Our Holiday 2006 DVD Operations are already a success. 25,000 blank mini-DVDs and 38 camcorders were delivered to Iraq and Afghanistan and many of our troops have already sent videos home to their families and friends. Please read our updates regularly (scroll down to read all) to see the impact this is making on the morale of our troops.
SGT Shanikque Swann prepares to record a shout-out as SFC Kelly Stitzel holds a camcorder donated by the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, from the "A Day in the Life" program on LSA Anaconda. Photo courtesy of Anaconda Times, SGT. Kevin McSwain. The photo appeared in a story on this project in the January 24, 2007, edition.
A total of 23,500 DVDs and 25 handicams were delivered to Camp Anaconda, Iraq. It enabled SSG John G. of the 657th ASG, the unit coordinating the project for the base, to launch his "Day in the Life of a Soldier" project. "Day in the Life" is well promoted through base-wide emails, staff meetings, flyers (see below), the MWR website and a story was published in the "Anaconda Times," the local paper on base.
The 657th loans out the handicams AaSP sent. All the camcorders and over 10,000 DVDs have already been loaned out to units so their soldiers can make their videos as shout outs to friends and family, to read a bedtime story to a son or daughter, or video a soldier's "Day in the Life." The project is really working great.
"You are really making an impact on the morale of the Soldiers in Iraq," said SGT Kevin McS. of the Public Affairs office on Camp Anaconda. 1-27-07
1-25-07 - We learned today that troops from the NJ Natl Guard's 1-167th RSTA are stationed at Camp Anaconda and will get the opportunity to make DVDs and send them home. And that makes alot of Jersey members of AaSP very happy!
1-24-07 - This from Alpha Company, 324th ITSB: "Thousands of American troops are many miles away from home, living and fighting in hostile territories around the world. These brave Americans have answered the call of their President, indeed their country, and in so doing they have left behind jobs, homes, and families.
Terrell V. is a specialist in the 324th ITSB stationed in LSA Anaconda. He has been deployed for the last five months. He, like many other soldiers deployed to Iraq, is anxious to be reunited with his family. "The last time I actually saw [my family]," says SPC V., "they were all crying ... and I'm just ready to see them again." The DVD project from Adopt a Soldier Platoon allows for their families to at see SPC V., his friends, and his livelihood in Iraq.
The civilian sector has no authority to decide whether or not soldiers return home, but companies like Adopt a Soldier Platoon are doing their part to help Soldiers like SPC V. get what they want: a different method to "communicate with their families." Adopt a Soldier Platoon has made efforts to send cameras and recordable DVDs to deployed units, all free of charge. So now soldiers living and fighting overseas are able to send DVD mini-movies of them and their environment to concerned families at home.
"I think that's a good thing," said SPC V. after learning of the program. "It's something I wouldn't have thought about before I got deployed but now that I'm here, I see that Adopt a Soldier Platoon cares about us and, more importantly, cares about our families."
A video sent home by one officer, had his wife Sherrie busy by constantly rewinding over the scene where her husband is telling his two boys that he loves them and will be home soon. The youngest, Ryan, kept yelling, "play it again!" (AaSP Note: - That's what this project is all about)
ALERT!!!! We continue to ask for more camcorders. 25 Camcorders just isn't enough for 25,000 soldiers! We also bought some tripods for the soldiers . This will allow some soldiers to make their videos in private if they so choose. We've been asking for donations and one of the larger camcorder manufacturers just turned us down. So anyone or any company wishing to help out with donations for more camcorders please let us know ASAP.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our camcorders are now a permanent asset for the base. That means that when these soldiers come home and/or new ones come on base, they can also use these camcorders to video a message home. While we all want our soldiers home, these camcorders will help them "connect" with family and friends in the meantime. It's a great legacy for AaSP and the troops on Anaconda to know this service is available. The 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad has already completed all its videos! They were sent 500 DVDs and three handicams and now all the staff at Ibn Sina have made their videos and are sending them home. In addition, They sent 100 DVDs and a camcorder to their other hospital unit in Tallil so those soldiers could make videos, too!
600 DVDs were sent to the 102d Infantry Regiment of the CT Army National Guard in Afghanistan, along with seven handicams. AaSP has two adoptees in the CT Guard and over 70 AaSP members from Connecticut; 1/9/07: The camcorders and DVDs have arrived at seven of the FOBs where the soldiers are assigned. The soldiers are in the process of recording their videos. When the soldiers at each location have completed their videos, they then send the cameras back to Bagram Air Field, where they will be sent back out to the remaining four FOBs where the soldiers are assigned.
400 DVDs were sent to the 324th Integrated Theater Signal Battalion, along with three handicams. This continues our support of communications professionals.
This was all possible by the following:
FUJIFILM U.S.A. - It all started with FUJIFILM, when their Recording Media Division generously offered to donate all 25,000 blank mini DVDs
Pepsi Lipton Partnership - The maker of the Lipton ready-to-drink teas had a great year and decided it would share its good fortune and picked up all freight charges, not only for the DVD and camcorder shipments but also for the Holiday Care Cartons
DHL Global Forwarding - continued their incredible support of AaSP and came up with deeply discounted freight charges to help get all the equipment and supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan in a timely manner.
DHL Express, JFK Int'l Airport - DHL Express shipped all our Holiday Care Cartons and Christmas packages to our troops. Thanks to Pepsi Lipton Partnership for picking up these charges as well
Atlas Air joined AaSP's list of associated sponsors and sent a sizeable financial contribution
PC Richard of Jersey City and Paramus, NJ, gave AaSP generous discounts on the handicams
William Raveis Real Estate of Trumbull, CT, for their generous financial contribution for handicams for the 102d Infantry Regiment
The idea for the Holiday DVD Project came from one of our adoptees, CPT Frank B., in January 2006. He thought it would be cool if every American on LSA Anaconda, the largest American base in Iraq, could make a video and send it home for the holidays. We thought it was a great idea, too! But the hard work had only just begun.