Not too long ago, Blackfive readers, joined by thousands of readers from other blogs, sent over 30,000 emails of support to Marines in Iraq. The Marines had to shut down the email address because you all were causing bandwidth issues with the support we were sending.
Now, as if the Taliban and Al Qaeda, bad weather, and lack of support here at home weren't bad enough, the New York Times has published a one-sided view of the paratroopers tour in Afghanistan.
And so now we have cause to band together again and send massive support down range. Here's why:
Even though spring hasn't officially arrived the snow line is beginning to move up the mountains in Kunar and surrounding provinces in Afghanistan. The Taliban have already begun attacking the KOP, Firebases and Observation Points where elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Bamberg and Schweinfurt, Germanicenza, Ily, are deployed. Almost 4,000 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) and 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry were deployed to Kunar and surrounding provinces in Afghanistan in May 2007 for a 15 month rotation. This region of eastern Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountains bordering Pakistan has been designated the most dangerous place on earth for military personnel.
A Paratrooper from 2nd Platoon, Able Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), navigates a steep incline during a patrol to Omar in Kunar province in Afghanistan Jan. 11. Date Taken: January 11th, 2008. Location: Kunar province, AF. Photographer: Sgt. Brandon Aird, Joint Combat Camera Center
This winter has been particularly harsh. Many of the Soldiers are living in mud huts and tents with little or no heat, no running water, intermittent use of generators, supply drops via air to drop zones that require a hike of up to 40 minutes each way in order to retrieve the supplies, 30+ days out on missions at the firebases without showers or daily hot meals before rotating back to the KOP or Camp Blessing for hot showers, hot meals and the ability to communicate with their families and friends.
The Sky Soldiers have trudged through up to seven feet of snow on patrols day in and day out often at altitudes of 7,000 feet and higher. Each Soldier carries between 60 and 100 pounds of gear on these patrols. They Soldier-On each day despite the loss of many friends and comrades and substantially high numbers of wounded. Untold numbers of great Americans have provided amazing amounts of support to these Soldiers during this deployment. Public, private and civic organizations have provided direct support or indirect support.
A recent article by Elizabeth Rubin in the New York Times painted one Platoon of this Brigade in a less than favorable light. The article sensationalized the facts in a negative way, which served only to cause undue stress on the Soldiers and family members. The author failed to mention successes within the Brigade such as substantial humanitarian aid (tons of food and clothes) delivered to local villages, medical care for local children and adults, road projects, clean water projects, training of Afghan National Army personnel, distribution of school supplies, etc. [Don't worry, friends, Deebow is preparing a more detailed take down of Elizabeth Rubin. Stay tuned for that.]
Historically, spring is a time of heavy fighting in this region as the terrorists and insurgents emerge from their caves after the harsh winter temperatures and snows. Let's show these Soldiers how much support they have from home to help them through the spring and the remainder of this long and dangerous deployment.
Our paratroopers are in the fight of their lives and they need to hear that America loves them.
Please send an email of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can mail cards to:
P O Box 100
Cordova, TN 38088
Due to security reasons in Afghanistan please do not put addresses or phone numbers on any correspondence. All emails will be printed out here in the US and mailed to Afghanistan as they do not have the resources to receive a large number of emails. All letters and emails will be vetted to make sure there are no negative comments. These are letters of support, so please keep them positive and uplifting.
A Huge THANK YOU to the proponents of (and the leaders of) this effort - Tanker Babe and Mrs. Diva!