Operation Gratitude

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When my Soldiers and I received care packages, it allowed us to take a few moments, forget about all of the evil that we were surrounded by on a daily basis, and enjoy the wonderful gifts that you all had sent to us

My name is CPT D.K.  and I was a First Lieutenant at the time that I was deployed in Afghanistan. While I was deployed, your group sent me a series of care packages with a bunch of food, hygiene items, and reading materials for myself and my Soldiers. I know that I sent you letters shortly after receiving each package, but I also wanted to send you another letter after I was settled in back home to let you know how truly blessed I was to have your support in Afghanistan. Although the deployment that I went on was a very educational and humbling experience, it was also very stressful day in and day out. I was looking for any reason in the world to take my mind off of my situation overseas when I was off of work and wanted to be able to actually relax and decompress. Unfortunately, when I was deployed, I couldn’t just leave the combat zone, take a ride in my car, and drive to a place where I wasn’t receiving indirect fire on a regular basis. A deployment is an every day commitment. It was a commitment that was so taxing that it took a large emotional toll on my Soldiers and their families. When my Soldiers and I received care packages, it allowed us to take a few moments, forget about all of the evil that we were surrounded by on a daily basis, and enjoy the wonderful gifts that you all had sent to us. To you, a box of granola bars, some beef jerky, and some shaving gel might not be a bid deal. But, to a Soldier that is stuck with only the food that the DFAC (chow hall) serves and only the supplies that they can buy at the local PX and Bazaars, those items mean a great deal. In fact, nothing brings a smile to a Soldier’s face like being able to stuff their pockets full of granola bars, and have snacks to eat back at the B-Huts (sleeping quarters). That being said, I wanted to thank you, once again, from the bottom of you heart, for your wonderful generosity while my unit was deployed. As far as news is concerned since I returned home from my deployment, my wife and I have been keeping pretty busy. About a month after returning, we went on a trip to the other side of the world where we spent two weeks in Australia and another two weeks in Southeaster Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos).    My prayers are with all of you who support our Soldiers in their times of need. Hopefully your care packages keep flowing during this important time to our Soldiers. If there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to contribute to your cause. In this package, I’ve included my deployed Unit’s coin. This is to show you my appreciation and respect for everything that you’ve done for my Soldiers and me. On the front of the coin, you’ll notice the SOCOM logo on the front as we were deployed in support of SOCOM. On the back of the coin, you’ll see the HIMARS rocket/missile launching vehicles that we fired over in Afghanistan. In fact, our Unit was the first National Guard Unit in history to fire rockets and missiles in a combat environment. So to my Soldiers and me, this coin tells the story of our deployment. Hopeful you like it! Thanks again for all of your support while I was deployed to Afghanistan. If there is any way that I can show you my support now that I’m back home, I’d be happy to oblige. Work hard and never say quit! “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:13. Respectfully, CPT D.J.K.

Operation Gratitude truly makes a difference in a Service Member’s quality of life

I would like to personally thank you for the hand packaging and delivery of over 300 care packages for our Sailors and Marines onboard USS ****  (LPD 19). We are all appreciative and humbled by your kindness. Your efforts have increased the crew’s morale and reinvigorated the focus of each and every one of us as to why we make the sacrifices we do, day in and day out. Please know how much we appreciate you and what your team is doing to recognize those that wear the cloth of this nation. Your contributions to the U.S. Navy cannot be understated. Every box we open sent smiles across our Sailors and Marines faces and reminded them that they are thought of back home. Operation Gratitude truly makes a difference in a Service Member’s quality of life. Be proud of what you do. Sincerely, CPT K. J. R.

I am willing to bet that many Americans probably don’t realize that there are still Marines and other services still conducting combat operations in Afghanistan so it is nice to see that there still is some support back home in the U.S.

I would like to thank you for the package I received today it was a nice surprise.  Since arriving in Afghanistan in April I have seen many Operation Gratitude boxes come in to country and I know they have always been welcomed.  We understand that it takes money, supplies, and a lot of time and effort to put these packages together so I would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to do it.  I am willing to bet that many Americans probably don’t realize that there are still Marines and other services still conducting combat operations in Afghanistan so it is nice to see that there still is some support back home in the U.S.  Thank you again for the package and the support you are giving for deployed servicemen everywhere.  SSGT W. 

The thoughtfulness from complete strangers astounds me

Thank you very much for the care packages for my unit.  The thoughtfulness from complete strangers astounds me, and as I thumbed through the Operation Gratitude magazine, was amazed by the support behind the operation as a whole.  The supplies came in handy for many uses and that helps us not have to order things online that may take longer to get here or cannot be shipped here at all.  I do not have pictures of opening the packages themselves as we cannot take pictures in our work areas.  However, the supplies were used and a Soldier anywhere is always happy to get a package.  Thank you for everything your organization has done in making our days here a little better and easier.  SGT K.C.

It was such a nice surprise

Thank you for sending USS *** Gulf boxes and boxes of personally addressed care packages.  It was such a nice surprise and they arrived right at the half way mark of our deployment.  Putting together all the supplies to mail those care packages was not easy.  It really meant a lot to us.  Thank you again.  LCDR J.K.R.

Y’all are the ones who think of us enough to take care of us like your own children even as grown men and women

My name is M.B.  currently deployed on the USS ****  and just last week I received your care packages with heartfelt letters from children and families who absolutely put smiles on my face.  I’m writing today to thank you for all you do!  It’s people like you all who keep us moving.  There are people in today’s military who are from all over the world, some without families to send them care packages, and y’all are the ones who think of us enough to take care of us like your own children even as grown men and women.  Thank you again!  Beloved and grateful Sailor, M.B.

While packages are filled with tangible items, they are valued more because they are a reminder that while we are far from home, we are not forgotten

Greetings from Camp ***  in the desert of **** Africa!  On behalf of all the troops and myself, I want to say THANK YOU for the wonderful gifts that you sent to us.  The Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen were all very grateful for your generosity and thoughtfulness.  When we are deployed so far from home, gifts like yours help to make the days more pleasant and the time pass quickly.  While packages are filled with tangible items, they are valued more because they are a reminder that while we are far from home, we are not forgotten.  Once again, on behalf of all of us, I assure you of our best wishes and heartfelt gratitude.  Sincerely yours, CDR R.P.N.

 

All the packages serve as small pieces from back home which we treasure

On behalf of the *** Sustainment Brigade we thank you for your donations to the troops!  All the packages serve as small pieces from back home which we treasure.  Knowing that our communities back home are looking out for us means the world.  Your contribution has improved the morale of the Soldiers and therefore our mission here.  You make us proud to be Americans and even prouder to be American Soldiers.  Our program provides various items free of charge to soldiers through you care packages.  A Soldier can walk in our tent and grab whatever items they need.  Soldiers also use our tent to relax and get a peace of mind away from their day to day work operation.  Think of us as a small USO right in the middle of the operation, but without funding.  The generosity you have expressed is cherished by all of us.  Your kind hearts will be in our prayers.  Your support for our military personnel is greatly appreciated.  We look forward to continuing to work with you!    Sincerely, SGT J.T.

Please know that should I end up in Encino CA I will take the time to stop by

Thank you so very much for the wonderful gift box you sent to the troops.  We received your boxes here at *** Kuwait – the ****  Combat Support Hospital (CSH…pronounced “cash”).  I especially appreciated that we received the wonderful box in time for the summer and 4th of July Holiday.  As you are aware, the 4th of JULY has special meaning to Americans as that is the day America adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  We honor our fallen and I am so very proud to know that you took time out of your day to remember us in your thoughts and prayers.  Your gifts were shared with the hospital staff as well as the USO Office so that others may also know your kindness.  However, we did keep the majority of the snacks – all is fair in love and “the other stuff” (smile).  Sometimes a girl just gotta have fun!  It is with bittersweet joy that I must ask you to remove the *** CSH, Camp ****  off the mailing list.  We have received notification that we are heading home, HOO_RAH!

Thank you Operation Gratitude for introducing the *****  to each of you and your kindness towards us.  Please know that should I end up in Encino CA I will take the time to stop by.  Sincerely, COL L.O.

You have no idea how much all of this means to me and the other people who receive these boxes

Thank you so much for the care package.  I received it on the 4th of October and it really did lift my spirits to know that there are people who care enough to take the time out of their busy schedule to do something as simple as send a care package out.  I’m not even entirely sure how you guys got my name, but to whoever thought of me I sincerely appreciate it.  I especially like the personal care and the comic strip from the Chicago tribune with the sleeping baby.  I have a two year old son and that comic reminded me so much of him it made me laugh.  To Nona and the N  Family: Thank you for the early Christmas gift.  I noticed on the bottom that it says the card was made by a patient at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I wish you the best and pray for a speedy recovery.  Although I could have emailed you guys this letter I thought that this would be much more personal.  On a side note, whoever thought to put olives in the box, YOU ARE AWESOME!  Olives are my favorite (especially green olives) and they are a rarity on the ship.  FIVE HOUR ENERGY DRINKS? (If you can’t tell I’m going through this box as I’m typing) I don’t even believe they even sell these on the ship!  It’s probably not the healthiest, but definitely a necessity when you’re working 12+ hours on the flight deck and you need an extra boost of energy.  I am not ashamed to admit that I will use the Axe showering gel as well.  Resources get scarce on the ship and the last thing you EVER want to run out of is SOAP/DEODERANT.  I’ll be sure to play the CD of Christmas Carols during Christmas and people are already asking to borrow my 3 Stooges DVD.  I did decide to give the car book to one of my coworkers because he’s a car fanatic and I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as he does…He’s talking about shifter knobs.  I have no clue what that is.  Once again thanks for everything: from the Girl Scout cookies to the personal cards and encouraging words.  You have no idea how much all of this means to me and the other people who receive these boxes.  God bless you and see you guys soon!  Sincerely, C.D.M.

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