5. I want to send a message of support to our troops – where do I send it? Can I send goodies/books/etc?
Answer: DoD officials ask citizens not to flood the military mail system with letters, cards, and gifts. Due to security concerns and transportation constraints, the Defense Department can't accept items mailed to "Any Servicemember”. However, there are numerous other ways in which you can show your support for our troops. The following are websites for several organizations sponsoring programs for members of the Armed Forces overseas. While it would be inappropriate for DoD to endorse any specifically, Service members do value and appreciate such expressions of support:
Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at Operation Uplink at http://www.operationuplink.org/
Send a greeting via e-mail through http://anyservicemember.org/
Sign a virtual thank you card at the Defense America web site at http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Make a donation to one of the military relief societies:
Army Emergency Relief at http://www.aerhq.org/
Navy/Marine Relief Society at http://www.nmcrs.org/
Air Force Aid Society at http://www.afas.org/
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance at http://www.cgmahq.org/
Donate to "Operation USO Care Package" at http://www.usometrodc.org/care.html
Support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services at http://www.redcross.org/services/afes/
Volunteer at a VA Hospital http://www.va.gov/vetsday/
to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts.
Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals through a donation to the Fisher House at http://www.fisherhouse.org.
U.S. troops deployed to the Persian Gulf region and other overseas locations can now receive personal messages from family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues and supporters via the pages of "Stars and Stripes" as well. "Messages of Support," a daily section that debuted March 17, gives family and friends of deployed service members a chance to pass their greetings, words of encouragement and announcements free of charge. "Messages of Support" can be e-mailed to "Stars and Stripes" 24 hours a day at email@example.com
, are limited to 50 words or less and will be printed on a first-come, first-run basis. "Stars and Stripes" reserves the right to screen and edit all messages and to omit any determined inappropriate.
Reach out to military families in your community, especially those with a loved one deployed. 6. I see above how I can support the troops. Is there anything I should not do?
Answer: Yes there are things you should not do. There are many well meaning Web sites, TV stations, and charity groups that are promoting donations to overseas Servicemembers. While well intentioned, you should not use them and you should discourage others from using them. These unsolicited letters of support or care packages to Servicemembers raise a force protection issue, since anonymous donors are different from legitimate family members and friends. DoD has cancelled mail programs which encouraged the American public in general to mail to Any Servicemember (versus a specific deployed person). These new programs attempt to do the same thing by gathering names of Servicemembers to send mail. While legitimate mail from family members and loved ones is always encouraged, these donor programs, which collect and pass out Servicemembers’ names and addresses, is discouraged.