Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Thanks from Sgt Art - The medic who needed Help!

You all remember our request for the group of 40 medics who were posted all by themselves at an Iraqi Army base. They had no PX, no toiletries, no medical supplies, no tv, movies, music, snacks....etc. NOthing. I sent this request to the wounded team and posted it here, and ...well, all of you Soldier's Angels gave a HUGE response.

I'll let Art tell it in his own words....

Hello to all my friends and supporters! First, let me say on behalf of everyone here at the Besmaya Range Complex, THANK YOU!!!

I never, in my wildest dreams thought there were so many people who were so committed to those of us deployed in the Combat Zone. I received an Overwhelming response from all of you and it has renewed my faith and helped me to remember why I asked to come back here again. It is because of good people like you. Back in the real world, I am just your average Joe, no different then any other person on the street. Here, the men and women who put on the Uniform make a difference, not only to those that we come in contact with here, but also for those of you at home. Know that our commitment to you all is there and that what we do here is worthwhile and has purpose. All the sacrifices, pain and loss that is reported on CNN cannot compare to all the worthwhile things we do here.

From teaching Iraqi soldiers how to defend their own country to helping a child get to the US for an operation (thank you Cerise) to getting things that would take the whole deployment to get so I can better take care of a village of people and my own soldiers (Thank you Al, Susan, Lisa n., Lynn & Jill E. ).

Now about the Packages we have received, our mail comes from another base, about 45Km west of us. The route has a few pitfalls so on average we get mail about every 1- 1 ½ months. It has to come in a re-supply convoy (we call it a LOGPACK), which is most often our food, fuel and water. I received 6 pallets of boxes 2 days ago. Our Internet was down, but one of the things that was in the last box was a router and as you can see its up and running now fine.

I spent the past two days unpacking, sorting and repacking boxes and supplies. The medical stuff is here with me, (thank you for the exam gloves, I had used up my last pair last week and was using surgical gloves, so timing was wonderful!) The food is in the chapel, along with all of the bath and hygiene stuff, socks and t-shirts. Coffee and coco are in the Mess facility along with all of the Christmas stockings, Christmas tree, games and movies. I admit I kept one tray of homemade fudge for my self, it was just too good, but the other I did put in the chow hall.

I contacted the mail room today, they say as of right now I have 35 more boxes waiting for me and I assume from some of the emails that I received while the network was down that I will have a few more added to that number. I have given out all the MACH 3 razors, we are good to go for now with those, (my face is thankful for that) but we could use some shave cream to go with them! So many people have given so much, not only in donated goods, but also in time, research and out of pocket expenses. So many people who really opened their hearts and though about what we needed and would like (Dave & cyndy aldous, the Olivares family) and all of you, I just want to say thank you.

This will be the 16th Christmas I have been away from my family in the past 20 years. This year I have a new family of friends and you all mean as much to me as my own flesh and blood. Thank you for everything you have done for my men and me. I will try to keep you updated as time allows. I wish I could write to each of you, but I will reply to those of you that write me back ( I finally am getting the hang of Outlook). If for whatever reason you do not hear back from me before Christmas, I wish you all a wonderful time and blessings on your family.

With warmest regards, Arthur L. SGT/NYARNG

God Bless us, every one


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Update - Picture From Afghanistan

Here is a photo of the medical unit in Afghanistan that I posted yesterday. They are proudly posing with the Santa hats that came in their stockings from Nick M, of New Jersey. Nick is a heck of a guy, organized donations and sent out thousands of stockings all at his own expense.
This is the unit that asked for toiletries and cold medicine. They have 38 male medics and two female, who you will notice are the ones carrying weapons.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A story from a cold, wet night in Afghanistan

Here is a story sent me by Lt Col Ron A., who we just made contact with two weeks ago. Ron heads a group of 40 American medics in Afghanistan, who are helping the Afghani Army set up their hospital system. He said our medics don't have access to a PX, and they really need toiletries and over the counter cold medicines for themselves.
There are two female medics in the group, and 38 males.

If you can help, email me at rogerfg22 at for his address.


The night after I got back I was working late. I left about 2300 hrs to head back to my safe house. It was freezing out and the snow was coming down for the second day in a row. As I was heading through the garrison I saw a three Humvee convoy coming towards me. They are required to have on Force Protection solider walking in front of each vehicle. I also saw the gunners in each turret with their 240 an 50 caliber machine guns. It was dark and as I started to pass them I was thinking about how cold the guys in the turret must be. Force Protection are the soldiers who protect us by doing patrols and convoy escorts. They also guard the gates and our towers.

Well as I said, it was dark, cold and wet and the last thing I expected any of them to do was render me a salute. I felt so much pride as they passed me and each one of them honored me with a sharp salute.

I went to their Commander the next day and told him my story. When I got done I told him about this incredible organization call "Soldiers Angels" that had been so generous. I then had a couple people help me carry half of what you sent us into their office for them to enjoy. He thanked me and seemed overwhelmed also by your organizations generosity.

I was deployed to Kabul Afghanistan to help support the Afghan Army and Police Medical system.

The Taliban was in control of most of Afghanistan until 2001 when the United States came in to rid this country of the terrorist. Our goal is to plan, program, and implement reform of the Afghan Police and Defense sector to develop a stable Afghanistan.

We are not occupying Afghanistan like Iraq. We are trying to build a strong infrastructure so that when we leave the Taliban, insurgents and drug lords will not be able to take over this country again.

My job is to travel down range to our forward operating bases in Herat, Mazare Sarif, Gardez and Kandahar to open 50 bed hospitals for the Afghan National Army. The United States is building and outfitting the entire hospital to include training. They currently have a 3rd world country medical system.

I am proud to be an American and serve my country by helping others. I feel we have made an incredible difference in the lives of the Afghanistan people. This will translate into their country being able to stand on their own and not let terrorism breed here that will later affect our great country.

I and my fellow warriors have made many sacrifices. We have missed birthdays, anniversaries, Holidays and our homes. Yet I have not found one soldier that regrets being here and doing their duty.

I plan on writing each of the wonderful people who had their return address on the shipping label of the boxes. I would appreciate if you could convey our appreciation to the rest of the incredible people behind the scenes.

I wish you a Happy Holidays; please keep all our armed forces in your prayers.


Thursday, December 14, 2006


These are for all of you who did so much to support our medics this Holiday Season..

Thank You, Rog.....

Hi Roger, Thank you all for the mugs when they came in they were a hot ticket item that soldiers grabbed up. They were all gone within an hour. The dvd player that was sent is being put to good use with our bed patients. I hope all of you there are having a good holiday season, give my best wishes to all.
-1LT Jeremy B.
399th CSH

Hey Roger,Yesterday I got in 3 cases of Soldiers Angels coffee mugs. Needless to say they are going like hotcakes. Pass it on to everyone that they are greatly appreciated. I haven’t had a chance to push out all of the Christmas stockings to my troops yet, air is getting scare over here due to the weather. Hopefully I will be able to get them to all the FOBs before Christmas.Again, thanks a bunch and pass my gratitude to the correct people and places.Eric
287 Medical Platoon

Thank you so very much! Again let me reiterate, you are all our heroes! The things you send are always so timely and build morale instantly. It also reminds us that people back home truly care deeply for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
CH Stephen D.
28th CSH

Hello to everyone, I just want to thank you all for all the support that we have received from all of you throughout the year and especially during the holiday season. It is tough to be away from family anytime, but especially during the holidays. Each care package that we have received has brightened our days while we are here. I know that some of you have already received a message from my mom or pj, but just to make sure i cover everyone, we have been instructed to tell everyone not to send packages or letters after the 20th of December, because there is a chance that we won't receive it after that date. Once again thank you for all that you have done and are doing for the troops who are deployed. You are all great Americans in my eyes, and those in my unit.
TF Med

Roger, Thanks for the update. The coffee mugs were great. I will make sure that I pass along the info about Green Beans. Thanks for all you do.
Christopher T. First Sergeant
285th ASMC

You guys are awesome. Thank you for all your support. We received the additional backpacks. We received 180 mugs and are making the patients and junior service members the priority to receive them. It will be nice to share the green bean news with them. The CO will visit the patients on Christmas Day and there for the distribution. We are going to throw a little party for them to brighten their day as well. It will be nice to support them in the absence family and recovering health.
V/R Chaplain W.
Expeditionary Medical Facility

Roger, Thank you very much. I got some cards and stuff from you here the other day and we are hanging them up in the hospital and going to take a picture of them so that you may send the picture back to the school or organizer so they can see what it is we have done with them. I will try and get that back to you as soon as I can. Thanks again for everything.
Mike A.
Surgical, CF

Got the cute cards from the kids, I will try to have my troops send stuff back to them and thank them. You can see their creativity. Appreciate all you do for us thanks.
Mark W., Surgeon
36th CAB

Roger, I received the cards you sent and wanted to say Thanks, as well as Thanks to all those Soldiers Angels who stepped up and supported our unit for the holidays. I received packages from Sylvia, Julie, Colleen, "Lisa in DC", Lori, Julie W. and Michelle. Please thank these angels for us, they truly are making the holidays nicer for us over here, as are you and other angels (behind the scenes that we don't know about or realize what they do).
Thanks again
Major Richard M.
TF 21 Med

Roger, I wanted to send you a quick note to let you know I will email more tomorrow. I have been quite busy the last couple of days but have not forgotten you or any of the Angels taking care of us. I have received so many packages and yes I did receive a couple of DVD players and the VCR. That now is in our hospital break room and we have movie night every Friday now. It sure lightened up a bunch of Soldiers faces. We can not thank you enough. I'm continuously amazed at how much support we are getting. Also I did get 10 US Flags which made so many Soldiers happy. What I would like to do is take one of those flags and fly it here in IRAQ and then send it back to you for the Angels that take care of us back there. It will come with a certificate from the 28th CSH signed by our Hospital Commander in appreciation for all your doing for the Soldiers. Again please thank everyone there helping out. Words can not express the happiness on the Soldiers faces. Having this support especially shows our younger Soldiers (kids, ages 18-20) just what they are here for and really motivates them to strive for excellence. THANKS AGAIN!!!
Nicole H.
28th CSH

Roger, Yes, thank you so much for the Hickory Farm and crackers. I think you sent some of everyone's favorite stuff. And yes they are very nice people. I spent a couple nights chatting with Lyrin. Sending emails back and forth back and forth. She told me she has sent almost all the stuff I asked for ands then some. She asked for the numbers of men and women then sent things (wrapped)! For the ones that didn't ask for stuff! So I think this will be a wonderful Christmas away from home. We have each other here and now we have you people from Solders Angels for the things that will allow us to celebrate together. Thank you very much and wow I'm not sure how all the people will feel when all this comes together. I'll be sure to send you some good pictures!
Thankful in Iraq,
Surgical CF

It took me a little longer to get back than I thought. Due to snow, being bumped and safety issues we were delayed by about two weeks.
When I returned I was shocked to find approximately eight large boxes waiting for me. They included, socks, awesome mugs, cocoa, hot cider, coffee, hand warmers, etc. My unit and I were blown away by the generosity of your organization. We are made up of Army, Air Force and Navy.
I am proud to be an American and serve my country by helping others. I feel we have made an incredible difference in the lives of the local people. This will translate into their country being able to stand on their own and not let terrorism breed here that will later affect our great country.

I and my fellow warriors have made many sacrifices. We have missed birthdays, anniversaries, Holidays and our homes. Yet I have not found one soldier that regrets being here and doing their duty.

I plan on writing each of the wonderful people who had their return address on the shipping label of the boxes. I would appreciate if you could convey our appreciation to the rest of the incredible people behind the scenes.

I wish you a Happy Holidays; please keep all our armed forces in your prayers.
Ron A.
Medical Division

Wow....We got the cups and they were a hit with everyone. We actually used them for Root Beer floats and it worked out perfect since cups are hard to come by. Your organization sill amazes me. I have share coffee and other goodies with the Army.....They are so happy. Plus, I gave some cups to the Army. Man that made their day,
Thanks Mike

I just want to thank you for your time in sending out the cups and blankets. We received them last week, and was surprised at the quantity and quality of cups. As I walk around the EMEDS, I see everyone using their cups. I know that this made their day. The blankets have been a hit also especially with the nights being a little chilly. I know I have my blanket my around when I studying or writing my papers.
Thanks again for all you support.

Hi Roger, We are overwhelmed with the generosity of your supporters. We have received much more than we could have ever expected and it has definitely lifted our spirits. What an expression of love and support!. High octane sugar cookies would be great for us. Thanks again.
Col. Karl F.
257th Medical Company (DS)

Roger, Thank you so much for all the help you have given not only to us but to the countless others that you may have been talking to. Please send our thanks to everyone else that is helping you in giving our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers an Airmen a smile, not only during the holiday season but every time a package or a letter is opened.
Val G.,
Surgical CF

...and even one from a medic's Mom.....
Dear Roger:

Josh called last night and had a funny story that pertains to you, I think.

He said when he got home the other night; his side of the room had become a cardboard fort, with a small hole for him to crawl thru to get to his bed. Appears his roommates got home first, and organized his mail from you. They love the coffee and the mugs. He said they have hooked him up with the Chaplain to deliver some of your backpacks, coffee and cups, and some extra stocking from other groups sent to Josh, to the soldiers in the FOB's so they can enjoy "Christmas". Praise God how these soldiers always think of their fellowman. Hopefully some of that will rub off on America soon.

Thank you for all you do. I greatly appreciate your time and efforts in making Josh and his Unit's stay bearable. I'm sure it brings back memories for you. Thanks for sharing about your mom and grandmother. I cannot imagine not hearing from my son for years at a time while they fight a war. I thank God daily for the telephone and the computer. If not for them, I would not know you either.

God Bless.
Proud Army Mom of Josh