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Wings of Hope, New Jersey
Rescue and Sanctuary
P.O. Box 22, Cleveland, GA  30528
Ph: (732) 833 - 7825   Fax: (706) 219-3573
Email:  WOH@wingsofhope-nj.com

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In World War I the tradition of the service flag began. The service flag, a white rectangle with red borders held a navy blue star for every family member who was serving on active duty. When a family member was killed a smaller, gold star was then placed on top of the blue to indicate a death. The service flag was often hung in the window of the family home to indicate that a relative was away at war. While the service flag was rarely used during the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts its tradition began again at the start of the Gulf War and continues today.
Here are the most requested items by troops deployed to Iraq.

Keep in mind your soldier needs these items, but he/she has to carry this stuff. Keep it small. If it can fit in a pocket, that's perfect. Try to buy travel-size or sample size. In many locations, there is no PX. The sand and wind are intense in some overseas locations, so some of these things are specific to that need. All lists are items the Soldier's have specifically asked for. The most often requested items: letters, cigarettes, batteries, socks, drink mixes, and reading material; in that order. They will share; they take care of each other.

Pack all items in zip-loc type baggies; this protects your package contents and the contents of other care packages should a product open, break or melt (chap sticks and deodorants can melt--zip them up in a plastic bag please!) For food items, chocolate melts! Be careful sending chocolate bars, or cookies containing or covered with chocolate.

Baby wipes for personal hygiene (Showers are more available in 2004 than they were in 2003, so the current need for baby wipes is not nearly as huge.)
Toothpaste, toothbrushes
Soap, anti-bacterial soap
Waterless soap, liquid body wash (Hand sanitizer is being removed from packages by the post office.)
Shaving cream
Disposable razors, electric razors, battery-operated razors
Toilet Paper
Kleenex (travel size packets) (Plastic-wrapped package of ten tissues: they stay dry, make great packing material and they can use it for TP, which is in short supply in many areas!)
Personal Care Items:

Sunblock, Aloe Vera
Throat Lozenges
Gum, Lifesavers, Mints
Eye Drops (to relieve irritation from blowing sand)
Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex
Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers
Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages
Feminine hygiene products for women Marines
Toilet Paper
Jock itch spray
Boot liners/insoles
Lotrimin AF for athletes foot (send tube of ointment or cream, NOT the spray kind)
Foot Powder (there are some that have ingredients to fight athletes foot), travel size Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower Powder (NOTE: Be sure any powder is in it's sealed, original container. Put it in a ziploc bag as well.)
Moleskin (for pads on sore feet, you'll find it with Dr. Scholl's type things at WalMart or drug stores)
Laundry soap (Small single-load packages, trial sizes, or 'tablets' that are easier to manage and store.)
More Items:
Envelopes, paper, pens
Small pads of paper
Pre-addressed labels and/or envelopes
Notebooks (a size they can keep in a pocket and keep dry)
Single-use cameras
Small cassette player with a message on one tape, and couple of blank tapes
(Tip: Uninstall the batteries before shipping; ship new batteries that are still packaged in the original manufacturer packaging.)
Very small, lightly padded envelopes with correct postage attached to mail back a small cassette tape or single-use cameras   (NOTE: Free mail to the U.S. is limited to letters only; all other items require postage.)
Postage stamps if they want to mail items larger than an envelope & letter
Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
Photos from home
Astronomy charts/books (the sky is unbelievably clear at night)
Sunglasses (goggle-type sunglasses are requested very frequently)
Eyeglass wipes
Socks, Socks, Socks!
Underwear, socks, T-shirts
Green boot socks (try military surplus stores)
Tactical duct tape: military green, tan, black, gray
Electrical tape
Flashlight with a red lens
1- and 2-gallon ziploc plastic bags (I put all items from my care package in a ziploc... serves two purposes!)

Fun Stuff:
Frisbee, Nerf Footballs, Hacky Sack
Deck of cards
Hand-held games

Food Items:

Pork and pork by-products are NOT allowed to be shipped to Middle East locations. That includes many 'Slim Jims' and other packaged meat products; read the label. Fruit and yeast are not allowed either.

Non-perishable foods only. Send small containers of items. Large packages won't stay fresh and are harder to ship. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil or MELT, it's a good thing to send! Downplay the sugar. Items that are hydrated are heavier; i.e. ravioli versus Ramen noodles. Some camps have methods to heat and hydrate, others do not.
Coffee, hot cocoa mix, coffee mixes, tea
Lemonade mix, Koolade mix, Tang mix, Gatorade mix (pre-sweetened)
Gum, Lifesavers, mints
Nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, trail mix
Power bars, protein bars, nutritional bars
Beef jerky, beef summer sausage (non-perishable; labeled USDA Beef)
Small bags of snacks or individually wrapped snacks
Pop Tarts, cereal bars, "milk & cereal" bars, granola bars
Cookies, homemade cookies
Candy and candy bars (chocolate will melt)
Torengos and canned nacho cheese dip
Jalepeno Velveeta and crackers
Peanut Butter has been removed from this list:
The MREs have tubes of peanut butter in them and they don't particularly want more.
Note of Thanks to a Departing Soldier

Dear American Soldier,

You don't know me, but I know who you are, and I will not forget.
You are deploying from Fort Carson and Fort Hood and Fort Bragg and Fort Campbell.
You hail from Toms River and Middleboro and Greenville and Redding and Thousand Oaks and Maple Tree.
You are white, black, brown and yellow, but always Americans first.

You are with the 159th Aviation Regiment, C Company and the 10th Combat Hospital and the 571st Air Ambulance Medical Evacuation Company.
You are with the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Infantry Division
and the "Iron Horse" 4th Infantry Division.
You are Black Knights with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment.
You are engineers, drivers and medics in the 13th Corps Support Command.

Your motto is "We Will," "Steadfast and Loyal," "Swift and Deadly," "Always Prepared," "First to Fight," and "No Task Too Tough."

You will be joined overseas by thousands of sailors and Marines on the USS Boxer
and USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Cleveland and USS Dubuque and USS Anchorage and USS Comstock and USS Pearl Harbor.

You will get support in the Gulf from an airborne infantry brigade, a squadron of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters, and two squadrons of F-16CJ radar-jamming fighters.

You have friends on the USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf and the USS Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean Sea, and the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln stationed at Perth, Australia, and the USNS Yano en route to the Red Sea, and the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on its way to a training mission in the Pacific.

You have classmates and colleagues and cousins who died at the Pentagon and in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

You have buddies who took bullets over the past year in Afghanistan and Kuwait and the Philippines during Operation Enduring Freedom.

You have uncles and brothers and fathers and grandfathers
who sacrificed their lives in past wars.
Their deaths haunt you. Their heroism inspires you.
Their footsteps beckon and you cannot resist.
You have wives who are tough as nails and husbands who are enormously proud.
You have toddlers who know the colors of the American flag
and grade-schoolers who have memorized Army verses like these:

The hardest job, the dirtiest job
Since ever war began
Is picking 'up and laying' em down
The job of an infantryman
No mission too difficult
No sacrifice too great
Our duty to the nation
Is the first we're here to state
Our doughboys come from Brooklyn
Our gunners from Vermont
Our signals from Fort Monmouth
Our engineers DuPont
Against the foes of freedom
We fight for liberty
We make no peace with tyrants
On land or on the sea.

As you pack your green Army duffel bags, press your desert camouflage fatigues, polish your boots and kiss your families goodbye, please take these words with you:
"Thank you."

Thank you for answering the call to arms.
Thank you for being fit and young and brave and willing.
Thank you for loving freedom enough to put your own life on the line to defend it.
Pay no attention to Sean Penn and Sheryl Crow and Baghdad Babs.
Tuneout the half-naked loonies and Flower Power leftovers.
Stand tall.
Fight hard.
And know there are legions of Americans who are boundlessly grateful
for what you have volunteered to do.
We know who you are.
We will not forget.
And we will pray every day for your safe return.
I am PROUD to be an American
I am proud to call the land of the free, and the home of the brave, my home.

God Bless America, Land that I Love