Greetings from chilly Iraq! Believe it or not, the temp is hovering around the freezing mark each morning. Could this be a sign that a white Christmas is approaching? I doubt it but it's nice to hope. :-) I've attached a few photos. The first 2 are of Christmas trees Soldiers built. The white/clear Christmas tree is made from empty water bottles. I know, folks can be creative when they're short on supplies. The third photo was taken yesterday. It's me standing in front of the mosque here on the Iraqi base. I didn't know this but they celebrate Christmas too. What they are celebrating is the birth of Jesus, a prophet (not the Son of God). Jesus is even mentioned in the Islamic holy book, The Koran. Ok, class is over. :-) I want to wish you a Happy Holidays to you, your family and friends. And even though I'm far away from my family, I'm honored to be serving our country and the folks who make our country great...like You! Be safe over the holidays and get those New Years Resolutions ready!
All the best,
I have what I think is very close to the number of packages sent by the 6 Tennessee Cities who have adopted. There have been close to 2600 packages mailed to these 6 Units.
There have been several Christmas Party's held for the children and families of these Soldiers. There have been numerous Barbecues/Picnics held in honor of the Soldiers and their family. There have been 100s of them who have been hosted by their adopted city and given free Hotel rooms and meals before deployment and when they are home on leave for both the Soldier and their family.
Three of the city's have had made Commemorative Coins made for the Soldiers. Three of the cities held farewell functions for the Soldiers and their families.
There is a huge Welcome Home Parade/Party planned for the 1/327th and their families. This is being hosted by 4 Tennessee adopting cities. The individual cities will also have a special function for their adopted unit upon their redeployment.” Reported by ASA State Representative Faye McDonald.
CPT Brough Hands Out Coins to Adopted Unit
CPT Brough of Charlie Battery, 2/44 ADA (Air Defense Artillery) passed City coins out to their adopted soldiers. ASA assigned this unit to the City of Alexandria in May 2003; they have support their ASA adopted unit for three years, two deployments and throughout the time they were home based. This coin from Alexandria, Kentucky demonstrates to these troops that the support from their community remains as an on-going commitment; a noted guideline of ASA program. City Councilman John Stein explains to these troops that these coins signify that their adoption support is a team effort from their City Administration, Staff, Police Dept and wonderful community citizens. They will soon be welcoming a contingent of these soldiers home.
Excerpts of Update from Pam Cates, Mayor Pro Tem; Town of Trophy Club, TX
THANK YOU FOR THE FIRST SET OF BOXES
Thank you to many of the citizens of The Town of Trophy Club and others as we got 88 boxes into the mail on Saturday to be delivered to the troops.
Friday night, Pauline Twomey, Rhonda Raddar, Steven Kohs, Jason Cates, Stephen Skeen and myself met to get the boxes put together. The behind the scenes effort by Mary Moore to develop the website information and to collect the items for the town at the Mud Building was a big asset in getting the donated items.
Beck Elementary parents donated enough things to fill 40 boxes by themselves. Debra McCune, Principal for Beck Elementary, started the collection effort very soon after our first meeting two weeks ago.
Lakeview Elementary had time to decorate 40 boxes … Both schools were in the middle of TAKS tests but were able to assist greatly in getting the first set of boxes out.
Over 60 Letters were written by Northwest High students…”
The tireless effort of the Roanoke Postmaster, Paul Zaccarelli, to help get all the custom forms completed…”
As we were standing in line at the post office completing all remaining necessary documents, a Viet Nam vet said that the items that they looked forward to getting in mail the most during the Vietnam War were letters and goodies from home. “… I hope our Troop understands how much we thank them for their tremendous efforts and support from the families that love them.
Please remember that this is our first set of boxes and that we will appreciate the on-going collection effort by the town, schools, and churches until our Company gets home. We hope to have boxes out on a bi-monthly basis.
So far over the past year, Cold Spring's "Operation Hug" has shipped 1,400 pounds in our care packages, which have included snacks, candy, personal care items, puzzle books, magazines, novels, a Corn Hole game (a local beanbag toss game), beanie baby toys for Iraqi children and numerous letters and postcards of support for our troops. Every bit of the stuff sent has been donated by area residents and businesses. We've also sent baby gift care packages to 4 expectant wives of soldiers in our unit, a check for their deployment party, and will be sending a check for their Homecoming party. We ship every 2 weeks like clockwork.
ALRAZ IRON RUN
American Legion Riders of Arizona
TUCSON, AZ TO SAN MATEO, CA for ASA
“Breaking News for ASA”!!
1968 to 2006 … From coast to coast touching one heart at a time, ASA has embraced the soul of America .
*** San Mateo, California to Washington, D.C. ***
USA towns and cities, who sought ASA have traveled this journey with us never to waiver their support.
On Saturday, November 4, Cold Spring dedicated its new Veterans Memorial. Cold Spring's ASA/troop adoption group, Operation Hug, made a presentation of a check for $500 to Ft. Campbell's Fisher House as a way of celebrating the safe return of our adopted unit, the Forward Support Company 3-187 INF. Attached are photos from the dedication.
Adopted Unit FSC, 3-187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) invited Sheila Bogen representing this unit’s adopted City of Cold Spring, to their Christmas Party. The Rakkasans unit just returned from Iraq.