2005-2006 letters from the
troops: (all spelling errors are MINE, not theirs)
From: "Burleson, Willard LTC 1-87 INF CDR"
Date: December 22, 2005 7:38:54 AM EST
Subject: Thanks for the Gifts for 1-87 Infantry
Thanks for the thoughtful gifts that you and the Firefighters of Ladder
20 sent over here to Iraq for the Soldiers of 1-87 IN. All of you
have my greatest respect for your daily service to your community and
it means a lot that you took the time to remember us, especially during
this Holiday season. Although our days are full and the time goes
by quickly, during this time of year our thoughts turn to our families
and friends back in the States. None of us will forget the sacrifice
that many of your comrades made on 9/11 and for that reason we will continue
to press the fight against the terrorists until the day we leave this
country. Please except my sincere gratitude on behalf of all the
Soldiers of 1-87 Infantry.
LTC Bill Burleson
CDR, 1-87 Infantry
Date: December 22, 2005 9:43:43 AM EST
Subject: Thank you!
Happy Holidays. My name is Nick. I am currently deployed in
Iraq and have recieved a gift from you. I wanted to thank you for
the t-shirt and card and let you know that you truly made my Christmas
a merry one.
SrA Nick Tomasini
Date: December 22, 2005 12:30:52 AM EST
Thanks for the T-Shift, I got it today and I will wear it as soon as
I get home.
CECIL R PRICE, USAF, MSGT
Deputy Fire Chief
Fire & Emergency Services, Balad, Iraq
Rescue Air Mobility SquadDate: December 23, 2005 8:29:40 AM EST
Subject: Merry Christmas
Rachel and folks,
We received the shirts you folks were kind to send today. I will
be hand carrying these to my Security Force members that are scattered
throughout Iraq and will tell you right they will be thrilled.
Hugh Mettham's story was
incredible! I know each of us will carry that terrible day and
the individual memories of our feelings forever.
For those of us over here – know you will always have brothers
and sisters that understand what you dealt with – if only to some
degree. God Bless you and yours and for my “kids”
thanks. They will truly be honored.
All the best and a very Merry Christmas from the over 200 Air Cops I
have over here
Robert M. Anderson, CMSGT, USAFR
732d Security Forces Chief Enlisted Manager
732d Expeditionary Mission support Group
Date: December 25, 2005 4:31:11 PM EST
Subject: RE: Message from Ladder 18 Engine 15
Thank you for the quick Christmas Message. It really lifts our
spirits knowing that people are pulling for us back home. Granted
NY isn’t my home, but America is and NY is definitely a beautiful
symbol for her! Anyhow, we were attacked this morning as well
as twice the other day. Needless to say, I don’t think these
insurgents like the Christmas holiday too much. LOL! Anyways,
please pass the love onto the gentlemen of Ladder 18 and Engine 15.
Thank you guys for doing what you are doing back home so that we can
sleep at night knowing our loved ones are being watched over by you
all! Take care and “watch your six”!
Joshua S. Tully, SSgt, USAF
Captain, Crash 11, B-Shift
Date: December 26, 2005 5:52:41 AM EST
Subject: Thank you
I just wanted to send you a quick email saying how grateful I am for
the card and the T-shirt. We did receive them on Christmas Day. To have
a NY Fire Fighter send something and thank us for doing what we do is
an honor. I was in NY a few years before the 9/11 and I have been in
the towers. On 9/11 the anger and betrayal that we all shared is what
joins us all now and will continue to join us all for years to come.
I hope this email finds you in good health and in good spirits. Thank
you and all of your comrades for all that you do everyday.
SSgt Sean Blanton
Balad Air Base, Iraq
Date: December 27, 2005 2:09:15 AM EST
Subject: Thank you
My name is Andrea. I’m in the Air Force and currently on
deployed providing convoy support in Balad. We would all like
to thank you and the rest of the New York Fire Department for your support
and the T-Shirts. I hope you all enjoy the photos we took with
the shirts. Thanks again.Date: December 28, 2005 9:23:28 AM EST
Subject: Thank you
Rachel and Ladder 18;
wanted to thank you personally for everything that you and Ladder 18
Firehouse have done for us. Knowing people care is the biggest boost
for our troops, and especially the support coming >from the people
who were actually there during the acts that started the War on Terror
means the world to us. You and Ladder 18 have shown the ultimate professionalism
in the face of all diversity. Thank you for every thing, I will wear
the shirt proudly when I’m able to wear something besides these
DCUs. Thank you.
Joel A. Pitman, 1st Lt, USAF
Det 2632 Combat Logistics Patrol
Alpha Flight Commander
LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq
ATTN: FDNY Ladder# 20
I would like to start off by saying “THANK YOU”, to you
and the FDNY Ladder # 20 that wrote such nice letters to our unit. We
are currently deployed to Qaayarah Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom out of Fort Campbell, KY, home of the “Screaming Eagles.”
I know that they had to take time out of their busy on-call schedules
to do something that was really great for our morale. Rachel you are
truly a great patriot, it is your support as well as that of your fellow
Americans, which keeps us focused on the job at hand. I know how fast
pace life in general can be sometimes, but you still can find the time
to support men and women, Soldiers, who you hardly know, is very commendable.
I am truly blessed with a home base made up of supporting family members
as well as my friendship with you, fellow Americans, and many other
admired friends over the country. I will keep a little bit of you all,
in my heart and thoughts throughout this time of deployment. Everyone
from New York has contributed to my fond memories (through helping
others, do we know ourselves) back in the states, and I am thankful
to you all. Well I will end this short Thank You note.
Tell all who have pitched in that we, the soldiers of HHC 101st , thank
them and that they have contributed to the Happiness of some humble
& grateful soldiers. God Bless you and your family and friends,
especially to Ladder 20 until next time Rachel, stay sweet, be safe.
Tell everyone that helped you to support soldiers deployed,I said “Hello”,
Sergeant First Class Hemphill
Date: December 30, 2005 10:57:26 AM EST
Subject: thank you
Thank you for your gifts. I'm sorry it took so long for me to say so.
We have been very busy here with the elections and being located in
this portion of baghdad. we are an infantry unit and we get used a lot.
for us it's been patrol and sleep since we have been here. I am a platoon
sergeant and tend to get less time to myself than others. No big deal
though it makes the time go faster. We have a very great history. This
battalion was the spearhead for Anaconda in Afghanastan and was called
back there a year later. Due to our success we were selected to come
here. Alot of the soldiers here have been in combat for three out of
the last five years but they know the cause and the cost. They are happy
to serve and very glad to know that there are people out there that
care. once again from all of the us thank you. can't wait to get back
to New York!
Sergeant First Class Hemphill
Date: December 31, 2005 3:52:08 PM EST
Subject: Re: FW: Message from Ladder 18 Engine 15
The 10th Mountian Division is based in Fort Drumm. I'm from the middle
of nowhere Minnesota (same snow but a lot more cold). I've never been
to new york and only spent a short time in the state before i came here
to Iraq. I've been in the army for 10 years now i was in texas, colorado,
and georgia befor coming to fort drum. i think i have some soldiers
that work for me that are from new york city. heck, to me the east coast
is one city. i can check. we put the patches to good use. our snipers
all carry one and we glued some to our hummers (next to the guns so
they have a chance to see them. arn't we sensitive?) and the rest we
saved because the bad guys keep blowing parts of our vehicles off. it's
good to have spares. we thought it would be a good tribute. mabe some
irony for them too. long day tomorrow have to go to bed.
wow, a couple of minutes to new years! i didn't even remember what day
it was untill a couple of hours ago.
Date: December 30, 2005 8:15:03 PM EST
Subject: Thank You!
Rachel & The Firefighters of New York FDNY,
2nd Platoon/HHC-1-10 Aviation(Attack) Regiment, would like to personally
thank you for your support. I am currently the Platoon Sergeant for
this particular platoon known as the "Funky Bunch". Fort Drum,
NY is a long way from home for most of my young men and women in this
platoon, so your caring touch meant a lot. Thank you and God Bless.
Happy New Year'sDedric L. Jones
S3 NCOIC, TF 1-10 Avn (Attack)
FOB ENDURANCE/FOB DIAMONDBACK
Q-WEST/MOSUL, IRAQ Date: January 4, 2006 7:23:38 AM EST
Subject: RE: Message From Ladder 18 Engine 15From: Scott Bohlin
Date: January 14, 2006 4:08:51 AM EST
Subject: thank you
I just wanted to express my appreciation for your card and the FDNY
t-shirt. It always makes us feel better to actually hear from people
back in the states letting us know they appreciate what we are trying
to do. Being away from our families and friends is very difficult but
on that occasion we receive a letter or package from someone who cares
makes it worthwhile. The words in your card were very touching and I
cant even begin to tell you what it meant to me and how many times I
have read through it. Once again thank you for caring and thank you
in return for your sacrifices and dutys back home in the States. I am
currently serving in Mosul Iraq with the 732 Security Forces. GOD BLESS
all those that serve others in any capacity to better life and
protect good people.
From: "Mark Nelsen"
Date: January 15, 2006 12:39:01 PM EST
Subject: Thank you from Iraq!
I want to thank you for taking the time to write that beautiful Christmas
card. It makes everything worthwhile. I had been out of the military
for 18 years when 9-11 came. I joined the Iowa Air National Guard. I
am now with my usaf security forces unit just outside of Mosul. When
I get a letter from someone other than my family I usually pass it on
to someone else. With your letter I let them read it, but I will keep
your letter always. I am deeply moved by it. I also want to thank you
for the t-shirt that accompanied your card. My son is in high school
and wants to become a fireman. I will give the shirt to him but I'm
sure he will put it on the wall to admire and remember. When "Ladder
49" came out I took him to see it. It made me cry and I thought
it might scare him a little. After the movie he said "see dad,
thats why I want to become a fireman." I was very proud. I don't
know if it was Ladder 20, but please pass on to the ones who provided
the shirts, my thanks. I mourned the loss on 9-11. Having been a police
officer over 20 years and on a volunteer fight department for 3 and
now 14 years in the military so far, I truely know the sacrifice those
men made and how brave they were. There are none better. Please keep
us in your prayers.
SSGT NELSEN, MARK D
From: "CSM Michael T. Hibbs"
Date: January 20, 2006 4:50:18 AM EST
Subject: A Brief Update...
It’s hard to believe that over a month ago we were patrolling
the outlining areas around the polling sites, assisting the Iraqi Army
and Police in their efforts to secure the streets for people to come
out and vote. The Soldiers of 1-87 Infantry did nothing but an
exceptional job…the men and woman carried themselves in a professional
and courteous manner during the entire process. The election turn-out
was a success…they turned out in a rate that shadows our own elections.
The majority of the Iraqi people were ecstatic that they had the
opportunity to do their part. I guess having limited rights for
over such an extended period of time gives you a feeling that you “need”
to be heard…unfortunately, some of that could rub off on our own
country’s people. I believe that the best analogy is like
a child that has everything given to them…they never really appreciate
what they have. I see a reflection of that in a few of our own…not
really appreciating what they have. There are always lessons to
be learned from other countries and this one that should really open
people’s eyes…I guess that you have to want to see it and
absorb it to really understand it.
Today is a day that will have an everlasting effect on the people of
Iraq (and the World) for years to come. It’s the day that
many of the Iraqi people have been longing after for over a period of
35 years…the results of the free and democratic elections. It’s
also a day that a few neighboring countries are not looking forward
to…this may be the day that turns the smothered masses of the
surrounding dictatorships. This is the time where others see that
having a voice makes a difference, a difference that ultimately effects
generations to come. There is a long journey ahead for many supporters
of this “new” country…many have already laid their
lives down for this cause, and you can only appreciate their heroic
efforts even if you disagree with the ultimate goal. I believe
that this country will be the foundation for freedom in this region…one
that will spread in the years to come. Take the opportunity sometime
today to pick-up a newspaper or turn the television to the news channel…check
out the results, and pass it on to a fellow American that our Soldiers
are making a difference over here, not just for this country but the
World to come.
Thank you again for all of the support that you provide to the men and
women of this great Battalion…your supporting voices and care
make the difference.
“To the Top!”
CSM Michael "Todd" Hibbs
Task Force 1-87 InfantryFrom: "Hibbs, Michael T. CSM 1-87 INF BN
Date: April 3, 2006 1:29:17 PM EDT
Subject: Update from the front
Where has the time gone? It’s hard to believe that we (1-87
Infantry) have been working Baghdad proper for over eight months now,
and the majority of the Battalion has had the chance for some rest and
relaxation back in the great United States of America. There were
a few Soldiers that spent their ‘down-time’ in Europe…one
benefit is that the beer is better than ours. There’s a
lot to say for having 500 years of brewing beer under your belt. I
really enjoyed my time home, and I’m sure it was nice for all
of the families to have a little one on one time with their loved ones.
After ‘eight’ months, the Soldiers of the Battalion
have been awarded over ‘40’ Purple Hearts, and numerous
Valorous awards. The Soldiers continue to work one of the most
difficult areas of Baghdad joined with the Iraqi Security Forces…all
of this, and their moral is extremely high. We are working on
our ninth out of 12 month tour, and the Soldiers of this great Battalion
continue to contribute tremendously to the Global War on Terror everyday
(there are no days off). They have brought the fight to the enemy
which takes them out of their decision making process, and have built
relationships with the great Iraqi People and Iraqi Army Soldiers through-out
our sector. The Iraqi people really do want freedom and everything
that goes with it. Everything that we ‘normally’ take
for granted. I ask for your continued support for the Soldiers
of this great Battalion…continue to keep us in your prayers.
The combined fight with the Iraqi Security Forces is making a difference…period!
You can see it in the people’s faces when you are out in the city.
Thanks again for your continued support, and the support that you bring
to your Soldiers.
CSM Michael T. Hibbs
Task Force 1-87 Infantry
Date: April 5, 2006 7:24:38 AM EDT
To: "Hibbs, Michael T. CSM 1-87 INF BN CSM"
Subject: Re: Update from the front
Glad to hear you're 3/4 way through your current tour in Iraq. We're
up here dealing with Al Queda and Taliban in RC East. You may have caught
the news a few days ago. We had a M1114 with 5 engineers IED'd. First
patrol for those guys. Going to be a long year for our sappers. All
4 were RTD thank god, even though the gunner was thrown clean of the
turret when the Hummer literally was thrown into the air anf flipped
over by the blast. From what I gathered we got some BDA on the SOBs
at least. We has another M1114 roll over into the PEch River last night
and again, miraculously, the crew all survived. After dropping 30 feet
and landing upside down in the river. Pray that our luck holds out for
the entire year. We are one month in.
CPT Nate Tagg
From: "Jody Sammons"
Date: May 1, 2006 2:05:16 PM EDT
Subject: Thank you
I am sorry it has taken so long to contact you but I wanted to thank
you for the Christmas card and the nice words that were said in it.
I wanted to let you know that every base/compound/hole in the ground
where the US Military is present there is some form of remembrance of
9-11-01 and the people who paid the ultimate price for caring for someone
else more than themselves. It is easy to get discouraged here
thousands of miles from home when you get hit by a roadside bomb, clear
the area of supposed bad guys, then your friend gets hit in the very
same spot the next day, but getting letters and cards from people like
you seem to stiffen our backbones when we most need it. I don't
really know what else to say but Thank you for taking the time to show
us you care, it really does mean alot, and you give us a reason to fight
hard day in and day out.
SSgt Jody Sammons
Det 3 732 ESFS/709th MP Batt/49th MP Brig (USAF)
Security Escort Team
From: "Hibbs, Michael T. CSM 1-87 INF BN CSM"
Date: July 3, 2006 9:43:57 AM EDTTo all,
It is hard to believe that we are getting ready to head home this month.
Vehicles that have become part of you are being turned in, and equipment
that will make another unit’s life a little easier while they
are over here is being transferred. It really has been a long
trip, and it’s hard to believe that it’s finally ‘over’.
We have brought ‘everyone’ back in the wire…over 600
IEDs (over half found), over 200 terrorists captured – a few of
them killed, almost 10,000 patrols conducted throughout our tour, and
68 Soldiers wounded in action.
It really has been a productive tour for us. We have seen the
Iraq Security Forces move forward with progress and have received numerous
accolades from the Iraqi people. We’ve helped secure three
national elections, and have seen the government begin to stand-up.
The Iraqi people established a National Police, and have made a difference
throughout their country with their dedication to duty and an amazing
drive to see it through. They still have had a rough road to travel,
but are determined to go as far as it takes.
There is one major contributor in my mind that has had a direct effect
on the morale and success of the American Forces fighting this war on
terror…the American people’s support that they are providing
these young men and women of the Department of Defense. It really
could not happen without your dedicated support. I appreciate
everything that you have done for the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry,
and can only hope that you would continue your support for those forces
continuing the fight.
Thank you for your support and God Bless,
Michael Todd Hibbs
Command Sergeant Major, 1-87 Infantry