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Give thanks today in a truly meaningful way: Support our troops. Send letters and care packages by clicking on a soldier's address at Here's how it works, from their FAQs:

You select one or more soldiers from the Where to Send page. You will notice the Soldier's address includes the line, "ATTN: Any Soldier" . The Soldiers are volunteers for this effort, they will see the "Attn" line, and will put your letters and packages into the hands of Soldiers who don't get much or any mail. This effort is 110% voluntary.

We provide help on the What to Send and How to Send pages.

You send your support, and maybe some stuff, directly to whatever unit or units you want, you don't send us anything. PLEASE read the entire web site before you send anything as we want you to be informed and comfortable with this effort.

This CNN link has the faces of those who've died, along with a few details about each. We saw some soldiers on our way back from New York. A number of them looked tiny and/or very young -- like teenagers. Probably because they are teenagers.

Here's one from the list -- 18 years old:

Lance Cpl. Andrew Julian Aviles, Headquarters & Service Company, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Tampa, Florida. Killed when an Iraqi artillery round struck his amphibious assault vehicle near Baghdad, Iraq, on April 7, 2003

This guy, from Missoula, Montana, was just 19 when he died:

Pfc. Andrew D. Bedard, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Expeditionary Force, Missoula, Montana. Killed by a homemade bomb that detonated during combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq, on October 4, 2005

And here's a girl from Wisconsin, age 19:

Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld, 19, 527th Military Police Company, V Corps, Waupun, Wisconsin. Killed during a mortar attack on the Abu Ghraib Police Station in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 26, 2003

Total dead and wounded coalition forces from the CNN link above:

There have been 2,296 coalition deaths, 2,097 Americans, one Australian, 98 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, two Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 26 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of November 23, 2005, according to a CNN count. The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country's governments. At least 15,568 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon.

Posted by aalkon at November 24, 2005 10:28 PM

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quick tip: if possible, find out what that person needs, if not before you send anything, at least before you send anything else. a lot depends on what mission the unit is doing and where they are located. a marine in rahwah would probably want gold bond, socks, and a few issues of musclemag. an airman in balad would probably want sunscreen, aloe, and a few issues

if there's a quality local food product, like tastykakes if you're from pa, bagels from nyc, etc., they'd probably go over really well.

Posted by: g*mart at November 24, 2005 12:39 AM

It says so on the pages of the individual soldier...which, by the way, are quite compelling to read in some cases.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2005 1:13 AM

Hopefully, as I write this comment, my sister is somewhere on her way home...after one year in Iraq!! They are scheduled to arrive at their home base on Sunday. Unfortunately our family can't all afford to be there to greet her (This is a common occurrence. No airline discounts exist for family members of service men or women except for their dependents.), but we hope to see her soon.

I know that she craved good cheese (not Middle Eastern varieties!) and good chocolate while in Mosul. She said not to bother sending candy (except for special chocolate) because they receive tons of that. She also enjoyed receiving nice-smelling lotions and things to cheer up her little room such as potpouri, contact paper, posters, etc. - I think she would pass on the musclemag. though :)

Posted by: Claire at November 24, 2005 10:48 AM

Thanks, Claire. And please tell your sister that a blogger/advice columnist you know says "thanks."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2005 2:22 PM


Thanks, Amy, for posting this. It's real, unlike the fake sentiment of attaching a magnetic sticker to your car while doing nothing at all for your neighbor in battle.

Posted by: Radwaste at November 25, 2005 8:14 AM

Exactly. The next time I go to Costco, I'm going to buy a bunch of stuff and send it. Even letters make a difference.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 25, 2005 8:23 AM

[quote]They are scheduled to arrive at their home base on Sunday[/quote]

we might end up on the same plane.

sorry if i didn't bother checking the site out. i wouldn't really consider doing it, other than to take my name off, 'cause my mom probably has me on every possible one she can think of. i got a retarded amount of mail at the beginning of the deployment. thankfully, i didn't have much of a job and my computer was still out for repairs. i've been dreadful about writing back now that i've got to work 10 to 12 hours a day and i've got a computer to play on the internet with.

then again, i rarely received a second mailing from anybody but a few individuals; the school classes didn't seem too interested in repeat mailings, especially the one to which i wrote 5 pages of response, including the story of how i was arrested when i was 15.

Posted by: g*mart at November 25, 2005 11:44 AM

Are you writing from Iraq or Kuwait? Are you saying you're coming back to the States this weekend, too? If so, welcome back! And thank you, too.

Posted by: claire at November 25, 2005 6:51 PM

kuwait, unfortunately. and thank you.

amy's in the sunday issue of the mideast stars and stripes. much better than the other advice columnists, imho. i didn't think they could still give advice all the way back there in the '50s.

Posted by: g*mart at November 26, 2005 12:10 PM

Thanks so much, G...if you're so inclined, please let them know you like it so they'll keep me. PS I was a little worred about a column I wrote recently with a crack about Lynndie England in it. I sent them a sub, but the editor seems very cool -- told my editor at Creators that he thought my regular column would be okay. (It's one thing to offend a bunch of suburban prudes - have no problem with that - but it's another thing to get under the skin of people laying their lives on the line).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 26, 2005 12:59 PM

Read your column and found it quite good, and the "crack about Lynndie" was completely in context with your answer to the poor fellow. Sage and witty advice. No one below the rank of Colonel would be offended by it. Adieu!


P.S. Thanks for supporting the Troops. Some of us out here appreciate that.

Posted by: Mike in Baghdad at November 27, 2005 8:21 AM

Thanks so much.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 27, 2005 8:43 AM

Just adding an sister is back home in San Antonio today, after a year in Iraq!! As I may have mentioned in comments in the past, she's 41 and has a 10-yr-old son. Unfortunately, her ex still has their son in Japan. But he should be returning at the end of this week...what a reunion that will be!!
Thanks for all of your support and well wishes for her and her fellow troops.

Posted by: Claire at November 27, 2005 7:01 PM

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