troop letter: care packages
January 03, 2012
I have been on Camp Leatherneck for 7 months now and love it
Hi Bob and Jack,
To answer your questions, I am female and my last name rhymes with well..."rhymes" (the e in my name makes the y long). I have been with the USO in the Southwest Asia region for 2 and a half years now. I started in Basra, Iraq which had been recently taken over by Americans (from our British allies) and then after 13 months there, I moved to Baghdad and stayed for 9 months. I have been on Camp Leatherneck for 7 months now and love it. I don’t know that I want to build a retirement home here in the Helmand Province but the job is great and I love being out here with our deployed men and women.
Thanks for holding your fire on the care packages, we are still swimming in donated items but they are being consumed slowly but surely.
1) You can send pork related products to Afghanistan. If Marines or Soldiers are embedded with Muslim troops, they will separate those items. It’s really not a problem since we regularly receive pork products and we are served pork chops about every third night in the chow halls.
2) We do receive canned goods but they aren’t as popular as traditional snack items that don’t require a can opener, a microwave (hard to come by) or stove (non-existent). I think at this point, the canned goods would be better shared with food banks in their area.
3) High demand items include: black tube socks, white tube socks, wet/baby wipes, hand warmers (especially now during the cold months), chocolate snacks and treats, Cliff Bars, black beanie caps, good razors and shaving cream, beef jerky, chapstick, body wash, deodorant, foot powder.
Some nice things to have would be: Mexican candy (this was a special request), battery operated alarm clocks, loufas and/or washcloths, nail clippers, air fresheners
3) Things we don’t need: bars of soap, combs, romance novels, female hygiene items, hair conditioner (most of these guys have no hair)
4) We have a DVD player at the USO but we have recently gone “hi-tech” by purchasing a hard drive with a large memory from which we play movies. (The hard drive we have can hold close to 1,000 movies.) DVDs are still popular though and when we receive them, we put them out and they are immediately snatched up.
5) We are doing really well here at the USO but we have an Extended Care Ward and a Wounded Warrior Berthing unit here on the base and they need a few items: Slippers in men’s sizes 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. (The wounded Marines and Soldiers who come through these units/wards are not hurt bad enough to go home but need extra time to heal before they return to their units. They keep the clothing items they are given since they arrive at these care centers with practically nothing as their uniforms are cut off upon arrival at the hospital.) The USO has been able to supply them with other items such as blankets, sheets and a few clothing items but if you could send towels (new only please) that would be greatly appreciated.
OK, I think that is all for now. I will definitely shoot you another email should our needs change. Thank you both so much for your continued support, these guys are in awe everyday that folks at home are so incredibly generous! In fact, our British counterparts from Camp Bastion (which is adjacent to Leatherneck) come over and walk through the USO and are absolutely amazed that everything in the center is provided by folks at home.
Thanks for everything!