Portions from an email from an Army Colonel in Iraq, dated 30 Oct 08:
… I wanted to make sure I said thank you to all of you that have so generously given your time and in many cases care packages to make this feel more like home. We’ve been here just over 13 months and should be rotating out 23 December enroute to Ft. [X] and our families.
For those who sent items for us to give to the families in Southern Iraq - thank you, it has made a difference in the lives of many. I whipped together two slides (see attached) with a few photos of some of the things we’ve been able to engage with.
Our mission has been Sustainment - in other words we provide the logistics and Armed Escorts throughout Southern Iraq for both U.S. Forces and our Coalition partners - read Polish, El Salvadorian, Bosnian, Georgian, Australian forces and many others. We have hundreds of trucks on the road every night. For security reasons I won’t go into all the details, but I will say - you can all be proud of what this Brigade has done since arriving early last Oct.
I’ve spent many days either on the road or flying from base to base. I was often gone for extended periods of time, but would almost always come back to a couple of packages and a box full of letters, flyers/cards.*
I don’t have a lot of personal needs so would usually have the boxes taken to the Chapel to be made available to all soldiers on our base. Many don’t have a lot of family members telling them they’re proud of them or a loved one who signed them up for on a site like Anysoldier.com (my wife did this) and your gifts and letters were always well received - passed around and shared.
When we could, we would try and at least send a thank you note to each of you. I apologize if you did not receive one. There were also many times a box would come in with many letters* (some of which had emails which I’m using today) and we would pass them out to soldiers.
Please know that over-all, we are making a difference here. We all want to be home with our loved ones, but rushing home before Iraqis are able to take over for themselves I believe would jeopardize everything we’ve done. They have come so far in the last year I am truly amazed, but they aren’t quite there yet - but soon. There are so many outside powers that want this to fail, it’s heart wrenching. The people we’ve met are for the most part not political nor are they terrorists. They just want a sense of normalcy for their families - and we want that too.