Saturday, March 13, 2010

I am humbled to say thanks to you!

While this Chaplain doesn't mention our cards, note how many packages he receives—wow! No wonder he doesn't have room to speak of every box. The previous chaplain he talks about was a contact we supported as we're part of the grand total of his boxes as well. Go America!!

Dear Friends and Supporters of the [X] Engineer Battalion and the US Army,

What a gorgeous Saturday today, and while it is nice outside, I felt the need to send you a newsletter to let you know what is the latest of my unit, which is spread throughout the Eastern mountains of Afghanistan.  We are in our fifth month of deployment and to date we are so thankful that no significant combat injuries have afflicted our Soldiers--I say "Praise God," actually!  The lives of over 600 Soldiers are our keenest asset and my Chapel staff work hard to safeguard the sanctity and welfare of all our Soldiers.  I now think of the many hundred care packages that you have sent to us over these past five months, in the last Battle Update Brief, which is given every Saturday, I reported to my Commander that to date we had received 1,486 care packages from wonderful Americans from all over the country--from California to Connecticut!  And we are only into our 5th month!  For many who recall, Chaplain [X] told me that before he gave me the reigns to the Engineer chaplain post he had 1,997 care packages--he indicated to me how disappointed he was not to have received the coveted 2k packages!  Both teams are excited to spread throughout our unit care packages consisting of shampoo, soap, toothpaste--candy, crackers, cookies, and other nifty foods (Ramon noodles and Cracker Jacks).  Toys, games, computer gear, lamps--these things, Folks, have made a huge difference to the lives of Soldiers.  We had given a printer to the Medical corp here, and what might have been months to get a computer through military channels, took 3 weeks for it to come through our "supply channel."  Your dedication and devotion to the Army mission is so appreciated, and I am humbled to say thanks to you!

I just went on my R&R leave, and I chose to spend it in Newbury, England--home of a duty station I served in the 1980's.  The base has since closed, but there is  a great remnant of it that I got to see and get all emotional about. 

Now I must inform you that my Battalion is moving to FOB [X], and that isn't too far away from FOB [X], but we aren't coming back to [X] at all.  I would like to ask you, if you wish to continue your awesome work of caring for the men and women of the Battalion (all 600 people), to please begin sending such packages to the following address [X].  .  If you should happen to send packages to OE from today, the post office will re-route the packages to FOB [X]—so they won’t be lost or wasted away.

As I am the chaplain of a rather large unit of Soldiers who daily go out into the hostile Afghan mountains to secure roads, I think of you as a great assistant to my work of building unit morale and welfare by your sacrificial giving (and love)!  Just now, there was a Soldier who came in looking for Shaving crème and wet wipes—we were able to give this Soldier both, with YOUR thanks.  In many ways, I believe that I have the best job in the Army:  distributing care packages on YOUR behalf to many fellow Americans!  Thanks a lot.  Now I wish you God’s blessing and renewed peace and joy as we enter into the Spring months.  While Spring is an excellent mercy from a brutal winter, this time of year sees a tantamount escalation of violence from the Taliban and rogue al-queda factions roving throughout the country.  Please pray for your Army above all else.

I must go now and prepare for worship services at our Chapel tomorrow.  I just got a brand new colleague and he will preach in the morning chapel service while I will do so in the evening.

Very best wishes to you all!

Your friend,
Chaplain (CPT) B.W.

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