Phase Two of Operation Home Front included the shipment of video consoles and games, portable DVD players and USB camcorders, all designed to help reduce the stress of war and "connect" the soldiers to family and friends back home.
Click on insignia for more info on 50th IBCT
Operation Home Front NJ's 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Iraq CT 1109th AVCRAD in IRQ, AFG and KUW CT 103rd ACS Air Natl Guard in Iraq 277th ASB from Fort Drum, NY
Today, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon is supporting about 3,000 NJ ARNG soldiers of the 50th IBCT while in Iraq. Included in the 50th are two transportation companies from the Michigan ARNG. The Operation also supports the 1109th AVCRAD from CT, which is deployed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, the 103rd ACS from the CT Air Nat'l Guard and the 277th Aviation Support Battalion from Fort Drum, NY.
Operation Home Front has already touched all the soldiers in the 50th. Thanks to the New Jersey Credit Union League and Unilever, all the soldiers received flight pillows prior to their 23 hour flight to Kuwait in September (the NJCUL donated about $20,000 worth of flight pillows for this purpose!). And thanks to Atlas Air Worldwide and its friends and partners, camcorders were sent to all these units (coupled with the blank DVDs from FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A.) so all the soldiers will be able to make and send a video home to their families this holiday season.
In January and February 2009, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon began sending Flip Mino USB camcorders, portable DVD players, movies, XBoxes and games to these units to afford relaxation for the soldiers to keep their spirits high.
2/15/09: The Palisades Country Day School (PCDS) of Closter and Fort Lee, NJ, held another annual Valentine's Day collection for our troops amounting to three car loads of goodies. These were packed and sent to CPT James E., commander of Foxtrot Company (Teaneck Armory) and other Bergen County soldiers AaSP has been supporting. Additionally, food and personal care items were sent to the 345th CSH in Mosul, Iraq, and children in Baghdad supported by our own 50th IBCT Command Directorate. Special thanks to Diane T., Cindy D., Lara S. and the entire PCDS team for this incredibly generous and timely donation. 2/8/09: Flip Mino camcorders have begun to arrive and they are a hit! (Click Here to read some of the comments from our units.) Additionally, this week FUJIFILM Recording Media USA donated additional blank mini DVDs for our units. 2/1/09: Once the holidays were past, we began the next phase of support for these brave men and women from NJ, NY and CT. We sent Flip Mino camcorders and DVD players as well. These entertainment amenities will help them relax and also provide a way to "connect" with friends and family back home. Thanks to our good friends at Best Buy and PC Richard for providing excellent pricing to stretch our $$$. 12/20/08: This week, the NJ Elks Army of Hope sent about 500 stuffed animals to Baghdad for our NJ ARNG unit's support of the needy children there. The Unilever Clinton, CT, plant collected goodies to fill a dozen care cartons for CT's 1109th AVCRAD. These cartons will go out next month after the holiday mail rush is over and the goodies will provide some lift for the "after holiday blues" for our troops. Also, thanks to the American Citizens for Soldiers of East Rockaway, which sent a significant donation for our local troops and thanks also to a new Operation Home Front supporter -- the Stacom Team from Cushman Wakefield -- who pledged a significant donation for the 1109th AVCRAD of the CT ARNG. Thanks Jim and Tara, respectively, for your commitment and patriotism. 12/14/08: On Tuesday, Dec. 9, a team from the Unilever Americas Supply Chain held a "Thanks to the Troops" event at the company's Trumbull, CT, facilities. More than 60 attendees packed Unilever products into boxes for 2nd Platoon, Charlie Co., 250th BSB of the NJ ARNG and the 1109th AVCRAD of the CT ARNG. LTC Vincent V. of the CT ARNG attended the event and thanked the attendees for their caring. Also this week, a shipment of XBox video games from Microsoft XBox were received and many of the games immediately shipped to our Home Front units. 12/8/08: Sports souvenirs from the NY Yankees, NY Islanders and NY Rangers were sent to our main contacts for CT and NJ ARNG. Also included were shirts and hats from Warner Bros and Paramount Films. Thanks to Rob for his hard work to get the souvenirs. Also received this week were Christmas stockings from some Ridgefield Boy Scouts (thanks Tom and Pauline H.); Emerson and Assumption Academy Girl Scouts (thanks Celeste); stockings from Kim in Cressill, Cathy in Trumbull and Marty in EC. Also received were boxes and boxes of goodies from the St. Ignatius Loyola Day Nursery for one of our units in Baghdad (thanks Cecile and Marissa). And of course on Friday we had a great packing session for our units! 11/30/08: Camcorders were received at 50th IBCT HQ in Baghdad and Chaplain K. can begin to organize the video project there; Raytheon's Impact!08 Team packed care cartons for ALL the soldiers of the CT ARNG's 1109th AVCRAD stationed in KUW, IRQ and AFG. And the first graders, their families and the staff of Hillcrest School in Somerset, NJ, made a great collection of goodies for the 50th Chemical Co., which makes its home at an armory very close to the school. Way to go all! 11/23/08: All the blank DVDs from FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A. have arrived safe and sound at all three main NJ ARNG locations. Additionally, all camcorders have been shipped and today we learned that the camcorders for NJ soldiers in Southern Iraq have arrived in good condition so Chaplain R. can begin to schedule videos. We continue to be grateful to the Super Supporters who helped make this part of Operation Home Front a success! 11/16/08: The first of the camcorders were shipped this past week to southern Iraq and the NJ ARNG. And the DVD players are soon to be ordered. One of our adoptees in Baghdad is very interested in improving conditions for Iraqi orphans in the area and we already have packages of clothes and toys, thanks to our Special Friends at Piedmont College in Demorest, GA. On Veterans Day, a webcast event was held at a NJ grammar school featuring one of our adoptees in Baghdad. CLICK HERE to see update on wonderful things the NJ Elks are doing for the families. 11/1/08: The Unilever Ambassadors mailing has already yielded nearly $2,500 in donations (including Matching Unilever Gifts); Morgan Stanley pledges significant donation to Atlas Air. Funds will enable portable DVD players for the NJ and CT Natl Guard. 10/25/08: This past week was another great week for Operation Home Front. The Best Buy WOLF Pack dropped off boxes of goodies collected at its 10/18 event, along with $1300 in cash. Central NJ BMX also dropped off goodies it collected and mailed $1200 in cash to AaSP. Another Atlas Air supporter, Ropes and Gray, mailed in $1,000. And the NJ Elks, an organization already doing incredible work supporting NJ warriors' families, were connected to AaSP through a returning NJ ARNG commander from Afghanistan, LTC John L. Also, Unilever Ambassadors sent out a Metro NYC mailing on Wednesday, which is already beginning to bear fruit. 10/19/08: It was a huge week for Operation Home Front. The Atlas Air Worldwide charity outing on Thursday pushed donations to nearly $20,000, fully funding camcorders for all the NJ and CT soldiers deployed in the Middle East. Also this week, a special donation of video games from Electronic Arts (EA) arrived for our troops. And Central Jersey BMX raised money and collected snacks and personal care products for our NJ heroes. 10/11/08: The friends of Atlas Air Worldwide continued to pledge donations to its charity outing and Operation Home Front, including Price Waterhouse Coopers, General Electric, Cigna, Mach2 Corporation, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Pillsbury Law. Thanks to Atlas Air, we are already at nearly three-quarters of what we need to purchase camcorders for the NJ and CT soldiers' videos. Additionally, Unilever's Clinton, CT, plant and its Supply Chain teams are planning events to support this program. 10/3/08: The Goldenrod in York Beach, ME, donated over 50 lbs of salt water taffy for our NJ and CT soldiers. More donors contacted Altas Air to support its charity outing, including The Boeing Company. 9/26/08: This week the wonderful vendors, customers and employees of Atlas Air began sending donations to Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon to support Operation Home Front. Significant donations have now been received from Genesis Aviation, Preferred Composite Services, Hotel Connections, IBM and Global Crew Logistics. Thank you to all the generous associates of Atlas Air Worldwide and to John, Jim and all the fine folks at Atlas Air! 9/16/08: The Best Buy WOLF Pack team met today in Somerset, NJ, to plan activities for its big event for the NJ Heroes on October 18. Five Best Buy stores in central NJ will collect food, personal care and entertainment products and Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon will ship them to various NJ ARNG units in Iraq. This is shaping up to be a very exciting event! Thanks to Amy and the WOLF Pack team for their leadership. 9/9/08: Our good friends at Atlas Air notified us they will, once again, include AaSP as one of their charities in their annual charity golf outing. Last year, Atlas Air provided AaSP with a very significant donation for our XBox 360 project. Atlas Air has a large fleet of 747 freight liners and they do a lot of work for the military. They enjoy 'giving back' and we are grateful for their steadfast support! Thanks to the leadership of Atlas Air. (Thanks John!) 9/6/08: This past week, FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., offered to donate blank mini DVDs to enable every soldier in the 50th IBCT (and CT's 1109th AVCRAD) to send a video home to their families for the holidays. Thanks Gene! (We will buy enough direct-to-DVD camcorders for all 27 units to make that happen.) FUJIFILM was instrumental in our DVD project in 2006. We so appreciate their steadfast support! Also this past week, Microsoft XBox and their publishing partners sent cases of games for the troops' enjoyment. This team has also been a steady supporter of AaSP. (Thanks Kat and team!)
We will provide additional details on all the Special Friends, businesses and corporations that are making this operation possible, as well as the different sub projects we are working on to improve the morale of these brave men and women from NJ. (We hope you will join us!)
Kathy and Rick B. of The Goldenrod in York Beach, ME, make some of the greatest salt water taffy you've ever tasted. (ed.-- "I oughta know, I've been eating it for more than 50 years.") Well, Kathy and Rick donated some taffy for our NJ and CT troops on our trip to ME this first weekend in October. Thank you Goldenrod for your generosity and patriotism!