Doing Your Part

Perhaps you are an old soldier like me, feeling like you're AWOL or perhaps you are simply a patriotic supporter of our troops. So you are asking yourself, what can I do that would really help out our troops. The answer is quite simple. Send a little piece of home over to them in the form of a care-package.

Initially when our troops were deployed, the Department of Defense had issued a "no care-package policy". This was because the infrastructure was not in place to handle the burden of transporting all of these bundles. Things have since opened up and you may now send a package to our troops.

Well the first question you have to ask yourself, is "who should I send this package to?" There are several ways for you to locate a deserving troop who's been deployed. If you happen to live in an area where a Reserve or National Guard unit has actually been deployed overseas, you can contact that unit directly. Whenever a unit deploys anywhere, they always leave someone behind as a "rear guard". Check in your phone book in the blue pages under the United States Government listings (in some places, National Guard units will be listed under the State government listings) and give the unit in question a call. They may be able to provide you with addresses for your care-package.

If this approach won't work for you, here is a registry of deployed soldiers to which you could send your package.

The next pressing question is "what should I send?" That's actually a very good question. Most civilians are unaware of the living conditions in the field and most veterans haven't been deployed to a desert environment. Here is a site with some guidelines. Basically think of things you would need if you were camped out in the middle of no-where for a very long time.

The most important thing is what not to send. In some of the countries that our troops are deployed in, several things are banned, like: Religious materials, pork and pork by-products, items containing nutmeg or all-spice, pornographic material of any kind, liquor, pressurized containers such a aerosol cans, etc...

Also the simple fact that they are deployed in a desert environment, would mean that some things wouldn't stand up to the heat. Avoid things that would melt or be adversely effected by extreme temperatures either hot or cold.

Don't forget that these men and women are also our ambassadors, drop a small toy or treat suitable for a child into your package with instructions indicating your intent that the toy be given to a local child.

Most importantly don't forget to include a note of thanks and encouragement.

If all of this seems like too much work for you, but you still wish to thank our troops, there are a number of services that allow you to sponsor the delivery of a care-package. Here are a few:

This is a very good way for you to show your support for our troops in a very personal way. It might also be an excellent lesson for a child in civil service.

So what are you waiting for?
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