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Mail Call Keeps Soldiers Connected to Home - 2003-03-21


VOA-TV reporter Debby Block was in Camp Coyote in Kuwait in the days leading up the war. This is her footage of the soldiers and how they stay connected to home and family. Betty Van Etten narrates.

Mail call at Camp Coyote in the Kuwaiti desert in the days before the battle.

NATURAL SOUND
“Gonzalez”

SOLDIER
“I get quite a few. My family writes me a lot from home; my sister and my brother. I get letters from people I don’t even know, people that work with my dad and my brother. I get letters from people that I haven’t even seen in six or seven years.

SOLDIER
“ It feel’s good, it’s the high point of my day getting mail. Ain’t that right, first Sargent!”

SOLDIER
“Mail is one of those things that, even if you don’t know the person, mail is one of those things that there is not a lot out here to help us raise our morale, so to speak, from the outside world. Just being connected to something makes a difference.”

SOLDIERS
“It’s like Christmas around here.”

“Fruit mix. Squeeze cheese!”

“Who sent you that box”

“My Aunt Mary. Sports Illustrated, People.”

SOLDIER
“I have been in the Marine Core for two years. I have been with this unit for a year and a half. You spend everyday with these guys for a year and half just like your brothers so you share everything you can, that’s just the way it is.

REPORTER
“What’s your favorite thing to get out here?”

SOLDIER
“Pictures of my wife and my daughter, is probably the biggest thing. You can always look at them and get your morale back up. This is on her birthday right before we left, the birthday is on January 4th. When I called her last night, she sang me happy birthday. My birthday is on the 23rd of March. All by herself, too. Pretty cool! I almost started crying.”

REPORTER
“How old are you?”

SOLDIER
“Me? I’m twenty, going to be twenty one.”

SOLDIER
“Some guys in the platoon haven’t received anything so you kind of appreciate what you get cause you could be one of those guys not receiving anything.”

SOLDIER
“There are some guys in the platoon that haven’t received anything. So, you kind of appreciate what you get. You could be one of those guys not receiving anything.”

But just as important as the packages and letters coming in are the letters soldiers are sending home.

SOLDIER
“While I was out here, I had my second anniversary, and uh, obviously missed that. But I write her and say, what kind of date I would take her on. She is the only person I really want to talk to. The only person that really understands everything that is going on in my life. I feel like, we are married and she is my best friend, and I want to tell everything that goes on. So, that is why I write so often. It helps me sort out my thoughts, too.”

Some letters may tell of living with the potential of chemical and biological warfare, others of sandstorms in the desert

NATURAL SOUND
“What”

SOLDIER
“Na, I didn’t bump into anything but, I was following my buddy Dan and, like, he was only a couple of feet in front of me and I couldn’t even see him. So, we just sort of wandered around with our hands out so we we didn’t knock into anything, and eventually found the heads out there.”

SOLDIER
“I would right a letter, sweetheart, but it is too dusty and I wouldn’t want to send you an envelope full of dust so…”

REPORTER
“So Ed, what did you get today?”

SOLDIER
“Got one from my mother.”

Now, with the battle begun, letters written and received will be all the more precious.

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