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Soldiers would love late gifts of candy, coffee, Cottonelle
The News Tribune - Tacoma, WA ^ | December 28th, 2003 | MICHAEL GILBERT

Posted on 12/28/2003 9:23:47 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4

NEAR DULUIYAH, Iraq - Christmas has come and gone, but any Stryker brigade soldier will tell you that any day is a good day for a care package.

But what's in the perfect care package?

Soldiers typically tick off a list of personal hygiene stuff - baby wipes, shampoo, toothpaste, foot powder, nice soap, and razors, electric and otherwise. But such items are often easy to find over here.

Then there are the snacks - everybody's got their favorite.

"What about those Oreos you can only get at Christmas?" said Spc. Jashia Davis. "And a big box full of Twix candy. That's my morale candy. Please!"

Nobody said it had to be health food.

"Starbursts. Twizzlers. Flaming Hot Cheetohs," said Sgt. Shane Dowtin. "That's about it. That's all I need."

And then there's the magic wand items.

Kenneth Ochs, a civilian contractor from Tacoma who maintains the communications relay trucks for the brigade's command post, knew right away what he'd prefer if expense, shelf life and logistics were no issue.

"A big old steak. Frozen. Just get it here. I'll eat it raw," he said.

"And make sure you throw in a pizza."

Sgt. Theresa Spicer's first thought would likewise be tough to send via the mail.

"Popeyes" chicken, she said. "And Coca-Cola." Pajamas would also be good, she said.

Lt. Sean Finnerty said that to be just right, a package from home has to have a surprise. Like the super comfy $20 socks his wife sent.

"The perfect care package is some unexpected, unseen, unheard-of item that you yourself didn't ask for and wouldn't think of," he said. "Because if you give someone a list and you get all that, then you may as well have gone on nippernet (that's Army slang for nonsecure Internet) and ordered it yourself."

And what fun is that?

His buddy Master Sgt. Travis Cherry agreed:

"I like to be surprised. Actually, I was looking for a one-way ticket out of here."

Drum roll, please.

But seriously.

"A taste of home would be good," Cherry said. "Good coffee."

Finnerty had another idea.

"I would very much like a conjugal visit. ... Even prisoners get a conjugal visit."

He thought some more.

"OK, here's one," he said. "That ... flavor syrup you put in your ... coffee."

What kind?

"White mocha."

Capt. Tom Denis likewise would appreciate a touch of home.

"And send it in one of those sealing bags, because it gets here fresh," he said. "Me, personally, I love pound cake in the morning.

"My wife bakes pound cake, puts it in those sealed bags and sends it over. I open it here, and I still smell the pound cake. It's fresh.


Capt. Kenneth Mitchell goes for "those sour gummi candies with the white powder on 'em."

It doesn't all have to be edible. He got a metal engraver to mark his name on belongings. Books are good. So are magazines.

"Toilet paper is always good, the nice soft kind," he added. "The Cottonelle with aloe, in the little green package. We get toilet paper - it's not like we're out or anything - but the Army kind is scratchy."

Sgt. Joshua McKeown got one last year from a Rotary Club from his hometown in Florida. It was his second straight Christmas in Korea, away from his wife. Thursday made it three in a row.

But this box had it all - the toiletries, protein bars, powdered drinks, pens and letter-writing stuff. Another one of those would be great, he said, but with one additional item: "a day off."

The Evergreen State is decidedly under represented in the decor of the Stryker brigade's dining facilities in Kuwait and Iraq.

Back at Camp Udairi, the brigade's staging point in northern Kuwait before it moved north the first week of December, the mess hall was decorated with state flags. Washington's was not among them.

The big brigade chow hall at Camp Pacesetter, near Duluiyah, doesn't have the flag motif.

But the small eating area at the Strykers' 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment's Eagle Base near Balad does. And it, too, is missing the home state flag.

It's confusing enough that they're both the 3rd Brigade, but they're also both Strykers - or Strikers.

The Fort Lewis-based 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division works closely with the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colo., in the big sweep under way in Samarra.

The Fort Carson unit is sometimes known as the Strikers, thanks to a previous brigade commander who brought his old radio call sign - Striker 6 - with him to his new job.

The Fort Lewis brigade, of course, is known as the Army's first Stryker brigade, named for their new eight-wheeled vehicles.

They solve the problem by putting their brigade's more traditional nickname - Arrowhead - front and center.

Michael Gilbert:

•For regular reports on Fort Lewis' Stryker brigade, including the latest stories by News Tribune embedded reporter Michael Gilbert, sign up for your Stryker Brigade e-mail newsletter by registering at

(Published 12:01AM, December 28th, 2003)

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; US: Illinois; US: Mississippi; US: Washington; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 3rdbde2id; arrowheadbde; carepackage; carepackages; sbct; stryker; supportourtroops; wheeledarmor
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Stryker Brigade Combat Team Tactical Studies Group (Chairborne)

1 posted on 12/28/2003 9:23:48 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; Calpernia; xzins; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; af_vet_rr; ALOHA RONNIE; ...
2 posted on 12/28/2003 9:26:06 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4 (It is cruel to tell motorized rifle types “Damn, that Stryker looks like a BTR!”)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4; SAMWolf; Ragtime Cowgirl
Finnerty had another idea.

"I would very much like a conjugal visit. ... Even prisoners get a conjugal visit."

Gotta love the humor of American Soldiers Ping!
3 posted on 12/28/2003 9:27:23 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
bump for a care package reminder
4 posted on 12/28/2003 9:30:35 AM PST by secret garden (politically incorrect and proud of it)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
I'm going to email this article to family and friends..however.......!

I've never sent a care package before. Could someone post instructions on how to wrap properly, where to send, etc. Thanks!!!!!

5 posted on 12/28/2003 9:35:45 AM PST by LisaMalia (Buckeye Fan since birth!!)
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To: snippy_about_it
Notice how it's the things that we take for granted taht are missed most.
6 posted on 12/28/2003 9:37:36 AM PST by SAMWolf (This Christmas I got a battery with a note saying, "toy not included.")
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
My brother-in-law is currently in Iraq flying helicopter air cover in support of raids targeting pro-Saddam loyalists.

Since his days consist of periods of stress between periods of sheer boredom, he requested games that they could play between what I call "missions" and what my more irreverant brother-in-law calls "raping and pillaging the enemy".

My wife also mailed off some boxes of his favorite childhood cereal that he still likes.......You don't want to know what is is.

7 posted on 12/28/2003 9:42:26 AM PST by Polybius
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To: LisaMalia
Care Package Information
8 posted on 12/28/2003 9:42:39 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4 (It is cruel to tell motorized rifle types “Damn, that Stryker looks like a BTR!”)
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To: snippy_about_it; Darksheare
HEY! I didn't see Darksheare's coffee on this list.
9 posted on 12/28/2003 9:49:09 AM PST by SAMWolf (This Christmas I got a battery with a note saying, "toy not included.")
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
LOL. I may just make one of those myself and send it over there. :)
10 posted on 12/28/2003 9:52:25 AM PST by 4mycountry (12/14/03 - - Hello liberal friends! Care to eat some delicious CROW today? Mwahahaha!!)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
I am hoping our soldier got his package in time for Christmas. We are waiting to hear back from him. Maybe we will go ahead and send another package without waiting to hear back.

Does anyone know the turnaround time for packages to make it to Iraq? We sent ours on the 5th, thinking it would be enough time. Gosh I hope he got it!
11 posted on 12/28/2003 9:53:16 AM PST by eyespysomething (Another American optimist!)
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To: LisaMalia; Cannoneer No. 4; All
CLICK HERE for 03/22/03 Department of Defense
Press Release.
To bolster force protection, the general public is urged not to send unsolicited mail, care packages or donations to service members forward deployed unless you are a family member, loved one or personal friend.

Please DO NOT post any military snail mail addresses on
public internet message boards, forums etc.
This puts Military personnel at risk
and often causes them problems
receiving packages from their family and friends.

“Operation USO Care Package”
Delivers Needed Items and Personal Messages to
Service Members Deployed Overseas

You, Too, Can Show a Service Member You Care
With thousands of U.S. troops deployed around the world, still actively engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom and the fight against terrorism, the United Service Organizations (USO) is offering a unique way for individuals and corporations to let our nation's defenders know we haven't forgotten them. “Operation USO Care Package,” sponsored by the USO World Headquarters and administered by the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro), enables individuals to write a personal message and financially support care packages that will be delivered to service members participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Because of heightened security, individuals can no longer send letters and packages to 'Any Service Member.' Operation USO Care Package is approved by the Department of Defense, providing a safe, easy way for individuals and corporations to show their prayers and thoughts are with our men and women in uniform.
Corporations may also contribute to this program through financial contributions, items donated in bulk for the care packages, or through implementation of an employee participation program. AT&T is a major supporter of this program, providing a complimentary toll free number for individuals to call for further information (1-866-USO-GIVE) and donating thousands of prepaid international phone cards to be included in the packages for the troops. “Our men and women in uniform give so much to the country, we wanted to give something in return as a token of our appreciation that would allow their separation from their loved ones to be a little easier,” according to Paul McQuillan, Defense Sales Vice President, AT&T Government Solutions.
“These Care Packages help the USO bring a touch of home to our men and women in uniform,” said Edward A. Powell, President and CEO of USO World Headquarters. The care packages contain an assortment of items the military have specifically requested, such as prepaid international calling cards, disposable cameras, toiletries, and sunscreen. They also include greetings from the American public, transcribed onto official “Operation USO Care Package” post cards by volunteers and USO staff members.
“Operation USO Care Package will continue for as long as our country is at war,” according to Elaine Rogers, USO-Metro President. “This program is possible because of the support from individuals, corporations and organizations that donate funds to sponsor these care packages.”
Individuals and corporations can learn more about how to get involved and support “Operation USO Care Package” through donations of product or funds, by calling 866-USO-GIVE.
  • Individuals may donate $25, which goes toward sponsorship of an “Operation USO Care Package.” Personal greetings may be forwarded to our post office box with the contribution. USO will transcribe the message onto an official “Operation USO Care Package” postcard, available for preview here.
  • Corporations may make a tax-deductible financial donation to support “Operation USO Care Package.” A $25 donation goes toward sponsorship of one care package. Each care package will recognize corporate sponsors.
  • Corporations may donate items listed on the “Service Members’ Wish List” to USO-Metro, many of which may be branded with your corporate logo. These items must be sent in bulk from the manufacturer. Please call (703) 696-2628 for advance coordination of deliveries.
  • Corporations may delegate an employee to serve as its “Operation USO Care Package” liaison. The liaison will communicate your corporate involvement and enlist employees to participate. Employee participants could sponsor an individual care package, which would include their personal message. Corporations interested in participating in this option or willing to match their employees’ support should call (703) 696-2628 for further information.
Please send all checks and personal greetings for “Operation USO Care Package” to:
USO-Operation USO Care Package
C/O Pentagon Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 19221
Alexandria, VA 22320-9998
Due to the threat of anthrax following September 11, DoD suspended its practice of forwarding personal care packages and correspondence by the American public to “Any Service Member.” In its place, USO created a care package program. Through sponsorship of an “Operation USO Care Package,” an individual’s personal greeting will be transcribed onto an official postcard and included in the care package going to a service member.
Travel Size Personal Items* Miscellaneous Items*
Disposable Razors Playing Cards and Board Games
Toothbrushes Compact Discs
Toothpaste Current Movies on DVD
Tissues Crossword Puzzle Books
Shampoo/Conditioner Disposable Cameras
Shower Gel Pre-paid Global Calling Cards
Sunscreen Stationery and Journals
Baby Wipes Sunglasses
Hand Lotion Small Footballs, Softballs
Lip Balm CD/DVD Cases with Zipper
Cotton Swabs Individually Wrapped Snack Items
Sewing Kits Shoe Polish Kits
*Many of these items may be imprinted with your corporate logo and /or the USO logo.

12 posted on 12/28/2003 9:54:31 AM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Happy New Year!)
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To: SAMWolf

FYI - you can still get used gameboys on ebay pretty cheap too. Even the old black and white systems are better than nothing sometimes.
I always include flavored powdered creamer also, especially chocolate.
Lots of Jolly Ranchers, tootsie rolls and hard candy.
13 posted on 12/28/2003 9:57:26 AM PST by MudPuppy (Young Marines - Strengthening the lives of America's Youth)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
I've got 4 huge boxes packed in the other room ready to go out but I've hesitated to send them. I don't know if they'll arrive in Iraq before my guys are transferred out. I haven't heard a word about them rotating out yet but the rumors over here aren't clear who is going and when. I'd hate to send all that stuff and have it either arrive the day before they leave (and they'd either have to pack it or give it away which wouldn't be too bad) or worse, have it arrive the day after they leave and have the whole thing shipped back to me for another $100 in postage.
14 posted on 12/28/2003 10:11:52 AM PST by McGavin999
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
Thanks for the info!
15 posted on 12/28/2003 10:12:29 AM PST by LisaMalia (Buckeye Fan since birth!!)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4; snippy_about_it; VOA; Coop; AntiJen; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; ...
NEAR DULUIYAH, Iraq - Christmas has come and gone, but any Stryker brigade soldier will tell you that any day is a good day for a care package.

But what's in the perfect care package?

New 'customers'! Stryker brigade, meet a few FReepers who care. (^:

16 posted on 12/28/2003 10:34:31 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ( "Our military is full of the finest people on the face of the earth." ~ Pres. Bush, Baghdad)
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To: eyespysomething
I also sent a few shoe boxes around the 5th(from Fla). The guy at the Post Office said the boxes would first go to NY where they would then be put into military mail. He believed military mail was getting thru pretty good and took about 10 to 12 days. So, I, too, was hoping the boxes would get there before Christmas. We can only hope.
17 posted on 12/28/2003 10:35:41 AM PST by 4integrity (AJ)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
thanks for post...I've got to get something in the mail for somebody who deployed
to Afghanistan just before Chirstmas.
18 posted on 12/28/2003 10:41:44 AM PST by VOA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; conspiratoristo
Is this "do not send unsolicited...'to any service member' " still in effect? USO is a good option too, of course...

(*ping* to paul...and Merry Christmas!)

19 posted on 12/28/2003 11:40:46 AM PST by 88keys
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Support our troops!
20 posted on 12/28/2003 12:43:05 PM PST by blackie
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