Back in 2004 when the U.S. troops were involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom, bumper stickers with the phrase “Support our troops” were on cars across the U.S. But beyond stickers and ribbons, XNet wanted to take a more active role in supporting the men and women building nations outside of ours.
So, in October 2004, Arthur Zards contacted Adopt A US Soldier to sponsor a soldier abroad. Upon approval, we were presented with a platoon commander of the 105th Engineer Battalion with forces from North Carolina. Please note that, for security purposes, we have omitted certain details from the various images and letters below.
Now that we had a names of all the platoon members, we could send a second shipment to each individual member. As we approached the holidays, XNet packed dozens of packages with snacks, batteries, magazines, books, candy, and pictures of the XNet team. Additionally, we threw in some disposable cameras so that they could share their lives with us.
Our first package was a large box of gifts for both the platoon commander and her troops. We filled it to the brim with candy to ensure they had the joy of a Halloween without trick-or-treating. Though we nether expected nor demanded any kind of response, the platoon commander sent back a letter a few weeks later. With it, she included a hand written note with pictures from her platoon. It was extremely gratifying and the entire XNet team decided they would send a second response.
Once again, the response amazed us. After helping our troops have as proper of a Christmas as we could muster, we received letters, notes, and a disposable camera full of fantastic pictures of the men and women we were helping to support. We were also honored with a platoon challenge coin. This coin was one of only 100 created and depicts the platoon members, the company moniker and logo (Black Knights), the North Carolina state flag, the unit crest, the campaign name, and, as the commander says, “…most proudly that we are Engineers!”
Adopt A Soldier is just one of the many ways XNet seeks to create meaningful relationships within its local community and in communities around the world. To see what other community projects we’ve done, head to our community page. If you would like to adopt your own soldier, visit adoptaussoldier.org.