VOA-TV reporter Debby Block was in Camp Coyote in Kuwait in the days leading up the war. She asked several soldiers about the importance of mail from home. The following is a sample of their replies.
"I get quite a few, from my family," said one soldier. "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."
"It feel’s good, it’s the high point of my day, getting mail."
"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."
What’s a favorite thing to get out here? "Pictures of my wife and my daughter is probably the biggest thing," said one soldier. "You can always look at them and get your morale back up." He shows a letter. "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.”
"I would have! I'd have bawled," commented another soldier.
“How old are you?” the reporter asked the soldier with the wife and daughter. "Me? I’m 20, going to be 21.”
“There are some guys in the platoon that haven’t received anything," noted one fellow. "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. “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," said another soldier. "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.
“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," explained a soldier about trying to move around during a sandstorm. "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.”
“I would write a letter, sweetheart," said one soldier, speaking through the camera to his loved one, "but it is too dusty and I wouldn’t want to send you an envelope full of dust so…”
Now, with the battle begun, letters written and received will be all the more precious.