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Posted: 1/17/2002 8:27:01 AM EDT
OK, here's the deal. A good family friend has been deployed with the US Army to one of the "-stan" countries (we think Afghanistan, but don't know) and we send her a shoe box-sized care package every week. We haven't been very successful in having her tell us what she needs. We want to send her stuff she and/or her coworkers can really use. She is a LTC in the USA, assigned to a Medical group, she's a nurse and we've already determined that there is little if any contact with the locals (one of our early ideas was to send some small toys for the local kids; that idea is now out). Deployment will probably last through the most of this year. So, for you vets, what's important to send? I'm open to ideas. Thanks, Merlin
Link Posted: 1/17/2002 8:48:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2002 8:49:58 AM EDT by Tinker]
Originally Posted By Merlin: We haven't been very successful in having her tell us what she needs. We want to send her stuff she and/or her coworkers can really use. So, for you vets, what's important to send? I'm open to ideas.
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Gee. I don't know what things are like there, nor what she's going to be able to get from local sources. I assume you are already writing, sending pictures of the family and possibly recorded audio and video of everyone back home. When I was on long cruises, I found reading material extremely desirable. I also found myself jonesing for a good hamburger or pizza (big help, huh?). Military food is to real food as military music is to real music. Good whisky was darned hard to get too. Not a big drinker, but when I got a chance to sneak aboard a cruise ship and get a drink of decent Irish whiskey, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Probably not, huh? My family DID send me a supply of canned Mexican foods, which I enjoyed (in spite of them not being very fresh or authentic). Any change was wonderful. Sometimes it really IS the thought that counts. Sun screen, chapstick etc. were desired, especially around the equator. What might she need in her area? Music that she really enjoys, a new CD by someone she likes, maybe. If they have a DVD or VCR there, maybe movies. Batteries to keep it all running? Sometimes the most trivial things mean a bunch. Send something unique from your geographic area/home. Just knowing someone out there gives a darn and is TRYING is more important than the actuality.
Link Posted: 1/17/2002 10:08:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Tinker:
Originally Posted By Merlin: We haven't been very successful in having her tell us what she needs. We want to send her stuff she and/or her coworkers can really use. So, for you vets, what's important to send? I'm open to ideas.
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I assume you are already writing, sending pictures of the family and possibly recorded audio and video of everyone back home. When I was on long cruises, I found reading material extremely desirable. Good whisky was darned hard to get too. My family DID send me a supply of canned Mexican foods, Sun screen, chapstick etc. were desired, ... a new CD by someone she likes.. maybe movies. Batteries to keep it all running?
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Good suggestions from Tinker. Easy to tell he's someone who has been there and didn't have 'that'. Without knowing the person it's hard to really get precise but if anyone knows her favorite lipstick, make-up, etc., - here I'm betting wimenz are still wimenz. I don't know that I would give up on the small toys for kids idea. Send one box and then gauge her reaction. While she may not be in the local community I would expect some locals are around. Giving a tiny gift to a parent to take home to their child? Powerful - very powerful. Clips from her local/favorite newspapers. Even (maybe especially) military news. Keep this light and/or supportive. Yes I do mean censor what you send. Anything about old friends or classmates..... Does she access to a good supply of junk food ? When my brother was in Vietnam my father and I would send a care package made-up of vienna sausage, candy, cheese-crackers........ Playing cards.....? Probably what matters by far the most is that you folks remember and care. Finally as a former submarine sailor I'm least qualified to make suggestions. To occasionally go up and copy the sched (News, football scores, etc.) was as good as it got for us.
Link Posted: 1/17/2002 7:04:56 PM EDT
Rum balls!!! While in Vietnam I'll never forget how popular I was when my mother sent boxes of rum balls. Make lots or they won't last long.
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 5:11:22 AM EDT
Thanks for the suggestions. We've been sending chapstick and similiar items since we started, knowing that it was going to be cold and dry (temps are in the 20's). She got her first shower last week (no heat in the showers, not sure about the water), prior to that it was sponge baths. My wife is making sure she has enough "female" stuff. Before they were deployed, all of the officers and elisted personnel were brought into a room and told in no uncertain terms that there would be no sex relationships between the troops, no alcohol or other drugs and no fraternization with the locals. They were ordered by the commanding general (of what, I'm not sure) and then were required to sign the orders before deploying. My wife is sending books that she knows the LTC will like, we're sending hot chocalate, hot apple cider, writing materials and some candy, although she is not a big candy eater, we feel she can always share with her coworkers. One big misstep by me: I got onto my wife for Xmas wrapping every darn thing that went into the box; I thought that we oughta maximize the space and weight for items and not wrapping paper. Big mistake: our friend said it was the highlight of her day to unwrap every item and that she was the envy of all her coworkers in camp. Oh, well, who can figure women!!!! Keep the suggestions coming, we're still sending Monday is right around the corner and we don't have anything yet except hot chocalate) and we're running out of ideas!!! Thanks, Merlin Merlin
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 5:50:33 AM EDT
Well, I am not sure why, but when I was in Somalia everyone kept sending me summer sausage. I had so much of it that I was the most popular guy in my company. Reading material and music was also a big hit. If they have a tv and vcr there, send some video tapes. I think the guys in my company watched friggin "Free Willy" until the tape broke. Basically, anything that will pass the time, as I am sure there is plenty of that to go around.
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 8:34:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2002 8:27:52 AM EDT by 5subslr5]
Originally Posted By Merlin: Thanks for the suggestions. Before they were deployed, all of the officers and elisted personnel were brought into a room and told in no uncertain terms that there would be no sex relationships between the troops, no alcohol or other drugs and no fraternization with the locals. They were ordered by the commanding general (of what, I'm not sure) and then were required to sign the orders before deploying.
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Merlin, this speech was given by Roman Generals to the Roman Legions and undoubetedly long before. I think I'll just stop here !
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 8:37:18 PM EDT
Does she have access to a computer and e-mail where she is? If so, just flat out asking what she needs/wants might help both you AND her. Other than that, I'd second the idea of good reading materials. Spent many, many nights on USS Enterprise curled up in the rack with a good book (between watches, drills, field day, etc. of course).
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 6:05:02 AM EDT
Bob, I forgot to mention, but yes, she does have access to e-mail, that's how we found out about the cold showers and the non-access to the locals. Unfortunately, she e-mails my wife and my wife responds. For some reason, women can't just come out and ask, like us guys. 5, I mention the speech and orders given, 'cause our friend is a great stickler for following the rules, much less orders. If they tell her to not mix with the locals, she ain't going to be seeing no locals! For now, we're sticking with books, some candy and mostly feminine type stuff along with lots of chapstick/moisturizers's etc. Thanks for the help! Merlin
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 7:39:07 AM EDT
Can't believe nobody has recommended home backed chocolate chip cookies yet. Remember getting a box of mom's home baked cookies - brought so much memories back of home while sitting out somewhere in the IO.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 8:39:26 AM EDT
Originally Posted By xsquid: Can't believe nobody has recommended home backed chocolate chip cookies yet. Remember getting a box of mom's home baked cookies - brought so much memories back of home while sitting out somewhere in the IO.
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xsquid, Generally we were not allowed to tell when we were going on patrol. As you know about 25% of the crew has the duty first night back in no matter that you've been at sea and underwater for 60-90 days. (Yeah, I had the duty.) Anyway my Mother had sent a box of chocolate fudge with pecans - just the way she knew I liked them. Package must have ben sitting at Pearl for six weeks waiting until we came in. Me and six of my buds locked ourselves in the Sonar room and fell upon that fudge like a pack of rodents. Although hard and in crumbs that's still the best fudge I've ever eaten !!
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 9:38:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: As you know about 25% of the crew has the duty first night back in no matter that you've been at sea and underwater for 60-90 days. (Yeah, I had the duty.)
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You bubbleheads had it easy [;)] On the can I served on, engineering usually had 1 in 3 and quite often port and starboard in-port duty sections. And yes, I know how it feels to pull into port, usually Subic, and have duty.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 10:35:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By xsquid:
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: As you know about 25% of the crew has the duty first night back in no matter that you've been at sea and underwater for 60-90 days. (Yeah, I had the duty.)
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You bubbleheads had it easy [;)] On the can I served on, engineering usually had 1 in 3 and quite often port and starboard in-port duty sections. And yes, I know how it feels to pull into port, usually Subic, and have duty.
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State side we did one in four - overseas one in three. (Both examples of in-port routine.) On patrol (not some training excercise) we stood four hours on and eight off. A lot of cleaning and routine maintenance would be deferred until the week we pulled off-station and headed for home. Noise, noise was always a consideration. Our engineers too often had the worst of it. In 7 yrs 3 mos., I only set foot on one other Navy ship - a "can" and for about an hour. The Sonar crew invited me to stay and have 'lunch' with them......... Congratulations on surviving some tough duty. I don't know that I could have done it.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 11:24:06 AM EDT
Baby wipes, beef jerky, and any small snacks that will last awhile in the US and Military Postal System. Baby wipes seem somewhat weird by they are great for getting yourself clean, they smell good and can be used if toilet paper is in short supply.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 5:26:18 PM EDT
Letters and pic from home,and lots of them! You don't know how much that means.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 5:34:31 PM EDT
I was just coyote hunting over the weekend with a buddy of mine that was some type of forward artillery spotter in Desert Storm. He told me the best thing his Mom sent him was those baby wipe things. He and his crew used them to "shower" since they were usually out ahead of the line and had no facilities. Maybe she would find some use for these.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 5:49:51 PM EDT
Hot sauce,worcestershire sauce,horseradish,mustard,ketchup. Homemade cookies. A little booze. Hand written letters,although that may not be an option. And as others have said,summer sausage,pepperoni sticks-anything to change a meal from military food.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 6:12:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Anyway my Mother had sent a box of chocolate fudge with pecans - just the way she knew I liked them. Package must have ben sitting at Pearl for six weeks waiting until we came in. Me and six of my buds locked ourselves in the Sonar room and fell upon that fudge like a pack of rodents. Although hard and in crumbs that's still the best fudge I've ever eaten !!
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5subslr5: If you fit seven guys in the sonar room of a diesel boat, that is probably a record! Was it forward of the bridge on the starboard side back then? Merlin: Can't say from a female or combat support service perspective, but here is what worked for me. You might ascertain if she has access to a forward based PX/BX. They put them is trucks and sell sundries out of the back. Photos, letters, drawings from the rugrats, CDs, audio and video tapes. Record several tapes from her favorite station's morning/ afternoon radio show. Home baked goods (that will last a couple of weeks in transit). Individually packaged foods. Ramen, spices, koolaid, oatmeal, cocoa, candy, cookies, crackers, coffee, tobacco products as desired, etc. Halloween type packages of candies, pencils, chalk, McDonald's type free toys for the kids may be able to get a few from a sympathetic manager). Giveaway items for favorite patients, if not for kids. Wipes, and more wipes. Washcloths. Fresh undies and socks. Creams, lotions, chapstick, antacids, SOFT toilet paper. Dental floss. Toiletries and glasses or contact lens care products. Disposable waterproof cameras. A mini cassette recorder. Small flashlight like a Photon, white or red, or a mini mag light, or better yet, a good head lamp, for reading in bedor going to the latrine at night. A cheap Walkman, if she does not have one. Batteries. AA and AAA are best. Books and magazines. Ziplocs, all sizes. Seasonal items (so we don't forget). Do not forget birthdays, anniversaries, etc. HIGH RISK! Possibly a mini bottle or two of wine or booze. Hope this helps. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Good luck, you are great people to be doing this.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 8:45:18 PM EDT
HIGH RISK! Possibly a mini bottle or two of wine or booze.
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That was the beauty of rum balls. Nobody had a clue till they sniffed or bit into one!
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 7:19:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 7:33:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By KheSanhDon: Hot sauce,worcestershire sauce,horseradish,mustard,ketchup. Homemade cookies. And as others have said,summer sausage,pepperoni sticks-anything to change a meal from military food.
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Without a doubt, All of this stuff! And KOOL-AID(the ready mix kind)Gatorade mix and Ice tea.Drinking all that water gets boring after a while.
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 8:38:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SF:
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Anyway my Mother had sent a box of chocolate fudge with pecans - just the way she knew I liked them. Package must have ben sitting at Pearl for six weeks waiting until we came in. Me and six of my buds locked ourselves in the Sonar room and fell upon that fudge like a pack of rodents. Although hard and in crumbs that's still the best fudge I've ever eaten !!
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5subslr5: If you fit seven guys in the sonar room of a diesel boat, that is probably a record! Was it forward of the bridge on the starboard side back then?
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SF, actually the entry hatch was in the middle of the deck of the crew's mess and the sonar room was directly below. (On the three diesel boats I rode.) With this entry no surprise visits were possible and the area would probably have held 15 men - although not for long and not comfortably. (Some lousy no good jerk had permanently directed an unfair amount of air conditioning into this space. Was that way on all three diesel boats !) The compartment was "L" shaped, completely isolated from the rest of the boat. We (the sonar crew) often spent a lot of off-duty time in the sonar room. Great place to read and depending on the operation close proximity to our battle stations. From E-4 through E-6 I ran the "Sonar Gang" on every boat I rode. I liked to be close to my folks and this space gave me the opportunity. Again due to the (relatively) large space and again depending on the Op, we might have three "guests" (three because the watch rotation was four-on eight-off) set-up temp quarters down with us. (Temp is defined as two-three months.) Many a junior officer making his first trip down to visit us for "quals" wanted to remain forever !!
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 8:59:46 AM EDT
5subslr5: No doubt someone ratted you out on the design, because on the two 688 boats I have been on, the sonar room was immediately forward of the bridge on the starboard side and jammed with equipment. The room itself might have been 12'x6', with 24" plus on both sides blocked by equipment. The operators seat folded down and blocked the passageway down the middle. I asked why there was so much stuff crammed in and the Chief told me that the Navy, in its infinite wisdom, continued to install new equipment and did not take the old stuff out unless they had to fit the new stuff in the same space. Free floor space, in port (no operators on stations) consisted on about 18"-24" down the center of the compartment with a LOT of intrusions by gear. Chalk up another advantage for the old diesel boats!
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 9:52:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SF: 5subslr5: No doubt someone ratted you out on the design, because on the two 688 boats I have been on, the sonar room was immediately forward of the bridge on the starboard side and jammed with equipment. The room itself might have been 12'x6', with 24" plus on both sides blocked by equipment. The operators seat folded down and blocked the passageway down the middle. I asked why there was so much stuff crammed in and the Chief told me that the Navy, in its infinite wisdom, continued to install new equipment and did not take the old stuff out unless they had to fit the new stuff in the same space. Free floor space, in port (no operators on stations) consisted on about 18"-24" down the center of the compartment with a LOT of intrusions by gear. Chalk up another advantage for the old diesel boats!
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Yes, the two nukes I was on were certainly less spacious so far as Sonar space. However, the move to the same level, starboard and just forward of the bridge (control room) was the correct move. Many times the captain was standing sort of between sonar and the bridge allowing him direct (verbal) communications with both - and allowed him to hear the actual discussions between ourselves as opposed to only what we were reporting. On the nukes we had five sonar types in the sonar room at battle stations but often the "phone talker" stood just outside in the passageway.
Link Posted: 1/30/2002 4:52:38 PM EDT
Boy, lots of great suggestions. I liked the ideas of: ziplock bags (the good ones) handiwipes/babywipes books color gameboy (ya' never know) keep writing letters cookies/rumballs/brownies deluxe hot cocoa mix (army stuff is Ackkkk!) girl stuff she can share with friends Tell her we also thank her for her work and duty.
Link Posted: 2/5/2002 9:21:17 AM EDT
Our "problem" has just doubled: Her husband was called up Friday PM for deployment Sunday AM. He'll be deployed at least for 4 months. They leave 2 boys in good hands in TN. We will be taking the boys home for Spring Break. We'll start sending a care package to the husband as soon as we get an address from him. The good news: He'll be about 2 hours flying time from his wife when he gets there (he's a BH driver; but that won't be his primary job there). We've received several thank you notes from our friend, she really appreciates our packages. And I appreciate the help I've received here on your suggestions and help. Thanks, Merlin
Link Posted: 2/6/2002 9:48:06 AM EDT
Decent article on what the troops are hankering for in Afghanistan. [url]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,44870,00.html[/url]
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 9:25:51 AM EDT
OK, I got a list from my friend, who's with the 101st at Kandahar: Rice Crispy Bars Chex Mix Mocha Latte' (It makes us feel civilized) Hot cocoa Ramen noodles (Lunch almost every day) Trail Mix Mixed nuts (I'm eating them as I type) Sardines (Especially the ones in mustard sauce) (Oysters, clams, shrimp, etc.) Tiger Sauce (This stuff disappeared very fast) Slim Jims Oreos Cheese Whiz Picante Sauce Doritos (Packed well so they don't crush) Saltine crackers Anybody want to tell me what "Tiger Sauce" is? Is this Tabasco Sauce? Thanks for the help! Merlin
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 2:35:52 PM EDT
When i was stationed in korea a few year ago tin lid copenhagen was like gold the stuff they ship over there is awful and in a plastic can, but i bet she doesnt dip copenhagen. so anything home made was good to. tiger sause is not tobasco not near as hot kinda sweet any grocery store should have it.good on anythting
Link Posted: 3/16/2002 7:51:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By USNvet: Rum balls!!! While in Vietnam I'll never forget how popular I was when my mother sent boxes of rum balls. Make lots or they won't last long.
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Hell, yeah!! I had exactly that experience '67-'68.
Link Posted: 3/16/2002 8:00:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2002 8:02:09 PM EDT by prk]
One of my favorite things was one of those plug-in heating elements you could use to boil water with. You know - had a coil at the end. Good quality barbers' shears might be nice. Lately, I've seen chips (Doritos's or similar) come in plastic bottles - these would protect them in shipping.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 6:55:17 AM EDT
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