[Northkeep] OT: Helping the Troops

John Yates valstarr_hawkwind at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 27 19:45:34 PST 2003

Following is the release.
   No. 139-03


To bolster force protection, the general public is
urged not to send unsolicited mail, care packages or
donations to service members forward deployed unless
you are a family member, loved one or personal friend.

On Oct. 30, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD)
suspended the "Operation Dear Abby" and "Any
Servicemember" mail programs due to force protection
concerns. Although these programs provide an excellent
means of support to friends and loved ones stationed
overseas, they also provide an avenue to introduce
hazardous substances or materials into the mail system
from unknown sources. Unsolicited mail, packages and
donations from organizations and individuals also
compete for limited airlift space used to transport
supplies, war-fighting materiel and mail from family
and loved ones.

Recently, DoD has become aware of organizations and
individuals who continue to support some form of the
"Any Servicemember" program by using the names and
addresses of individual servicemembers and unit
addresses. These programs are usually supported by
well-intentioned, thoughtful and patriotic groups who
are simply unaware of the new risks facing deployed
military forces. Some individuals and groups publicize
the names and addresses of service members, ships or
units on Web sites, with good intentions. The result,
however, is a potential danger to the troops they wish
to support.

DoD cannot support creative and well-intentioned
efforts that defeat force protection measures, but can
instead recommend alternatives to mail and donation
programs. To show support to troops overseas, the
following are recommended:

* Log on to the following Web sites to show support,
to include greeting cards, virtual Thank You cards and
calling card donations to help troops stay in contact
with loved ones:




* Visit Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and
nursing homes. Volunteer your services to honor
veterans who served in past conflicts.

Mail from family members and loved ones has always
been encouraged and the military mail system will
continue to work hard to get that mail to
servicemembers overseas.

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