Since 2006, the Red Friday movement has been growing. People wear red on Fridays to show their support for our service men and women who are deployed.
RED Friday means Remember Everyone Deployed.
Show your support for our troops deployed overseas.
Available now, RED Friday t-shirts! 20% of every sale goes to a Military Support organization.
We thank Wild Lyon Graphics for these super cool Red Friday distressed t-shirt styles.
The United States Postal Service announced their holiday deadlines for sending packages to overseas troops. If you want packages to reach your soldier in time for the holiday, be sure to adhere to the deadlines. Mail is very slow to overseas locations during the holiday season and it can take longer than normal to get there.
Holiday packages and mail headed for Afghanistan must be sent a week earlier than other deadlines. Express mail military service is not available to those destinations.
Priority Mail Deadlines and Destination Zip Codes :
- December 03 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (Afghanistan) ZIP 093
- December 10 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (all others) ZIPs 090-092, 094-098, 340, 962-966
Our troops need your support, especially around the holidays! Send some cheer to a soldier!
Don’t forget to order your Military Care Kit! Each kit contains six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (two large and four medium-sized boxes), six customs forms and envelopes, six Priority address labels and one role of military tape. Order your kit by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-610-8734.
Restrepo is a film documentary by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Filmed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, this documentary focuses on a 15-man outpost named “Restrepo”, after a platoon medic that was killed in action. Restrepo was considered one of the most dangerous outposts in the U.S. Military.
This movie is the real deal. The film makers take you on the journey with 15 men of the 173rd Airborne brigade. You will feel like you are on the deployment with these Soldiers, who are dedicated to getting the job done.
When I first heard about Restrepo, I wanted to see it but was hesitant. With my son in Afghanistan, seeing this movie could be upsetting to me. I decided to go anyway with a couple of other Military Mom friends. I chatted with my son about it and he advised me to read the book “WAR” first, but I didn’t have time. In the book “WAR“, author Sebastian Junger gives an unforgettable portrait of these men under fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.
I went to the movie expecting to be very upset. We came prepared with Kleenix, knowing that tears could very well be part of this evening.
Restrepo can only be described as an excellent and tastefully done documentary about the worst parts of war. I could not take my eyes or attention from the 90-minute film. The courage, strength, and camaraderie of these Soldiers was nothing short of amazing. The filmmakers captured the experience of these Soldiers in such a way, that you really understand what it might be like at a remote combat outpost.
Restrepo gave me a glimpse into what our Soldiers experience in Afghanistan. Did I cry? I did tear up as the movie was winding down.
Go see Restrepo. It’s amazing. Check to see if it’s playing at a theater near you.
The hot weather in Afghanistan and Iraq is winding down and the freezing cold is ready to settle in. In Afghanistan, winter sets in near the end of November and snow is common across much of the country. Winter is harsh across the country with temperatures going below zero. Spring starts again in March.
The climate in Afghanistan varies according to altitude, due to the height and location of any particular area. Temperatures in the north can be below freezing for most of the winter, and snow in the higher elevations is common.
These same tips apply for Iraq where winter temperatures are below freezing.
Pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is freezing. Here are a few tips for care package items to help Soldiers get through the freezing winter.
- Warm blankets
- Black thermal under garments
- Black stocking caps
- Gloves (mechanics gloves so they can operate their weapons),
- Soup packets
- Hot cocoa packets
- Tea bags
- Hand warmers
- Medicated lip balm (Carmex is good!)
- Cough drops
- Long sleeve t-shirts (Under Armour)
- Instant coffee
- Flannel sheets
- Long underwear
- Wool socks
- Fleece or other warm blankets
Note - Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.
If you have more tips, please comment!
On May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. The first time this day was observed was May 30 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.
By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war)
It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”
On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of “the last Monday in May”. On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.
Article source: Memorial Day History website: http://www.usmemorialday.org
Let us remember and honor those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Amen.
The Troops Project began in 2005 when Marlene Summers spoke to a young man just before he was about to be deployed to Iraq. He reminded her of her own son. She met his family and started sending him notes and cookies. She received an email from this soldier saying the morale was getting low and troops were feeling forgotten. He also let Marlene know that the cookies she sent really helped to boost morale amongst the troops. She thought about what she could do to support the troops while they were so far away from home.
Marlene owned a chocolate chip cookie company – so why why not send chocolate chip cookies to the troops as a way to boost morale and thanking the brave heros who serve and protect a grateful nation.
She wanted to send a million hugs to the troops! That is how this project started. She started baking cookies, not just any cookies, but HUGE cookies!
As of July 2009, they shipped over 90,000 cookies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a non-profit organization, Grammy’s Cookie Convoy, Inc. focuses on making our troops feel right at home.
Without the support of volunteers and contributors they would not be able to send their appreciation to Our Troops. It takes over $10,000 to send a shipment of cookies overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan. Donations help pay for the shipping costs to get the large quantity of chocolate chip cookies to our troops.
The Troops Project is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit project.
Great job Marlene Summers! HOOAH!
To learn more about The Troops project or how you can help, visit on the Web: http://troopsproject.com/
This video is a little dated but will give you a great idea about how Grammy’s Cookie Convoy got started!
The Army Experience Center (AEC), located in Philadelphia, PA, provides a unique interactive experience and insight into the life of a Soldier. No surprise that is was designed and built by the world’s premier land force—the United States Army! HOOAH!
The Army Experience Center is the world’s one and only interactive Army facility where you can “test drive” the Army! You’ll find interesting mission simulators– Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, and
Come test drive the Army in the world’s first and only interactive Army facility. The Army Experience Center is includes three mission simulators—the Apache, the Black Hawk and the HMMWV (Humvee)—touch-screen Career Navigators, a Gaming Arena with Xbox 360 and PC stations, a Tactical Operations Center, and the Global Base Locator, a touch-screen that lets visitors explore Army bases around the world.
The simulators look very cool! You can volunteer for a mission and be part of the action. You get a briefing by a Soldier before climbing into one of the three mission simulators. Then you get to take part in an authentic battle scenario with equipment modeled after real Army vehicles, aircraft, and weapons. Once the mission is done, you can even see how well your team performed!
That is just one of many ways to learn about the U.S. Army and the jobs that Soldiers perform. You can visit the Career Navigators, Gaming Arena, Global Base Locator, Tactical Operations Center, and of course, the Lounge where you can take a break from all the activity and get access to WiFi Internet!
Why did the U.S. Army create the Army Experience Center? The U.S. Army needed an innovative way to communicate its mission, values, resources and career opportunities to a new generation of Americans on a local level. The Army Experience Center (AEC) now serves as a twenty-first century destination for people to get accurate information about the Army directly from the source. Conceived and built over a ten-month period in the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, the 14,500-square-foot technology and education center is fast becoming a model for Army recruiting nationwide. Touch screen kiosks, state-of-the-art presentation facilities, community events and high-action simulators are just a few of the AEC features helping to shatter outdated stereotypes and start new career conversations.
The AEC is open to the public and admission is free. To participate in AEC activities like the mission simulators and games, visitors must be at least 13 years old and register using basic contact information.
Even if you can’t get to Philadelphia, the website is a super cool experience too! Be sure to explore and uncover the many fun things to learn about the U.S. Army!
Almost no rain falls from June to October. The lower parts of the country have a semi-arid or desert climate. Summers are sunny and hot, except in the higher mountains. Sunshine amounts range from six to seven hours a day in winter to as much as twelve to thirteen in summer.
These same tips apply for Iraq where summer temperatures exceed 120 degrees F.
With that in mind, pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is super hot. Here are a few tips for packing care packages for the unbearably hot weather!
- Anything that will keep our soldiers cooler
- Battery operated fan
- Under Amour socks (or something similar) – Accelerated moisture release (mesh vents) help to filter moisture to outside of sock to keep feet cool and dry.
- Other Under Amour garments -a spandex-like brand of synthetic underwear, socks and T-shirts designed to keep wearers cool
- Shorts and tank tops to wear while sleeping
- Baby powder – belts and hot weather can causes rashes at the waistline
- Dr. Scholls foot powder
- Sun block
- Blister pack gum – gum can stick to the foil wrappers in hot weather
- Hand cream for dry skin
- Cool tie neck bands – helpful if your soldier has a cold place like a fridge or ice chest to store it prior to wearing
- Water balloons to use for fun and as a stress reliever.
- Tootsie rolls don’t melt
- Items MUST hold up in 120 degree + temperatures!
- NO chocolate – including chocolate covered items
- NO Flea Collars! Some soldiers were using them (on their boots) to ward off sand fleas and ticks and getting sick from the pesticides mixed in with the hot sticky weather.
- Stick deodorant or lip balm MAY melt before reaching their destination (send a bunch in the cool weather)
- Bar soap and other toiletries with scent in same box – when possible, send these items in a separate box. If not, be sure to place these in double zip-locked bags or the food in the box will taste like deodorant or soap.
Note – Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.
If you have more tips, please comment!
When a parent is deployed to a war zone, it can be difficult on the children left behind at home. The United Through Reading Military Program provides parents a way to make connections with their children by having deployed parents read childrens books aloud via DVD for their child to watch at home.
How does it work?
- The service member reads a book while being recorded and sends the DVD to the child.
- The child at home watches the DVD and follows along with a book (if available).
- The parent at home captures the child’s reaction in a photo or email and sends back to the service member.
- The service member’s morale is boosted!
Where is the program available?
National Program Managers from United Through Reading are working directly with over 200 Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard commands, including more than 60 select USO locations that are hosting United Through Reading Military Program. In 2006 United Through Reading invited USO to make the program accessible to Service members who visit participating centers.
You can check to see if your soldier’s unit is listed as participating in the program and contact the email address for that area. The program is available at many locations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
If your family has an emergency at home and you must contact your soldier, be sure to contact the Red Cross. If the emergency requires that your soldier come home, Red Cross-verified information helps commanding officers makes decisions about emergency leave and it is up to the military whether the service member returns home.
Without Red Cross verification, your soldier may not be able to come home during a family emergency.
The Red Cross emergency communication services keep military service members in touch with their families following the death or serious illness of an immediate family member, birth of a service member’s child or grandchild, or when a family has other emergencies.
Red Cross can help twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. They will relay urgent messages and verified descriptions of the emergency to service members stationed anywhere in the world including ships at sea and remote locations.
How to Contact the Red Cross for Assistance
Call (877) 272-7337 (toll-free) if you are an Active duty service member stationed in the United States, or a family member residing with them.
Contact your local Red Cross chapter, which is listed in local telephone directory and at Your Local Red Cross, if you are:
- Family members of active duty service members who do not reside in the service members’ household,
- Family members of Department of Defense Civilians assigned overseas
- members of the National Guard and Reserves,
- recruiters, MEPS military personnel
- veterans and
Call overseas base or installation operators or the Red Cross office at your location if you are:
- Active-duty service members and family members residing with them or
- Department of Defense civilians stationed overseas and family members residing with them.
When calling the Red Cross, please provide as much of the following information about the service member as is known:
- Full name
- Branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
- Social Security Account number or date of birth
- Military address
- Information about the deployed unit and home base unit (for deployed service members only)