Click on the logo to find 500 marines waiting to distribute your care packages to over 13,000 troops.
A couple of years ago I blogged about AnySoldier.com. It's a great non-profit organization that allows civilians to find American military troops stationed abroad who have requested care packages. Watching Generation Kill reminded me of how sucky their living conditions can be, especially in Iraq. And now with the recent buildup of troops in Afghanistan, thousands of more soldiers, marines, air force and navy troops will be deployed to fight the increasingly aggressive Taliban there.
For a recent informative article about Marines taking on the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. News and World Report has an online version here.
One thing I learned from watching Generation Kill is that marines have to "make do" more than army soldiers when it comes to supplies. They just don't have the budget to supply what's really needed, even batteries for their night-vision goggles. One military tech blog writes about the show:
. . . drivers are bargaining for salvaged hoses and gaskets for their busted Humvees, and grabbing smuggled batteries brought in by an embedded reporter from Rolling Stone for their NVGs. "It's like Gilligan's Island—they're giving us rocks and coconuts to make radios with," says one. Yes, recon Marines are legendary for getting things done quick and dirty, but when low-rank Marines are spending $500 or more of their own money for parts for their own trucks—damn. That may come as no surprise to anyone who has been or knows someone who has been deployed, but for us sitting here watching HBO in our living rooms, it's something we can't be reminded of enough.
This time I chose to send a care package to a group of ten ETT (Embedded Training Team) marines in Kabul who are mentoring men in the Afghan National Army, which, according to a NYT story last week, is supposed to double in number to 120,000 troops by next year. I tried to include their requests for socks and toiletries, the much-requested batteries, candy, and snacks, but I also added some fun stuff like Macanudo cigars, Skoal (yuk), boy-type magazines, energy fuel for those long, sleepless nights, a "cardio hula" workout DVD which I hope they find funny, a dictionary and thesaurus to keep them sharp, and of course, the necessary Groucho Marx glasses.