An Afghan child is hungry . . .

Sometimes we fail to appreciate how wealthy and well off we all are. One of the Battle Company soldiers snapped a photo of a buddy tossing out trash at their remote FOB in remote Afghanistan this week, Christmas week and a season in which we engage in overdoing spending on ‘things.’

There is nothing remarkable in the photo below if you only see the soldier.

But look closely and focus on the background. There you’ll see an Afghan child digging through the trash. The soldier who took this remarkable photo didn’t say what the child was looking for … probably food and any other scrap which will make his life in unbelievable poverty slightly less awful.

Next time you are inclined to complain about anything, remember this scene and be grateful for the gifts in life you’ve been given. Then, go out and share.

Sgt. Kenton Miller taking trash out with Afghan child in background Dec 2011

Finally, please note that the soldier in this picture, Sgt. Kenton Dewitt Miller, is holding his weapon ready for use – he’s there to protect that child! Indeed, there is hope in this world. Thank you Kenton! Amen.

Sadly, I’ve learned that the Army missed the point of the picture entirely – Sgt. Miller got hassled because his shirt sleeves were rolled up while he was at a garbage dump of all things. Dumb!

PS – for those who want to reuse this photo, please give him credit and then mark it with with this: Copyright (c) 2011 Kenton Dewitt Miller. All rights reserved.

A translation of ‘Army’ for our civilian Partners . . .

Many of our civilian partners have pledged to stay connected with the soldiers of Battle Company as the soldiers serve their 1-year deployment in Afghanistan.

But the Partners ask lots of questions about the rank designations for the soldiers. Here is a short translation of that label attached to each name:

Army – Translation
PV1 – Private 1
PV2 – Private 2
PFC – Private First Class
SPC – Specialist
CPL – Corporal
SGT – Sergeant
SSG – Staff Sergeant
SFC – Sergeant First Class
MSG – Master Sergeant
1ST – First Sergeant
1LT – 1st Lieutenant
2LT – 2nd Lieutenant
CPT – Captain

For more information and pictures of rank insignia, please visit:

FOB Sweeney gets a re-supply from Air Force C-130

A C-130 Hercules drops supplies to International Security Assistance Forces assigned to Forward Operating Base Sweeney, Zabul Province, Afghanistan. Winds during the drop gusted up to 20 mph.

Just in case any of our Partners thinks they can go easy on careful packing of care packages for the Battle Company soldiers. This how their mail and other supplies are delivered!

Christmas Day 2011 greetings from the 3rd ‘Black Sheep’ Platoon

Lt. Matthew Domenech and the soldiers of 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment … a.k.a. Black Sheep Platoon … on Christmas Day just outside their living quarters in Afghanistan.

3rd Platoon and Lt Matt Domenech in Afghanistan on Christmas Day

Christmas Day shout-out to all the folks back home on Christmas Day 2011

Click on the photo to see a full-size version. Lt. Domenech said, “I am on the bottom far left, kneeling. My platoon sergeant, Jeff Scott Schoonover is to my immediate left, your right.”

Thanks for the photo, L-T!

Help fill “Joe’s Closet”
with basic personal supplies

Here is the address for supplies to fill “Joe’s Closet” to meet the miscellaneous needs of the 160 deployed Battle Company soldiers.

Why? Because those personal needs that each soldier has won’t be met because there is no PX at the base. Particularly important are basics like soap, shampoo, dental care products, deodorant … think of all those supplies you get at every hotel/motel in the United States and then bring home unused. Gather up those personal hygiene items and send ’em to Joe’s Closet.

There actually will be two closets: one at the unit’s main base at FOB Sweeney and another at FOB Wolverine for one platoon that is detached to that base. Any soldier who needs something can just get it as your gift from Joe’s Closet. Basic but important!

Please include a note to Captain Mickley or Lt. Johnson telling who you are, why you care and maybe even include a photo of yourself.

You can use normal U.S. Postal Service resources to send packages and letters at domestic postal rates. Priority Mail ‘if it fits, it ships’ packages are recommended for maximum benefit, in part because large size packages (12x12x5) sent to APO addresses receive a lower postage rate. You probably will have to fill out a customs forms when you mail your package. Keep it simple.

Soldiers sending mail back here do not need stamps to send you a letter.

Remember when you prepare a package that their mail is usually delivered by helicopter and parachute. Pack well and carefully. Please don’t send anything in aerosol cans or glass bottles for obvious hazard reasons.


Personal Hygiene

The commanding officer, Captain Joseph Mickley, has set up a ‘closet’ for his soldiers’ personal hygiene needs because they will NOT have access to a PX during their year-long deployment.

• Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, mouth wash, soap, shampoo, deodorant, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, disposable razors, shaving cream, bug spray (NO AEROSOL CANS or GLASS BOTTLES, please).
• A note for business and vacation travelers: the motel/hotel personal hygiene supplies you collect are particularly helpful for soldiers. Note pads, envelopes and simple stationary will be helpful.
• Call us for other soldier requests such as socks, shorts and etc. We are in regular contact with them on Facebook.

Food, Drinks and ‘other’ stuff

Drinks: Gatorade powder, Crystal Light powder, hot chocolate packets, dry soup packets, tea bags, instant coffee.

Snack foods: peanut butter in individual travel packages, beef jerky, trail mix, Chex mix, dried fruit, fruit rollups, fruit gummies, energy bars, granola bars, cereal bars, fig newtons, peanuts and mixed nuts (salted preferred), flavored sunflower seeds, hard pretzels, gum, hard candy, Lifesavers, mailable cookies packed in ‘Pringles’ cans, and chocolate in the winter months (it melts in the hot summers there).

Other Stuff: Stationery, envelopes, pens, books, puzzle books (such as word finders, crossword, Sudoku), current event magazines (Time and Newsweek, for example), puzzles, board games, and decks of playing cards.

A personal note with each package would be great starter! The unit’s commanding officer, Capt. Joseph Mickley, would like to know who is supporting his soldiers and so do the soldiers! They are a team and we can help them become a family.