In Honor of Deployed Dads

Happy Belated Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!  

This weekend we celebrated fathers everywhere, and I had the honor of making this video with a fellow Dad, friend, and colleague who experienced many of the same things I did as a Marine – our COO Paul Cucinotta. 

In the video, I read excerpts from one of my favorite emails. We received it during the holidays in December of 2018 from a care package recipient — a young soldier and father of four — who was deployed to Afghanistan.

“To the Volunteers at Operation Gratitude: 

I cannot express in words what your care packages do for our soldiers. The letters I received today brought joy to an otherwise lonely heart. I’ve never felt so proud to be a soldier in the US military. I am a husband and father of four. This is my first deployment and I have never missed a holiday with my family until this point. Your cards and very helpful items are a great reminder of the love I have for my family and for my country. Thank you for your support, and I will ensure that we pay it forward. God Bless, 1LT W.B., Army Reserves, Afghanistan”

Paul and I wanted to share this message with you not only as proud sons of Marines but also as very proud fathers of two Marines who are currently serving. 

I felt blessed to spend this Father’s Day with my three boys.  As we played golf and laughed together, I couldn’t help but think of what it is like to be a Dad in the military or what it was like for them to be military kids. 

I thought about the 1,000 nights I wasn’t there to tuck them into bed and the countless soccer games, holidays, Sunday masses, and important days in their lives that I missed. I thought of the five moves my three sons made over 11 years – switching schools four times and saying goodbye to the hundreds of childhood friends they made along the way.

Over Colonel Cucinotta’s 27- year career, there were significantly more moves, nights away, and special occasions missed with his family. And as Paul’s oldest son, Nick, follows in his Dad’s footsteps serving our country, they missed yet another Father’s Day together. 

What Paul and I are asking you to think about on the heels of Father’s Day this past Sunday are the thousands of Dads who are deployed away from their families and far from home right now and take action to support them.

If you would like to request a Care Package for a deployed Dad you know personally, or if you want to help Operation Gratitude ship one to a father who is missing his loved ones during these challenging times, you can click the links below. 

We would be honored to honor a Military Dad serving overseas on your behalf! 



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20 Years at War and Our Renewed Commitment

Thirty years ago this past Sunday, the Gulf War started. I had just reported to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina as a young Second Lieutenant. Four months later, my Artillery Battalion would deploy at the tail end of Desert Shield — in plenty of time to prepare our unit and our Marines for Operation Desert Storm. I can’t believe it was three decades ago.

We Are Family

In the midst of these unprecedented times, our family at Operation Gratitude found a way to adapt, evolve, and overcome adversity. Together, as a family, we continued to take action, impacting more than 325,000 Deployed Troops, Military Families, Veterans, and COVID-19 Frontline Responders in 35 states and Washington DC.