color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: The Way to a Soldier's Heart

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Way to a Soldier's Heart

The late Orson Wells, the actor and director, allegedly said, "Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch." I believe he may have been quoting a soldier.

I noticed recently on soldiers' blogs that there is a lot of mention of food... what they ate, what they were serving in the chow halls, what the Iraqis eat, what kind of food is sent from home, what's the first food they'll eat when they get home... So it was not all that surprising when some of the first words out of our son's mouth in an early morning phone call revolved around food -- or at least the lack of edible food.
They have started to receive the boxes we shipped (we calculate it took 8 or 9 days for our first boxes to get there) and they are most grateful for the cigs, soaps and the food, but please send more food. He says that the food that the Army provides is not cooked onsite at their camp, but is trucked in twice daily. His exact words? "The food just sucks, Ma -- most of the time we can't even tell what we're eating and a lot of the time it's just inedible."
So his Dad says, "Well, it's Army food" to which the son replies, "Dad, I've been eating Army food for two years and Army food in the Sandbox for six months -- and whatever this is, it ain't Army food!" He says they are hungry most of the time and that food is a precious commodity at the camp. He reminds me that he and the guys will usually eat anything that resembles food, but even they can't eat the slop that's served. So we tell him we'll head to the discount shopping warehouse and buy all types of prepared canned food and send it... spaghettios, spaghetti, ravioli, soups, stews, chili -- whatever we can find. He says that the chow hall itself has two large mortar holes in the roof and one in the side...
His voice sounds hoarse and I ask if he has a cold, and he says, "No... sand and dust. We all sound like frogs here."
He asks his Dad if he can find some sort of a clip-on fan that he can attach to his bunk or that can be rigged to hang on the wall above his upper bunk... they have air conditioning, but it's not particularly effective in the extreme heat and with 10 guys in a room... and please send a power strip and extension cord... and can we send some PSP (PlayStation Portable) movies and games... and since he decided to leave his laptop stateside after R&R, can we get him an inexpensive portable DVD player (put it on his credit card) since only one of the 10 guys in his room has a PC and it's too old and too slow for them to watch movies? and they got a water delivery this week and they had their first real showers in weeks... but no hot water... just cold... but it was better than bottled water showers.
We ask how the new camp is and he says (besides that it sucks) that it's much busier than the old camp and that "something happens every day -- usually a few times a day." We ask if he is outside the wire a lot and he says at least 6 out of 7 days a week... and they are mortared inside the camp every day... and he no sooner says that than a large explosion is heard in the background... something exploding outside the camp, he says. He tells me first sergeant C. ran over an IED yesterday but says the IED was buried deep and basically just made a big hole that the HUMMVV fell into and C. and all aboard were ok... tells me that 30 vehicles ran over the IED before C.'s truck did...
He asks me to have his best friend send his camera which he also left after R&R because there is a lot to photograph in his new AO. He tells me that they are stopping lots of terrorists... I ask if they're capturing them... he says no, but they're getting rid of lots of them... that he's learned to drag the bodies by the feet... I say, I sure wish he didn't have to see all that at 20... and he tells me he's ok because he knows they're the bad guys and he know where this is in his head and his life -- something that must be done in order for him and other good people there and everywhere to live their lives... he mentions that they have been seeing the news on London and Egypt and it just makes them more determined...
He says he has formulated the outline of a "game plan" for when he gets out of the service and we talk his finances for a few minutes and he asks us to send some college catalogs... He talks about the various federal, state and local agencies he might join after college... We talk about his future which is nice. We talk about family news -- a cousin that is pregnant, an aunt/uncle/cousins moving this week, our trip to a new casino, movies we've seen... We talk about V., R., M. and K. and how they received their first boxes, how grateful they are, they promise to write, and how they're doing... and I say that other Army moms and Army wives are sending things, too and he says that is so 'kewl"... and he tells me that M.'s son took his first steps and said "Da-Da" on the phone this week but how his will-be ex-wife is still giving him all kinds of grief, but he's doing ok... and our son wants to call his girl and he's gotta go...
and I want to stay on the phone for hours just talking and asking him things, but all too soon it's "We love you, son! Stay safe!!" and his Dad's "Luv ya, man" brings a chuckle and the expected "Love you too, mannnnn" and the two laugh... "Love you too, ma. Thanks for everything... we really appreciate it and we really need it... I'll be careful, ma, don't worry." "Well call us again soon. We love to hear your voice." "I will. Love you. Bye."
DH and I talk about the things our son has said... the colleges... the after-Army employment... the food situation... and DH has gone to the garage and found four extension cords and a new clip-on work lamp that maybe the soldier can use... and he's started a list of things he wants to pick up at the store for "our Guys"... and we joke that the things we send soldiers should be tax deductible or free to mail 'cause this is going to be an expensive year if we have to feed five guys in Iraq... we've already spent a small fortune buying these necessities and the mailing costs in just two weeks... DH jokingly suggests that we might have to "un-retire" to support a whole new family... but right now, we're off on our errands and I mumble about hoping I have enough flat rate boxes...
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

11 Comments:

At 7/24/2005 11:11 AM , Blogger Melinda said...

Isn't it wild how they can still eat you out of house & home even when they aren't there? {{Hugs}} Big difference, though, between afternoon snacks and real-deal, need something to eat hunger. I think of your son & his buddies all the time and hope that the boxes will make the much needed difference.

Things absolutely should be tax-deductible and/or free to mail. That would make so much sense.

So glad you had a chance to talk. I am really impressed with your son and I've never even met him.

Keep up the good work, Mom!

 
At 7/24/2005 5:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,
I don't know if your son and his buddies have heard of AnySoldier.com yet. But I suggest they join that effort and you will get some help with feeding those hungry soldiers from caring people from all over this great country. I am very active in sending care packages and don't even have anyone from my immediate circle of friends or family. And there are thousands of wonderful people helping our soldiers.
If you haven't checked it out yet please do and send the good word to your son's outfit.
I just recently found your blog and enjoy reading it. Thank you for what your son is doing to make my life safer and for what you are doing to make his life easier. Together we will rid this world of those evil misguided people.
May God bless all and return them to their families soon,
Connie

 
At 7/24/2005 5:45 PM , Blogger Jen said...

Sounds like in spite of the inedible food that he's making the most of it and seems to be in good spirits. That's a good thing!

I agree on the tax deduction!

- $7.70 for flat rate box shipping
- $10 for portable fan
- $25 on miscellaneous hygiene items
- Knowing I put a smile on my soldier's face.....

PRICELESS! :)

 
At 7/24/2005 6:32 PM , Blogger Stacy said...

Help is on the way guys. We are gathering things up now. We will help your parents as much as we can. We want you guys to have whatever it is that you all need.

Thanks to all of the soldiers for everything you are doing for our country and for us.

Stay Safe.

 
At 7/24/2005 7:01 PM , Anonymous Shellbelle said...

Whenever I ask our son what specifics he would like in a care package...he always says "FOOD"! His FOB has food brought in from another base as well. He came down with a bad case of food poisoning last month due to eating the crap that is brought in. Why in the hell can't our guys get some decent food there????

Anyway, the care packages I send contain his requests...canned tuna,chicken, and beef. Ritz crackers, spaghettio's, chips, mayo, Dinty Moore beef stew. I also throw in some fruit cups and fruit rollups...because they also need some fruit in their diets. Dear God if I had to rely on that kind of diet I would just be sick...but I guess what we send is a whole lot better than what they are getting there at the FOB. That is a disgrace, in humble opinion...given the conditions they are living in...at least you would think they would be provided with decent meals there.

I wish I could just volunteer to go over there and have a means and a way to provide them good home-cooked meals...it's the least they deserve, and I would be so happy being able to provide that......

 
At 7/24/2005 8:10 PM , Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

Shellebelle... as I've said before
"I keep telling people that they should let us moms go over there and we'd cook, clean and keep those guys in line LOL... and you know they'd never let nothin' happen to their mommas!"

As we were eating dinner tonight -- just a simple grilled pork chop and a salad -- I wondered out loud "How difficult can it be to feed these guys 3 squares a day (hell, at this point 2 squares!) especially if most of the FOBs and camps have kitchen/dining facilities? And doesn't the Army have cooks any more -- is it all contracted out? I'm gonna have to start asking some serious questions of some serious people...

 
At 7/24/2005 9:40 PM , Blogger Shelley said...

Soldier's Mom....

I was thinking the same thing tonight as we sat down and enjoyed a nice dinner of grilled salmon, veggie and salad.

Let me know how I can help in asking the serious questions to some serious people. I don't know where to begin with that...but I would sure get on board with you.

Our son's FOB, as far as I know, does not have a regular kitchen/dining facility...it's all brought in from Anaconda.

I'll tell you right now...if the military would allow Mom's to volunteer to go over there and do laundry, cook meals, and keep our boys in line...I would be on the first plane out of here.

 
At 7/24/2005 9:45 PM , Blogger Shelley said...

Soldier's Mom---- Shelley above is also previous "Shellbelle"....I just set up my own blog, so now my name will show up as Shelley.

 
At 7/24/2005 10:31 PM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'm a 22 yr. old college grad who is thankful to live in America and so very grateful and blessed to know that there are men and women, like your children, who are willing to fight for our freedom. I'd like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and stories because I don't know first hand what it's like to have family in Iraq. Through your blog, I empathize with you and alway realize just how difficult this must be on the families who have loved ones in Iraq. I will continue to pray for you and your family. God Bless

 
At 7/25/2005 5:14 AM , Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

I got my second box ready to go out that way. I am sure glad I read this before I headed out to the PO. More food gets thrown in there now.
I am praying for our boys and girls always. I hope they all stay safe. Dan told me after his first mission. Mom I am on the frontlines in this war. It sounds as though Noah and his buddies are also. I love when Dan tells me about his plans. It also is good to read about Noahs. It lets us know that this to will end, and someday it will be a distant memory. God Bless our troops.

 
At 7/25/2005 10:40 PM , Blogger Army Wife said...

This, made me cry, and I know you must have had a tear or two in the last 24 hours. We will keep sending food, and books, and magazines....

 

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