Mail means much to troops deployed overseas
by Spc. Ryan Stroud, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
Published: Friday, November 10, 2006 4:17 PM CST
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BAQUBAH, Iraq - "Nothing in the world is better than receiving mail," said Sgt. Agustin Sanchez - and he would know.
As the certified mail clerk for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, it is his mission to ensure all Soldiers from the "Grey Wolf" brigade get the mail they look forward to receiving.
Sanchez picks up mail from the post office after lunch, then returns to his office to begin the sorting process. He knows he has to work quickly to meet the needs of those around him.
"Most Soldiers don't get their mail until after they get back from work," said the El Paso, Texas native. "When you come home from a long day of working hard or being out on patrol, nothing beats coming back and hearing, 'Hey, you've got mail!'"
"When I get mail, it's like Christmas every month because I don't get many packages back home," said Spc. Eddie Quintero, a native of San Diego, Calif. "It's a piece of home in a box."
In addition to mail, Soldiers can also use the Internet to correspond with family and friends at the base's morale, welfare and recreation facility. But while e-mail is nice because of its timely delivery, Sanchez said he would rather have a handwritten letter.
"Receiving a letter beats getting an e-mail any day," Sanchez said. "There is no better way to say 'I love you' to a Soldier overseas than sending a handwritten letter."
"Mail is love in an envelope," said Pfc. Freddie Scott Jr., of Tallahassee, Fla. "It's the fuel that motivates me, and it lets me know people care about me and appreciate what I am doing for my country."
Feeling loved is something Sanchez said all Soldiers need, adding the letters he hands out lift the Soldiers' spirits.
"I remember my last deployment to Iraq," he said, remembering the letters and drawings he used to get from children in the states. "It makes you smile and raises your morale way up. I kept those drawings with me - they meant a lot."
People taking time out of their busy day to remember the Soldiers fighting hard for them overseas are what keep us going everyday, he added.
"Nothing is better than receiving a letter, pictures or a care-package from a loved one," Sanchez said. "It reminds you that there's someone out there who cares about what you're doing, and appreciates your efforts."