HALF OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN will be coming home this year, the President says. But the other 34,000 will still be there next year. Knowing that folks at home support them matters. After my two trips to Afghanistan, some Brooklyn Artisan readers have contacted me in the apparent belief that I’m some sort of expert on what US troops need while they’re still over there. Well, personally, I forgot my dental floss, and my shampoo and deodorant were wrestled to the ground, beaten, and confiscated at the airport. As for the people in uniform, I quizzed a couple of recently-returned Brooklyn warriors about the soldiers’ needs, and here are their answers.
Good things to send:
Movies (DVDs! VHS is obsolete, and BetaMax tapes are only found in museums)
New magazines—especially sports magazines
Individual tissue packets
Lotion (that’s some seriously dry climate over there)
Oh, and female soldiers like body sprays. Maybe some of the males like it too. Since no one’s shooting at me, I’m not going to judge.
Now for some of the weirder stuff they’ve received:
A Chubb pack of socks
And an Unrated American Pie sent in a church care package. (Sheesh! Keep it clean, churchgoers!)
So maybe keep these items off your list, along with pornography and booze. Afghans just aren’t into that stuff, and even if we don’t agree with them we’re supposed to respect their culture.
Here’s the address to send it to:
Public Affairs Officer
APO AE 09347
To quote M*A*S*H, That is all.
Executive Editor Phil Scott is the author of seven books and numerous magazine pieces.