A Civilian helping troops on front lines, providing Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids, Study Bibles and Care Packages for soldiers in combat areas.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CNN's I-Report honors troops

From CNN Press Release:


Morning Express with Robin Meade to Salute Troops for Memorial Day

In preparation for Memorial Day weekend coverage, Headline News has been soliciting iReports – videos, photos and audio content submitted by the public – to honor military personnel. Select “Salute to Troops” iReports will air on Morning Express with Robin Meade on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. (ET).
Morning Express viewers and CNN.com users are asked to send their thoughts and wishes for U.S. military personnel to iReport.com, CNN Worldwide’s first uncensored, unfiltered, unedited, user-generated community Web site. Current “Salute to Troops” iReports include submissions from mothers wishing safety for their sons and daughters in active duty; tributes to those who lost their lives during service and even one from a South African couple thanking the U.S. troops and wishing all Americans a happy Memorial Day.
Additionally, Headline News set up an iReport submission station on Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 17, at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool in Washington , D.C. , so visitors could record and submit their wishes and sentiments for all those serving or who have served in the U.S. military. All “Salute to Troops” iReports can be viewed at www.iReport.com/Salute.
Morning Express with Robin Meade features a daily “Salute to Troops” segment designed to pay homage to military personnel and their families. These segments also can be viewed on the “Salute to Troops” blog at www.CNN.com/Robin.
For 2008 to date, Morning Express with Robin Meade is up 21 percent in total viewers and up 10 percent in P25-54, the advertiser demographic.
Select Memorial Day iReport tributes will appear across CNN's networks and services over the weekend.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Caught in the crossfire - Iraqi Child injured in War helped by Army Nurse

Poor boy. Caught a stray bullet in the shoulder and it came out his hip. Paralyzed with no movement in lower extremeties. I'd have rather him never been hurt, but am glad we could provide him this wheelchair to improve the quality of his life and help his family care for him better.

A few weeks ago, I asked my partners ROC Wheels to snail-mail me five kids' wheelchairs. A week ago last Friday, I received the first one just seven days after they were dropped in the mail, which surprised me they were delivered so fast. After returning from mail call with the very large box containing the chair, I checked email and found a request from SSGT Stoner in my inbox. Funny how that happens. Get something to give away, and literally within minutes find someone who needs it - almost like God planned it that way!

So I mailed the wheelchair up to her on Saturday, and happened to be going there on a business trip anyway the following week. After I arrived there last Thursday, I spent time during my lunch break at the combat hospital on Friday helping her assemble it while her commanders stood by watching in amazement at a pediatric wheelchair of this quality being donated to Iraqis. On my lunch break Saturday, I met SSGT Stoner and helped get the boy fitted to the wheelchair. They family was extremely grateful for the gift, and couldn't say enough thank you's - 'Shukran' in Arabic. Check out the press release sent to me today.

Thanks to all the supporters who make this signifcant work possible! If you haven't seen the CNN reports from February, check out the links below this press release.





CNN reports on Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids project in Baghdad - Website article

CNN reports on Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids project in Baghdad - Video Report 2/16/08

CNN follow - up story on family with three Polio children in Baghdad who received wheelchairs - Video Report 2/29/08

Saturday, August 04, 2007

In Memory of Nils G Thompson, killed in action 04 Aug 2005


Two years ago today, I learned of the death of my chapel friend Nils Thompson in Mosul, Iraq. Out in the city on patrol, an enemy sniper delivered the fatal round that took his life. That night in Mosul, I went back to my room after Chapel service and compsed this post on Texags.com posting forum:
http://www.texags.com/main/forum.reply.asp?forum_id=12&topic_id=467806&page=&opt=post

Because of his sacrifice, and because he was known as a soldier who loved God, attended chapel services of all faiths, and was active helping me get study Bibles into the hands of soldiers he knew and loved, his family set up the Nils Thompson Memorial Fund . Over the last 2 years, 4,000+ soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have received study Bibles in memory of Nils Thompson's life, faith and ultimate sacrifice.

Even though he is not with us any longer, Nils' life has a major impact on the lives of fellow soldiers fighting for freedom. Thank God for Nils. God be with his family and close friends who knew and loved him.

Still today in Iraq, Soldiers remember Nils Thompson...




An email I received yesterday from a Chaplain's assistant in a suburb of Baghdad:
Hello, SPC Leathermon, Lawrence told me about your bibles for soldiers. I would like to see about getting some if they were still available. I am the Chaplain Assistant for CH Tucker. We are the replacements for SPC Leathermon and CH Ehler here at Camp XXXX. We look forward to hearing from you, Thank you for your support of the troops.

PFC Lowery, Timothy
Chaplain Assistant, Patriot Chapel

At this point, I don't have any on hand to send to them, as I sent out 20 cases of study Bibles to the Marines in Western Iraq two days ago that were stacked in my room. They asked for 1400 but all I had was the 20 cases (320 study Bibles).
Just whenever you can get them to me will be great. I have a few here but a lot of new soldiers are coming in and replacing some of the others, I appreciate your service and what you do. Whenever you have the resources would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help. I pray that God may bless your ministry in all you do.

PFC Lowery, Timothy
Chaplain Assistant, Patriot Chapel

If you would like to help supply these soldiers in harms' way with study Bibles (they ask for them), feel free to click on the 'how to donate' link above for Study Bibles for Soldiers.com



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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy July 4th Independence Day



Happy July 4th! Here's a tribute to the troops in harms' way.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Great Care Package Giveaway! June 2007


So many of you are sending outstanding care packages for troops, it's being recognized now by the military. You're making a difference in the morale of the troops with boots on ground in tough places. Just check out all the smiles in these pictures!

Before leaving vacation, I had about 120 care packages for troops in my room I wasn't able to distribute because I ran out of time. Upon returning from vacation, there were around 170 care packages waiting for me at the mail room under my name! Now I had to distribute about 290 care packages, and FAST! So after work, I loaded up the truck on multiple nights, a total of three regular sized pickup truck beds full of care packages. I was escorted by the Chaplain of an aviation unit, and gave a huge number out that way. Then, I just sat outside the chow hall for a few hours each night with my truck bed aimed at the exit just packed with care boxes. I can say now that I have no more care packages left to distribute! So if you were thinking of sending some my way, I'm ready, willing and able to get your care packages into the hands of grateful troops!
First Truckload of packs:

Arizona Soldiers:

Southlake TX student sends pack to Soldier - he likes it!

Fort Hood Soldiers get packs from the Pearland Connexion:

Fort Hood Soldiers with MORE packs for other soldiers outside the wire at that time:
Chaplain and Chief from an Aviation Battalion get a coffee shipment with supplies for their coffee shop sent by the Fortune's in Texas!

This soldier was very excited to get a care pack from Carolyn in Cave Creek, AZ - just one of many she and her church group provided!



These guys were also pumped about getting cool care packages from Gary & Robin in Tucson, AZ!

She was all excited about the care package from St. Mark's Lutheran Church!

For sending care packs, please use this address:

Brad Blauser,

KBR / CLSS / LSI, A1

APO, AE 09391

Here's a list of best things to send:

1. ANYTHING HOMEMADE. Soft cookies, brownies, fudge, rice krispies treats, etc.

2. Snackables, comfort / fattening foods (snack cakes, twinkies, ding dongs). No chocolates until like October.

3. Picture of yourselves and a hand written note of encouragement to the soldiers. Lots of times they'll read the note before digging through the package.

4. DVDs of the top 10 movies at Blockbuster.

5. DEET pump spray repellants.

6. For the ladies - if you're doing gender specific packages - anything from Bath and Body Works or someplace similar.

7. Blade replacements for the Gillette Fusion and Mach lII razors.

8. Packaged ground coffees.

9. White crew socks.

10. PX Gift Cards from AAFES.

Things NOT to send: Shirts, Hats (not part of uniform – can’t wear over here), colored fingernail polish.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kids school in Iraq built by Army Corps of Engineers

More good news from co-laborers in Iraq!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Brown Cup Coffee Shop thanks family and school for care pack

SGT Mike Davis who established and managed the Brown Cup Coffee Shop (BCCS) has taken a new assignment here on FOB, and has handed responsibility over to his replacement, SSGT Padilla from Cali. The BCCS is a stop-off here on base in the desertland where soldiers can get a cup of coffee, relax, watch a little football over satellite tv and grab some pre-packaged comfort foods to eat on their next mission outside the wire. Lately, the shelves have been pretty bare. Sad, sad sight to behold.

However, with the latest care package specifically marked for the Brown Cup Coffee Shop from the Fortune family in Allen and from Lake Dallas High School, the shelves will no longer be empty (for the next few hours until word gets round that a new package has arrived).


SSGT Padilla wanted to thank the Fortunes and the students of Lake Dallas High School for their time taken to write the notes, and the great home-made cookies and the specialty coffees and creamers which will be enjoyed by America's finest combat troops unwinding/regenerating between missions.


Special thanks to all of you who are sending care packages...I believe Jason and crew just sent some my way. Southlake Carroll 1st graders have sent a number of packages I've received, and I should be handing those off shortly. {Sorry to everyone who has sent the packages, for not sending pictures - I've had very little time for this and putting anything on the blog.} These packages have been going to Chaplains who take them outside the wire to the guys living in the hinterlands and badlands who don't have any modern conveniences (showers, toilets, chow halls), much less PXs to supply their needs. So sometimes when the Chaplain is able, he'll get pictures...other times he'll have his commander write a letter of thanks and send the unit's shoulder patch.

Here's a tried and true list of what the soldiers need / appreciate receiving in their care packages for those who want to join the Care Package Connexion:
1. ANYTHING HOMEMADE. Soft cookies, brownies, fudge, rice krispies treats, etc.


2. Snackables. Nuts, trail mix, jerky and things from the snacks isle in the supermarket. Chocolates travel well now until about April. Also feel free to include comfort / fattening foods (snack cakes, twinkies, ding dongs).


3. DVDs of the top 10 movies at Blockbuster.


4. DEET pump spray repellants


5. For the ladies - if you're doing gender specific packages - anything from Bath and Body Works or someplace similar.


6. Blade replacements for the Gillette Fusion and Mach lII razors.


7. Small toys / beannie babies, hard candies to give the kids out in the city on missions.


8. Picture of yourselves and a hand written note of encouragement to the soldiers.


9. Packaged ground coffees.


10. White crew socks.


11. PX Gift Cards from AAFES.



Things NOT to send: Shirts, Hats (not part of uniform – can’t wear over here), porn, alcohol, aeresol canned goods, colored fingernail polish.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Goals for 2007












*********************************************
The goal for 2007 - 500 kids ROC wheelchairs x $200/each =$100,000...To donate (tax deductible) online: https://www.marsew.net/RocWheels/donate.cfm (Iraq Mission in comments section) or mail check to:

Wheelchairs For Iraqi Kids
C/O www.ROCWheels.org
ATTN: Andrew Babcock
7175 Sypes Canyon Road
Bozeman, MT 59715
*********************************************

Thanks to a large donation ($34,000) from a major US Corporation, we were able to meet our latest goal of 200 more pediatric ROC Wheelchairs for disabled Iraqi Children! We will take delivery via the Air Force and USAID's Denton Program in January or early February, and these chairs will be distributed by US and Iraqi Soldiers in Northern AND Central Iraq.

This coming year, we are planning on bringing over another 500 ROC Wheelchairs. That will require a huge effort in raising $100,000 for this mission. This started as a grass roots effort, and has primarily been funded by donations from average, everyday Americans, Britons and Australians, and we'll continue relying on support from these generous people.

Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids not only gives the gift of mobility to disabled kids in a war torn environment, but also boosts troop morale and wins hearts and minds in the distribution communities. In some cases, the troops don't take incoming fire anymore in those areas!

Please consider donating to this effort as we try to bring peace in a very disturbing environment.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Soldiers LOVE Care Packs - these pics prove it!








Becky from Bryan, TX sent a few of these! Some of these soldiers were on the wheelchair distribution team for the kids just over a month ago.


A group of MPs just before rolling out on mission...These were from my Aunt Val in Tucson...they were really pumped and were saying 'these are really good care packages!' as they opened them.







These soldiers are working on the Strykers...making sure they go out on mission 100% operational. They were caught off-guard by your care packages. The didn't quite know what to say, except "we weren't expecting these' and 'THANKS!". One soldier said he hadn't received on since arriving in country. Thanks to Gary and Robin (again!) in Tucson for the packs!

I'm on my way back from R&R, and I'm sure I'll have a pile of care packages to give out as soon as I return! Thanks to all who are giving them to us...they really improve morale and let these guys know you are thinking of them and what they do matters to someone back home.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Brave Soldiers get Care Packs from Home!

These guys REALLY do appreciate the support - you guys are doing a great service for the 'kids' in harms' way. They're losing their fellow fighters to snipers and IEDs in the city now on a regular basis. The care packs help ease their minds and make them remember home - and that there are friends & family who love and support them and their mission. I hope you all understand how much this show of support really means to these guys at this point in time...

God bless you everyone!

Brad

Here's the Pics:


Paul with Val from Tucson's Care Pack



Jeremiah with Toni from upstate NY's Care Pack (He was awed by how large the care pack was - turns out he shared most of it with his battle buddies in his platoon)



Beardshall #1 - This is the Beardshall's second group of packages to come over (I have the pics of your family up on the wall of my office here - very nice)



Beardshall #2



Maggie from Bryan, TX sent some cool packages! This soldier is an MP (caught him going into the gym). He said he'd write you and thanks for the cookies!


Maggie's Care Pack #2 This Seargent said he sees kids out on his missions quite often, and he'd show them how the silly string works. Oh - and THANKS for the cookies!



Mickie from Zachary, LA also sent a couple of boxes. These guys were surprised, and grateful that people back home care enough to do this for them.


Mickie #2


80s Guy from PLANO, TX - Here are the care packs your church put together. These, as most of the other pics here are of soldiers returning to their rooms after evening chow. They all would shake my hand and thank me for the care packages - but I would re-direct them to send thank you notes in your direction...Thanks for sending these.









I just received another load of packages today, so I'll be sorting them and giving them out also.

"If you mail it, I'll give it out!"

Send care packs to:
Brad Blauser
KBR / CLSS / LSI
H2 Camp Diamondback
APO, AE 09334

List of most useful items:
1. ANYTHING HOMEMADE. Soft cookies, brownies, fudge, rice krispies treats, etc.
2. Snackables. Nuts, trail mix, things from the snacks isle in the supermarket. No chocolates until like October or so.
3. DVDs of the top 10 movies at Blockbuster.
4. DEET pump spray repellants,
5. For the ladies - if you're doing gender specific packages - anything from Bath and Body Works or someplace similar.
6. Blade replacements for the Gillette Mach II razors.
7. Small toys / beannie babies, hard candies to give the kids out in the city on missions.
8. Picture of yourselves and a hand written note of encouragement to the soldiers.
9. Packaged coffees – whole bean or ground up. Very coveted prize to dance around camp with when received.
10. White crew socks.
11. PX Gift Cards from AAFES.

Things NOT to send: Shirts, Hats (not part of uniform – can’t wear over here), colored fingernail polish, alcohol, pornography.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wheelchairs For Iraqi Kids Video - August 2006 Distribution

Thanks to MAJ Wilfredo Robles, SFC Kevin Olson, 1st LT Lee Berry, the Soldiers of the 164th Maintenance Company, the A 1/321 Field Artillery and the Soldiers of the HHD 352nd

*********************************************

The goal - 200 more kids wheelchairs x $200/each =$40,000...

To donate (tax deductible) online: https://www.marsew.net/RocWheels/donate.cfm (Iraq Mission in comments section) or mail check to:

Wheelchairs For Iraqi Kids

C/O www.ROCWheels.org

ATTN: Andrew Babcock

7175 Sypes Canyon Road

Bozeman, MT 59715

*********************************************

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cool Care Packages from Great Americans Stateside!

03 September 2006

A number of you have sent care packages which I've received over the past 10 days. It's been great to go up to these soldiers randomly and hand them your care packages, watch their faces light up, reach out and take their hand and tell them that you folks back home appreciate what they're doing, and maybe the care packs will make life a little easier for them here. They really do give the guys a boost, and all are very thankful. Most of these guys are on schedules that would drive a normal person insane. Multiple missions a day outside the wire, with a little sleep here, a little sleep there, snack food diet because they are off base during chow hall hours. Their limits are being tested, as the most is demanded of them. Here's your care packs:


TEXAGS CARE PACKS:


These guys were a few of the soldiers out on the wheelchair distribution with me. They're mechanical experts at repairing and maintaining all the neat military vehicles here on base which you may or may not see on the news. There are a number of soldiers in country who do not live on large bases, but on smaller combat outposts which have no chow hall or no PX. These soldiers depend on their battle buddies on larger bases to pass on some of the care packs when they arrive. When I asked Chief Gregg which soldiers needed care packages the most, he suggested these be passed along to the guys outside the wire, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Beardshalls, Linton, Parsons and Sprott's care packages are in this picture, and will go out to the more 'deprived' soldiers on the desolate border of Iraq and Turkey. I've been promised pictures back, but just so you see that they're in soldiers' hands, we took the one above.


BULLARD'S CARE PACKS:


This soldier is holding one of two packs sent by Bullard in Spring / Houston area. They were both for females, and both of them were grateful to hear from a young girl. They were glad to have another pen pal to with which to correspond. The other Bullard care pack is below:




RONDA'S CARE PACKS:


I had three left from Ronda's care package party, so I figured it was well past time to hand these out. This is SPC Scriver. New in country (first time), he was ecstatic that someone back home cared enough to think of him. I'm surprised at how impacted these people are...but they take their job seriously, and understand the serious nature of their mission. With all the negativity from the press they see coming over the TVs in the chow hall, they are glad to know that there are still people in America who support them. Below is Matthew, who was Chapel guard this morning. He was pleasantly suprised to find both home-made cookies AND a slab of brownies in the bottom of his care pack!



Also as a chapel guard, this soldier (below) was real interested (as were a number of his friends) in attending planned events at the Chapel, but because of mission schedules is not able to make it. I haven't seen him in a few weeks, as seeing the same soldier more than two or three times is rare (again because of schedule). Here's PFC Conroy:




ASK, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE!


As I was returning from work last night, I had two more care packs in the truck with me. One was in the passenger seat. The soldier in the picture on the right saw it and asked if I was going to give him my care package. He was taken aback and his eyes grew to the size of saucers when I said YES, as long as I could get his picture with it! I pulled off, and told him to call one of his buds over so I could him a care package also. This is a living example of a good life lesson. We don't have because we don't ask. Maybe if we asked for more, we'd have more??? Go for it. The big package on the right is from Natalie in Tropy Club. The aroma coming from the box was incredible, as the sun had warmed up the fudge packed carefully inside. The package on the left is from my long-time supporters Gary & Robin in Tucson. Both soldiers were not believing that someone would just give away their care packages, but this is part of what makes it fun. Giving away something people would expect me to keep.


THE BROWN CUP COFFEE SHOP

The base where I work has a soldier staffed and care package supplied coffee shop - "Brown Cup Coffee Shop" it's called. A very dedicated SGT Michael Davis runs it. Aside from the various flavors of coffee he makes for the soldiers when they're not on convoy or on other missions, he runs this place like a 24 hour miniature 7-11 stop & shop, with various care package goodies lining the shelves, open and available for soldiers and civilians to come take what they want, when they want. He also has a grill outside where he cooks steaks and hot dogs for the soldiers and civilians whenever he receives them. He's really burning the candle at both ends in doing his regular job AND running this coffee / morale-booster shop. A few weeks ago, I passed on a large care package to him from the Sprotts business office in Houston / "The Pearland Connexion", and SGT Davis wrote them a thank you letter back. We took a picture with his camera at the time, but he wasn't able to find time to get it to me. The Sprotts sent two more care packages for anysoldier, and one included a special pack inside specifically with SGT Davis' name on it. So I brought it over to him, and he quickly took out the card attached and read it.



As I came back inside from retrieving my camera from the truck, he was reading the card still, and was unable to speak.


It touched him deeply, and he had to leave the room to regain his composure. Moments later he returned to the room as I made fun of him (I'm terrible, I know, but he was giggling too!). Here's his picture with the newest items from the Sprotts (twinkies, pringles and four packs of Starbucks coffee):





Anyone wanting to help SGT Davis (Mike) keep his shelves stocked and the coffee brewing, feel free to send me your care package with his name on them and I'll make sure he and his crew get them.


FRIDAY NIGHT FUN, SPONSORED BY MCKINNEY, TX

I lead a small group of soldiers on Friday nights in Bible study. I was a little blown away at the first session 05 Aug to have a Leiutenant Colonel and a Sergeant Major join me. These guys are great Christian men, and commanders of their Battalion. I mean, who am I to be leading Army Commanders? But in matters of faith, God is no respector of persons. The LTC became a Christ follower a few years ago at a Promise Keepers event, the SGT Major a follower since he was just a kid. They have been consistent in their attendance, and I've learned a great deal from them as have they from me. I'm blessed to have them in my life. The LTC was instrumental in helping me find a home for 500 study Bibles (going to Chaplains in Baghdad) of the 2000+ study Bibles in the mail headed over this way. We have a good group coming on Fridays, when they don't have to be outside the wire on missions. They covet your prayers, by the way. Deneen and her fifth grade Wednesday night class from the Church of Christ in McKinney put this care package together, with two large slabs of brownies for the commanders. Matt and Carl were regretful to have to eat all the extra calories, but I'm sure they enjoyed every one of them.




THE TUCSON CONNEXION

Gary & Robin had sent another care package. They always have boxes open out on the table in some state of completion to send over care packs to me. Every so often, they drop a few in the mail when they get them completely full. They're even now doing a tour of speaking engagements at churches and public events to rouse support for me over here now. I will never be able to repay them for the amount of support Gary & Robin are lending me. Back to the story. The soldier below is SPC Molinet (said mol-in-et not mol-in-ay). He's one I see regularly when going to work on the other base. Even though it's still dark, he always seems awake and chipper. I thought he deserved a care package for having to put up with my smart remarks and joking every morning when I pass by him, so here it is. He was thankful, and said he'd for sure write a thank you note to Gary & Robin. Just one more pic & thank you note for their scrap book. Good job, G&R.



This one (below) from G&R went to one of my closer friends here - Josh. I'm real bad with names, and it took me like 5 times to get his right, but he was always humble and understanding about my screwing up his name. He's also in my Friday night group, and has a heart for sharing his faith with any soldier in his Stryker Battalion who will listen. I really think Josh is one soldier who is most likely to reach the most of his buds with the good news of his faith. He also covets your prayers. Stryker Infantry soldiers are some who go outside the wire on the most dangerous missions, doing house to house searches. If you're praying, pray for all the soldiers in harms' way. But you might consider spending extra time thinking about these guys and the ones on convoys. Here's Josh:



I still have two more care packs to give out from Sprott and Beardshalls, both from Houston. I'm sure more will come in the mail tomorrow, so I'll get these two and tomorrows up on the blog asap!

God bless...and THANKS for the support!
Brad

If you mail it, I'll give it out!

Send care packs to:

Brad Blauser
KBR / CLSS / LSI
H2 Camp Diamondback
APO, AE 09334

List of most useful items:
1. ANYTHING HOMEMADE. Soft cookies, brownies, fudge, rice krispies treats, etc. Soldiers whoop, holler and make a spectacle of themselves when they get this stuff! It's pretty fun to watch.
2. Snackables. Nuts, trail mix, things from the snacks isle in the supermarket. No chocolates until like October or so.
3. DVDs of the top 10 movies at Blockbuster.
4. DEET pump spray repellants,
5. For the ladies - if you're doing gender specific packages - anything from Bath and Body Works or someplace similar.
6. Blade replacements for the Gillette Mach II razors.
7. Small toys / beannie babies, hard candies to give the kids out in the city on missions.
8. Picture of yourselves and a hand written note of encouragement to the soldiers.
9. Packaged coffees – whole bean or ground up. Very coveted prize to dance around camp with when received.
10. White crew socks.
11. PX Gift Cards from AAFES.

Things NOT to send: Shirts, Hats (not part of uniform – can’t wear over here), colored fingernail polish, alcohol, pornography.