Iwo Jima Remembered - Part 2
Godspeed Sgt Plumondore and SPC Gertson

Caring For The Troops

How much can one care package affect a soldier?

Russ Vaughn, the MilBlog poet laureate and Vietnam Veteran, has a post at American Thinker about a care package that he received 40 years after leaving Vietnam.

Old Sarge Gets a Care Package

Sergeant Vaughn got a care package today. It’s been almost forty years since I got my last one, a case of twenty-four #2½ cans of sliced peaches from my father. Memory fails me now, but I don’t believe I ever asked before he died what it cost to mail that monster,  but it must have been a pretty hefty hit in the wallet for a lifelong blue-collar worker. I had happened to mention in one of my rare letters home from Vietnam that canned, sliced peaches were my favorite item in our C Rations even if they were twenty years old. We could date them because the small cigarette packs enclosed with the rations were frequently Lucky Strikes in the old green packages that were phased out in the forties...

Be sure to read the whole post.  It's great.

You can really make a difference by sending the troops letters, emails, and various care goods.  There are many ways to help.

I am always happy to get emails from readers who took a few small actions and made a big difference to our military men and women.  Usually, they all start with, "I should have done this months ago."  There are great Americans walking the walk (even German citizens and Americans overseas), taking care of our defenders while they recover, ensuring our military men and women are never treated like they were thirty years ago.

Below, in the Extended Section is a must read letter about wounded hero Captain Daniel Gade, Big John of Adopt-A-Soldier and others at Walter Reed:


Wanted to let you know that I spent some time with Captain Gade's wife, Wendy, at Walter Reed today. To say that she's incredible would be the understatement of the century. Spending time with Wendy only reinforced what I already knew, military spouses are simply amazing.

She asked how I found about her husband and I explained that you run a military blog and I read about him on your blog. She was flabbergasted. She had no idea that Daniel was on the web other than the Caringbridge site that offers the daily updates. She specifically asked me to thank you on her behalf for the exposure. She says that she truly feels the support and the power of the prayers from all over America, it's what sustains her and her husband. Wendy reads all of the messages to Daniel that people post on the site and both of them appreciate the support they're receiving from total strangers.

Captain Gade just came out of another surgery while I was there, and he was doing well. Wendy is a pragmatist and acknowledges that he has a long way to go. It appears that his stomach wound is about ready to be sealed up, which is great news. One of his original nurses stopped in to say that she hadn't seen Daniel since his early days there and when she saw him in recovery she had to double check the chart to make sure it was the same person because he's improved so much from those early days. Apparently his head and limbs had severe swelling when he arrived.

Ever the commander, apparently Captain Gade has carried that into the hospital room as Wendy had some funny stories about him "advising" the nurses on various matters. He sounds like a great soldier!

I also went to Mologne House and Big John Miska (and he is big) of  adopt-A-Soldier was there. He was standing in the lobby handing out phone cards to soldiers and their families. He greeted everyone who walked in by saying, "how are you on phone cards?" He tells me that his organization is building a home for a quadriplegic veteran here in the area. They also host brunches on the Walter Reed campus for the soldiers and their families twice a month, and are doing a host of other things.

All around me were examples of courage and kindness. Disabled soldiers were milling about and people like Big John were standing by to help in any way possible. When I left, I thanked him for his work and he shrugged and said, "aw, it's nothing." But that's not true - it's something.

I'm ashamed that I live in the area and just made my first trip today. It was such an inspiration to see these brave men and women and to see all of the volunteers standing ready to help them.

Wanted to pass Wendy's thanks along to you. Her one request - keep praying. Wives like Wendy and soldiers like Captain Gade make us all proud.