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View Full Version : Former student being deployed in Iraq! Need advice.


Laz
08-19-2004, 07:39 PM
I am very close to this student. His mother (who works with me) found out just recently. Of course his mother is very nervous (me too!) and we want to keep her spirits up and try to help this young man on his first deployment to Iraq. I have a few questions:

-What will this young man really need that we can ship to him? I want to make this a school-wide effort and "adopt him" What should we NOT ship?

-Of course mom has no idea of when he will get there or where he will be. Will he have access to his E Mail like he did in other deployments? When we he have access to it?. When we be able to ship care packages to him?

-Does mom already know about a support system for her and other family members (some thing via the military)? Is there a source I can recommend to her? I will be giving her this web address.

-what else can we do to support the soldier and his family?

Thanks in advance for your help!

-

remyandhollandsmommy
08-19-2004, 08:27 PM
My DH is in Iraq for a second time so to answer some of your questions:

-What will this young man really need that we can ship to him? I want to make this a school-wide effort and "adopt him" What should we NOT ship?

Nothing, unless he wants something special. I send my DH junk food because a steady diet of MREs can wither the spirit. I was told by the post office you can't send "revealing" magazines (this included DH's Mens Health magazine) or pork products. Also no flyers discussing religion and such. You can ask and they will give you a list. He also would probably LOVE letters full of pride and love and pictures of home and people there (DH does).

-Of course mom has no idea of when he will get there or where he will be. Will he have access to his E Mail like he did in other deployments? When we he have access to it?. When we be able to ship care packages to him?

Depending on where he will be, he could have email. The first time DH went he was only able to call once every few weeks by sattalite phone for 5 minutes. BTW those phones echo really badly. This time he has email and is able to call more often for 15-20 minutes each time. He should have access to his email as soon as he is "settled". As for an address, you can mail things as soon as he gives it to you. Just send everything priority mail which they usually recieve in 7-10 days verses months with regular post. The mail is way more reliable now, I sent a package last time to DH and the mail truck carrying it was actually blown up!! :rolleyes: This time around, things are alot better.

-Does mom already know about a support system for her and other family members (some thing via the military)? Is there a source I can recommend to her? I will be giving her this web address.

If his mom is involved in the unit, check with them. They usually have something set up for military families dealing with deployment. Or check with a local recruiter for web sites, etc.

-what else can we do to support the soldier and his family?

Simply be there with a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen with. My mom sometimes sends me cards saying she was thinking of me and DH dealing with deployment and it really helps prove you are not "alone".

Good Luck and if you need anything or have any other questions, please feel free to PM me. I hope your soilder stays safe and comes home soon!! :rolleyes:

powellrj
08-19-2004, 10:49 PM
My DS is in Iraq now, I can tell you what I know for him, but each situation is different. As far as mailing packages, she needs to take his address to the post office and they will tell her what she can send and what she can't send. I know you can't send my DS coffee, pork products, porn, firearms. He really won't know what he needs until he gets there. I know my DS has access to DVD's and gatoraid so these are things I don't send, but he likes a special shampoo and razor blades that I send to him. Another thing he has asked for are pencils to pass out to the local children. He said they swamp you and want you to give them something, so he always carries a pocketfull of pencils to pass out. I also got him a subsciption to our local paper that he values. He will email about things he has read and it seems to keep his morale up. As for email, we have army email, but he usually just uses aol. We also use instant messenger which is really nice!!

The #1 bit of advise I can offer is DON"T WATCH THE NEWS!! It will make you crazy. Everytime you hear anything bad you start to panic. Just watch local news and weather, but don't watch the national news, and as tempting as it maybe, don't watch cable news. It really does make you crazy.

Give her our best wishes, and a few :grouphug: :grouphug:

StephenKay
09-01-2004, 05:57 PM
Hi there,

I am just back and the only thing to say is send anything, the joy of getting a letter or message is fantastic, ignore advice on magazines, If thats what the individual wants send it!!!!

A good tip is local newspapers, as any news from home just brings about that little bit of normality to a crazy place.

PS. Don't thik all Iraqis are bad, there not, I had 6 working for me and they were great.

ellyn2000
09-30-2004, 06:45 PM
I just found this thread and wanted to respond. My son returned recently from a year in Iraq. He wanted any kind of junk food that wouldn't be spoiled by heat. We also sent him a very large "tin" (like holiday cookies come in) so he could stash some of the sweets and the "rodents" couldn't get to them. He loved reading material and a neighbor gave us his collection of Hot Rod magazines and a dentists office donated all of their old magazines to send for him to share. They are allowed personal religious material, but are discouraged from trying to distribute such. I hope your soldier comes home safely like mine did.

Laz
10-03-2004, 11:07 AM
Keep it comming folks! I sent him a letter the other day, and I am planning on having my students get a package sent to him. When I write him I tell him to write back when he can, but write his mother first!!! His mom is photocopying the letters and letting me read them. Thanks for your help.

StephenKay: Thank you for your service and your suggestions. Make sure you pass the word about what you saw over there. We can not learn the truth unless we hear from those who have been there! Good or bad, tell it all! You must be our teacher.

Doodlebug939
10-13-2004, 01:42 PM
Because the guys and gals eat MRE's it gets pretty boring. Although I have heard that they have improved over the last few years a friend of mine would send her husband Taco Bell Hot Sauce. You know the little packages you get when you go through drive through. It spices there food up a little. I will ask her what else she sent when I talk to her again.

Laz
10-14-2004, 04:36 PM
Great idea! Not only Taco Bell, but any packets from the fast food joints.::yes::

BibbidiBobbidiBOO
10-15-2004, 12:26 PM
It really depends on where he will be. DH has not had any MRE's and has various sauces/condiments available in the Dining hall at his camp in Iraq. I would find out about his camp first, and then you will better know what to send!!
Snacks in Tins and containers are always good and welcome. I get DH special snacks he likes and that are not available there (just bought some of the boy scout caramel popcorn). I send him DVD's too-they have some at the PX, but not that great a selection. I also send him some magazine's that he can't find there and sports section of our local paper from time to time. Special ground coffees (he has a coffee maker in his office) are another of his requests.
It really makes a big difference about what he may need depending on location and if he is at a camp! Good luck! :D

powellrj
10-15-2004, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by BibbidiBobbidiBOO
It really depends on where he will be. DH has not had any MRE's and has various sauces/condiments available in the Dining hall at his camp in Iraq. I would find out about his camp first, and then you will better know what to send!!
Snacks in Tins and containers are always good and welcome. I get DH special snacks he likes and that are not available there (just bought some of the boy scout caramel popcorn). I send him DVD's too-they have some at the PX, but not that great a selection. I also send him some magazine's that he can't find there and sports section of our local paper from time to time. Special ground coffees (he has a coffee maker in his office) are another of his requests.
It really makes a big difference about what he may need depending on location and if he is at a camp! Good luck! :D

Make sure you check what you can send before you mail anything, coffee is at the top of the list of items I can't send to my DS along with pork and porno and firearms.. It has to do with his zipcode which is based in Germany. Each zipcode has a list of forbidden items, and they do change sometimes!!

BibbidiBobbidiBOO
10-15-2004, 08:40 PM
It is fine for DH. They even serve pork at his camp. This is strange as it was forbidden in Desert Storm! It shows how location really can make things vary,
When we lived in Germany and DH was active duty, coffee was actually a "rationed" item!

TheGottis
10-26-2004, 01:24 AM
Some items that are ALWAYS requested from my husband :

baby wipes
razor blades
torrangos / lays / pringles (in the cannisters)
cheese dip / queso / bean dip / salsa
beef jerky
magazines
throat drops / hard candy / vitamin C drops
liquid soap / body wash
iced tea mix
spices

As for how to mail... I was sending everything priority, but have since changed to parcel post (if the package is big enough). The way the USPS and APO system works is this : the USPS priority service gets the package to the APO drop off point (in the time frame advertised) from there it is TOTALLY random and up to the APO as to how/when the packages go. I have mailed priority and it has taken anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 weeks to arrive - I have mailed parcel post and it's taken from 2 weeks to 5 weeks to arrive - no rhyme no reason, just depends on how the wind blows...

If he is not married then Mom should be the primary contact with the support group (FRG - family readiness group), if he set it up this way. She may want to ask him if he gave her as a contact for updates and newsletter and such...

As for what you can do for your friend - we decided to move me and DD back to my home state when my DH was deployed. My family is not quite sure how to act or what to say around me... (you'd think after 10 years they'd feel comfortable). Talk to her, ask questions, support her (any way needed) and most of all lend a shoulder and an ear. Don't be afraid to ask questions, I'm sure if you are thinking about them then she has... it may give her an outlet to express her feelings.

And most of all DON'T ask if she feels if it is RIGHT or WRONG that the US is there. Right or wrong - this is her son's job, this is what he trained for, this is what being in the military is all about. Support him and every one of the guys and gals that are there...

Okay - I've rambled on long enough. Sorry. Remember, nothing is to silly or weird or strange to ask.

btass
11-18-2004, 02:23 PM
Does anyone know if I could write to anyone who is deployed? I don't know anyone that is in Iraq this time but my brother was in Desert Storm and he loved any mail he could get!

TheGottis
11-18-2004, 03:56 PM
Unfortunately, I think they put a stop to the 'Any Soldier' letter and package program for safety reasons... sorry.