Take Charge' Marine Embraces Opportunities — Story

Band Rocks for Wounded Troops — Story
AT&T Joins 'America Supports You' - Story
'Statues' Pay Tribute to Fallen
Chicago Police Thank Troops

Nominee Charts Way Forward in Iraq
IEDs, Indirect Fire Kills Soldiers
Convoy Attacked; 2 Marines Killed
Najaf Teaching Hospital Improves
Iraq Daily Update
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghan Forces Nab Insurgents
Afghan Army Officer to Visit U.S.
Terrorist Killed in Failed Ambush
Defense Leaders' Views on Afghanistan
Enduring Freedom Marks 3 Years
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Myers Discusses 'Gitmo' Facility
Chairman Talks Media Focus
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Actions Must Be 'Above Reproach'
Officials Work to Improve Tricare
Rumsfeld Visits Bangkok Photos
Pace Discusses Marine Legacy
New Launch Date for NSPS
BRAC Can Benefit Communities

Officials Identify Casualties — Story

from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Today in History
1628 - Thomas Morton becomes the first person deported from what is now the U.S. (in Massachusetts).
1732 - James Oglethorpe receives a royal charter for Georgia.
1822 - Charles Graham receives the first patent for false teeth.
1862 - Battle of Port Republic.
1863 - Battle of Brandy Station, Va.
1898 - China leases Hong Kong's New Territories to Britain for 99 years.
1934 - The first Donald Duck cartoon is released ("The Wise Little Hen").
1940 - Norway surrenders to Germany.
1949 - Georgia Neese Clark becomes the first woman Treasurer of the U.S.
1954 - During the Senate-Army hearings, Joseph Welch asks Senator Joseph McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
1959 - In Groton, CT, the first ballistic missile submarine is launched (USS George Washington).
1969 - Warren Burger is confirmed as U.S. Chief Justice.
1980 - The Soyuz T-2 returns to Earth.
1982 - Israel wipes out Syrian SAM missiles in the Bekaa Valley.
1984 - NASA launches the Intelsat V - it failed.
1985 - The U.S.S.R.'s Vega 1 deposits its lander on Venus.
1988 - Attorney General Meese orders Joseph Doherty, bartender and IRA member, deported to the U.K.
1997 - The British lease on the New Territories in Hong Kong expires

1640 - Leopold I, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire
1916 - Robert S. McNamara U.S. Secretary of Defense / head of World Bank
1930 - Marvin Kalb, educator / newscaster (CBS/NBC)
1934 - Donald Duck

68 - Nero Roman Emperor, suicide
1870 - Charles Dickens, author

Reported Missing in Action
Dale, Charles A., US Army (AZ); OV1C shot down over Vinh Bihn
Demmon, David S., US Army (CA); OV1C shot down over Vinh Bihn

Bush, Robert Ira, USAF (WI); A1E shot down, KIA, body not recovered
Shorack, Theodore James, Jr., USAF (OR); A1E shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Holden, Elmer Larry, USAF (OK); HU3E shot down over water; KIA, body not recovered
Locker, James Douglas, USAF (OH); HU3E shot down over water; KIA, body not recovered
Rittichier, Jack C., USCG (OH); HU3E shot down over water; KIA, body not recovered
Schmidt, Walter R., Jr., USMC (NY); A4E shot down, known ejected and wounded, presumed POW
Yeend, Richard C., USAF (AL); HU3E shot down over water; KIA, body not recovered

Elliott, Andrew J., US Army (CA); OH6A crashed
Hilbrich, Barry W., US Army SF (TX); O1F disappeared
Ryder, John L., USAF (MI): O1F disappeared