If your deployed son or daughter has young children, Build-a-Bear sound messages are a great way for them to always be nearby if only by voice. My son and daughter-in-law got a Build-a-Bear with sound message for each of their young children before he left for deployment to Afghanistan.
Now, when his one year old daughter needs the comfort of Daddy’s voice, she just squeezes her cuddly bear’s toe and listens as Daddy tells her to have sweet dreams while she sleeps. His three year old son holds his bear close while he listens to Daddy sing their favorite song at bedtime!
If you know someone with young children that is leaving for deployment soon, Build-a-Bear with a personalized sound message is a nice treat to leave behind for the kids. This is an awesome idea, especially for deployed parents to record themselves and then the kids can listen to their mommy or daddy at night!
Click here to find out more about Build-a-Bear with personalized sound messages. Be sure to select “Personalized Build a Sound Message” from the sound selection list.
It’s been 2 weeks since my son was deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. As of this writing, he will return home in 372 days. It’s been a difficult two weeks for this Army Mom.
My son and I have lived far from each other for 5 years now. First he was in Germany and then on opposite coasts in the U.S. It’s not being away that bothers me. No, I’ve learned to have a long distance relationship with my son that includes frequent visits. It’s the thought of my son being in Afghanistan that is hard to take. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around that. He took this photo “another day on the flight line” in Afghanistan. It still just doesn’t seem real to me.
Some days are better than others as I learn how to be the Mom of a deployed soldier. I laugh, I cry, never knowing which will come out at any given moment. I’ve sent 4 packages already and will go broke if I keep up this pace. I am thankful that we can chat frequently on Skype and I can listen to stories of this new life to which he is getting adjusted.
Although I go through my normal, daily routine, I am distracted and burdened knowing that my son may be in harm’s way. I am thankful that he is safe today but don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
I am proud of my son – he is a strong, confident young man who is proud to serve his country.
I just still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he is in Afghanistan. I wake up everyday and tell myself to be strong for him, that is what he needs from me and so I will do it for him. I am touched by the many family and friends who have sent their prayers, packages, and messages to my son.
With all this, I learned again that when our soldiers are deployed, we are all in this together. Our soldiers need the strength of our combined support. It take all of us to support them and each other.
Being Army Mom Strong is not an easy job but I will do it. And I would not be able to do it without the support of all the Army Moms and friends that are being strong with me and each other.
I thank you all for being there. We are all in this together. Be Army Mom Strong.
Gary Sinese and the Lt. Dan Band performed for troops at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan on November 24, 2009. Scenes include entertainers talking to the audience and the band performing for them. Watch the video of this amazing performance with the troops cheering!
At least one designated day each month, deployed service members making calls to the U.S. from their local Morale Welfare & Recreation (MWR) center are greeted by a recording which states their call will be free courtesy of VFW Operation Uplink™. The program began working through 191 internet cafes abroad and is now offered through more than 866 locations. Troops can call home from Internet cafes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.
VFW Operation Uplink™ was launched in 1996 to connect active-duty troops and hospitalized veterans with their loved ones. The program uses contributions from supporters to purchase phone time for the men and women who are serving — or have served — this great nation, as well as hospitalized veterans.
Traditional phone cards are still being provided at military hospitals and VA facilities, as well as to troops in regions not served by the “Free Call Days.”
Let your deployed soldier know about this great free service. If you’d like to help by making a donation, visit the Operation Uplink web page.
For more information, visit Operation Uplink.
Become a fan on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/VFWFans
“Save Me A Place At The Table”, by Philip Dain Powell, is dedicated to all men and women who have served and are serving in the military. This Military tribute song is a extra track on Philip Dain Powell’s debut CD called “God is Love” and all proceeds from this song will go to the Veterans Homes Foundation.
Visit Philip’s MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/philipdainpowell
KABUL — Bomb attacks and a firefight killed four U.S. troops in 24 hours in Afghanistan, the military said Monday, adding to the growing toll as NATO and the U.S. consider whether to send more forces to the war.
Also, a homicide bomber, targeting a police convoy, killed two civilian men and three children Monday afternoon in northern Kunduz province, the Afghan Interior Ministry said. Five others were wounded in the attack.
Three of the Americans died in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, NATO said in a statement. Two of them were killed in a bomb attack and the third in a separate firefight.
The statement said a bomb killed the fourth American in the east Monday.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these brave soldiers. As always, our thoughts and prayers of protection are with those soldiers in harms way.
Technology is making it better then ever for deployed soldiers to stay in touch with their loved ones at home. If your deployed son or daughter has access to Internet services and a computer, then Skype is a great low-cost solution for staying connected.
My son was recently deployed to Afghanistan and he has connected with family members several times using Skype. On Sunday morning, I was enjoying a cup of coffee and logged onto Skype. I saw that my son was online too and we chatted via Skype for 20 minutes. That was a pleasant surprise!
We’ve used text messages, his family got to “see” him on a video call, and he has spoken to his wife on the phone – all using Skype.
To use Skype:
- What you need: Computer (with webcam if you plan to do video calls, Internet connection, Skype)
- What your soldier needs: Computer (with Webcam for video calls, Internet connection, Skype)
What is Skype? Skype is software that enables you to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Everyday, people everywhere also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.
Here are the basic ways that you can communicate using Skype.
- Instant messages: Sometimes it’s just not convenient to talk. That’s when instant messaging (IM) comes in handy. You can even group chat with three or more people using Skype. You can IM with anyone in your Skype contact list that is online.
- SMS Text messages: Sending a text message directly from Skype is perfect when your deployed soldier wants to send a text message to your cell phone. Just like sending text messages from your mobile, you pay per SMS message you send from Skype, but the costs are usually much lower.
- Video calls: Video calls can make conversations much more interesting. It’s a great way to “see” your deployed son or daughter. Skype to Skype video calls are free too! You will need a webcam to use the video call feature.
- Skype to Skype calls: Make completely free and great quality calls from your computer. You will both need a headset to use this feature but it’s worth it!
- Low-cost calls to landlines and cell phones around the world: It’s easy and quite inexpensive to call phones and mobiles abroad directly from Skype.
- Skype voicemail: Let Skype take incoming calls when your soldier is busy, unavailable or simply offline. Then they can listen to messages the next time they are signed in to Skype.
HOOAHMail is a FREE service for family and friends of deployed Army Personnel in Afghanistan to send a letter that is delivered within 24 hours. Here is how it works: Letters and photos are submitted via the Internet, and then printed and delivered by the Army Post Office.
Hooah Mail is safe and secure too. The HooahMail service has a tremendous positive effect on morale by providing unparalleled delivery times – 24 hours! Your letter gets there FAST!
HooahMail is NOT E-mail! Unlike email, computer access is not required to read or receive HooahMail. HooahMail allows a Soldier to keep a physical reminder of their loved ones with them at all times and can be read and re-read.
HooahMail is based upon and patterned after the successful deployment of Hybrid Mail technology
currently in use by the USMC since 2003 known as MotoMail.
The HooahMail service provides a discreet and secure way of sending a letter and photograph via the internet which is hand delivered to your Soldier. This service is a combination of the electronic world and delivery by the Army Post Office. HooahMail is now available to Soldiers and their Families and friends who want to send fast photos and correspondence to deployed Soldiers. Your deployed son or daughter in Afghanistan can receive mail from YOU usually within 24 hours, not days or weeks.
Privacy. The Army Post Office serving the recipient’s location downloads all HooahMail and sends to a special print/fold/sealer ensuring confidentiality. HooahMail is then delivered through Army Post Office unit mail call.
Oh. Did I mention it’s FREE! Begins 1 December 2009 in Afghanistan. Visit: http://hooahmail.us
Family and friends of deployed Marines in Afghanistan & Iraq can NOW send a letter to be downloaded, printed, and ready for delivery, usually within 24 hours at http://motomail.us.
UPDATE: OPERATION CHRISTMAS TREE is no longer in operation as of May 2011. This article is from 2009 and it was a great service while it lasted. We were sad to see it go.
Send a Christmas tree to YOUR deployed son or daughter! One couple is making the holidays a little brighter for deployed troops with a project called Operation Christmas Tree. They started Operation Christmas tree when their daughter was deployed to Iraq. Wanting to send a ‘bit of home’ during the holiday season they came up with the idea of shipping two foot tall trees to as many service members as possible in Iraq and Afghanistan, including their daughter.
This idea grew into a big success with troops that received the trees and is now a yearly project.
Packing Day is November 28, 2009. Donations for Specific Troop Members will be accepted until November 26, 2009. You can donate a tree to your deployed son or daughter!
The cost of a tree including lights, decorations, and shipping is $25. Visit their website (http://www.operationchristmastree.com/) where you will find a link for donations via PayPal. http://www.operationchristmastree.com/
You can donate $25 to provide one tree or you can donate any amount that you choose. All donations, regardless of amount, are greatly appreciated. This will help make the holiday season brighter for those who are away from home serving our country.
This is a GREAT idea! I was trying to figure out how I would get a Christmas tree to my son in Afghanistan and am thankful for Operation Christmas Tree! My son will now have a little holiday cheer in freezing Afghanistan!
If you saw a woman sobbing in the Savannah airport this weekend, it was me. My son was deployed the day before and my heart was so sad. No one asked me what was wrong, I just sat and sobbed alone, wondering how I would make the journey home.
My first flight was about an hour. Unable to speak without tears, I sat on the plane wondering who would show up to sit in the empty seat next to me. A young man did show up to claim his seat – the one next to me.
Although in civilian clothes, I knew right away that this young man was Military. I asked him where he was going and where he came from. Turns out that he is based at the same Army base as my son.
This young man had returned from Afghanistan just 2 months ago. I asked him a lot of questions about Afghanistan and he answered them all honestly. He told me this was a young man’s war. Not knowing what he meant, he explained that he was Infantry, specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face. His role as NCO is to execute the day-to-day operations with precision, wherever and whenever duty calls. The terrain in Afghanistan required these soldiers to run around in the mountains at 12,000 feet, dodging bullets from bad guys. He had already been in the Army for 13 years and been through 3 deployments. He told me about the bitter cold in the winter, rough conditions, soldiers getting shot at, and the daily routine that our troops face everyday while they are out there. He told me about young soldiers who are scared and others who, while out on missions, live in not so good conditions.
This young man told me all this with an air of calm, confidence, and pride that I will never forget. For all the bad conditions and dangerous stuff he went through, he loved his job. He told me how they protect one another, keep each other out of harm’s way, and do the job they were trained to do.
He told me how proud he was to serve our country and that he was happy to do it for people like me and you.
As the plane landed, I shook his hand and told him that it was great pleasure speaking with him and I thanked him for serving our great country. I never did get his name.
He gave me a great gift during that hour. It certainly was not the things he said but the confidence and pride with which he spoke of them. A calm came over me when we parted and I was able to continue on with my journey with my heart lifted just a little higher.