I have never written in introduction to letters received from the front lines, but decided to make an exception this time. The follow letter, reprinted with permission from the writer, is from a civilian contract worker serving in Iraq as support to our military. We sometimes concentrate so hard on the moral support of our troops, we forget about the civilians who are actually there with them. Let's remember these unsung heroes in our thoughts and prayers.
I have since learned that Suzi and her husband are both retired military. It seems there whole family is in service to our country. I am told there are many more like them. Please take a moment and say a small thank you to All who are serving Our Country.
As you can see, we have removed last names, contact, and exact location information for their protection.
Date: Monday, October 13, 2008,
Dear OMSRD members,
I am a civilian contractor here in #########, Iraq. My husband and I are
stationed here together. We have been here for almost 16 months and will be
here for 2 years total. I love to hear of all the support for the troops but I
do wish more people would mention the DOD and Contractor Civilians. There is
actually as many of us as there are the troops. The civilians make tremendous
sacrifices to come over here in person to support the troops and we sometimes
feel that most people don’t understand how much we give up to be here going
through the same dangers and stress (ducking mortars and rockets) as the
soldiers here at the ######## Base Complex. Don’t misunderstand me, we are
nowhere what so ever under the same danger as the forward combat troops that are out there kicking in doors but we do suffer the same as the non-combat
troops. We will suffer from the same Post Traumatic Disorders as the troops.
I just received one of your Dang-It Dolls from CPT Todd #######, #######.. He
had a box of them and he passed them out to all who wanted them here in our
combined office. I am with the ############ and we share a small building with
the ###### folks. Everyone just loves them…it is funny to see all the
soldiers grab them up and you can hear them being banged around here and there.
So far mine has not been used then again I have only had it about 2 hours….
I have a favor for your group: our daughter has just been stationed in
Afghanistan and I would really like her to get a box of 25 dolls to give her
troops. I haven’t even told her about mine yet but I know she would love
them and make good use out of them.
Here is her information:
CPT Victoria #######
I would also appreciate about 25 for the folks in the ###############
Directorate. We actually have roughly ### members but I thought I would start
out small and see how the folks react to them. Oh by the way, the main portion
of my unit is in a separate building from us. My address is:
Thanking you in advance
7 October 2008
Dear Dang-It Doll Manufacturer and Soldier Supporter:
I write from (Iraq). I saw my first Dang-It Doll when I
arrived two weeks ago. I was a bit confused because the dolls, which I admit
are pretty cute, became more like mascots and friends than objects upon which to
take out anger.
Yesterday, however, I saw a soldier completely destroy one of your dolls.
I don't need to get into specifics, but let me say that I'm glad the
Dang-It Doll took one for our team.
We don't often get a chance to write and say thanks (and many of us
don't even realize how important the dolls are in our daily lives), but
these were great gifts.
From: Butts, Eric P MA1 USN
Subject: Thank You
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 11:35 AM
Hello. My name is MA1 Eric Butts. I just wanted to let you know I have
been in ####### since 13 JUN 08. I wanted to extend my thanks to all of
you that were out there the day I left FT. McCrady. It gave me a sense
of peace because I'm currently stationed out of Yokosuka Japan and my
family could not be there to see me off. I'm here until Apr 2009. So
once again I just wanted to say thanks and that all of us were thankful
for your time and just showing that you care. I have 2 cards so can I
have two stress dolls?
Eric P. Butts, Investigator, USN
Subject: EPU 101 Thanks You!!!
Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008, 10:59 AM
I recently deployed to O.E.F. from Ft. Jackson, SC and wanted to thank you all for the overwhelming amount of support you showed myself, my fellow unit and service members this past Friday morning. The 3 weeks of training we underwent at Camp McCready were worth-while but exhausting so when we were told the hour of our flight, we were dreading it. The reception you showed us on the tarmac was extremely uplifting and will not be soon forgotten. There are citizens who show their support with a bumper sticker on the back of their car and then there are the citizens who haul their butts out onto a flight line at 0400 to hand out coffee, sandwiches, stress-relief dolls and offer words of encouragement to military members heading overseas- thanks for your support- it is very much appreciated!
To the members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Blue Star Mothers of America, the Operation Military Stress Relief Dolls folks (my nieces have been charged with naming my doll...), the American Legion members (I didn't have an email address for the Columbia chapter but hope this will be passed on to them!) and all those that participated I give my sincerest thanks. Things here in Kuwait are going well and the morale is high- we're all glad to be 'starting the countdown'! Thanks again and all the best!
LCDR Patrick Schoenberger, USN
--- On Mon, 7/14/08, Kathleen ****** wrote:
Please see the note below from a grateful soldier.
LOL I received the package yesterday. I looked at the address and
name and was wondering what exactly it was and where it came from.
Then I opened it and saw some dolls and was even more confused until I
read the note on the dolls. We have beat the stuffing out of about 10
of the dolls already. They are plain fun.
Thanks for sending my name, we enjoyed them!
On 7/9/08, Kathleen ****** wrote:
> Hi there -
> I saw an article on this woman and her dolls that she sends to soldiers to
> help relieve stress.
> I sent her your address and she is sending you some to share w/ your
> buddies. So every time you get stressed, frustrated or just plain upset,
> punch the doll and think of me!! :)
> Kathleen ******
"Aldrich, Aaron L SMSgt USAF USAFE 703 MUNSS/SFM" wrote:
First, let me send my appreciation for all the effort that goes into this endeavor. I have known two people now that received a doll (one a dog-handler and another Security Forces troop working to train Iraqi Police). They told me about this project, so I googled and found your email.
I am in charge of a very small Air Force unit in the middle of Holland; completely isolated from any other Americans. We live, shop, and do everything else on the Dutch economy. We aren't in the middle of the fight, but provide support to our Dutch counterparts in Afghanistan as part of their joint coalition mission. We work here for a minimum of 2 years (some for 4), and rarely get the opportunity to return to the states to visit family. I wonder if it would be too much to ask for a few stress dolls to be sent over here; we could sure put them to good use :-) Thanks for the consideration, and again for this entire project; it is amazing.
SMSgt Aaron L. Aldrich
Aaron L. Aldrich, SMSgt, USAF
Superintendent, Security Forces
Volkel AB, The Netherlands
From: Carol Davis [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 2:06 PM
To: Aldrich, Aaron L SMSgt USAF USAFE 703 MUNSS/SFM
Subject: Re: Dang-it-Dolls
Aaron my dear,
You are e mailing a Proud Air Force Mom and Grandma. You most certainly can have all the dolls you want. My son retired 5 years ago and my grandson has been in for 5 years. He is on the deployment list for "The Sandbox" in August. Notice I didn't say "Has Orders" It's my way of not stressing before it is necessary.
You don't have to be on the front lines to get our dolls, just serve our country proudly!!! How many do you need and is the APO listed below where you want them shipped?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Carol a/k/a Grandma
May 13, 2008
"Aldrich, Aaron L SMSgt USAF USAFE 703 MUNSS/SFM" wrote:
Thank you so much for your quick and heartfelt response. With your pedigree, I will bet you go through a few of those dolls yourself :) No need to worry, your grandson is in the best possible hands every day, whether at home station or deployed!
I currently supervise 54 Airmen from 18 years of age to 38, and work for one of the best Captains I have met in 21 years (she is a real firecracker!) If you could manage to send one for each of my troops, I would forever be in your debt. Otherwise, I will make sure that whatever you do send, I will find great homes for (some folks here handle the stress better than others).
Again, thanks so much for all you do; many of us live for the support we get from home; it gives undeniable meaning to the sacrifices so many make.
Take care and God bless :)
And the APO address I gave you is for our tiny post office here. Thank you again!
From: Carol Davis [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:29 AM
To: Aldrich, Aaron L SMSgt USAF USAFE 703 MUNSS/SFM
Subject: RE: Dang-it-Dolls
Just wanted you to know we packed up your dolls tonight. They will ship out on Friday. Now, you must remember, These are not just pretty faces to sit on your desk and collect dust. They are to be used and abused!!!!! Just follow the directions on each doll. Replacements will be deployed to you for the asking.
God Bless all of you and know that you are all our "American Heroes"!!!!!
June 03, 2008
"Aldrich, Aaron L SMSgt USAF USAFE 703 MUNSS/SFM"
I just received the dolls in the mail; they are GREAT! Thanks so much! I have already given 4 out and our First Sergeant needs two more! Thanks again, God bless!
"Hite, Matthew T SFC MIL USA FORSCOM"
Thank you so much for the package of stress dolls that arrived today. On behalf of the soldiers of the 4TH Brigade, 10TH Mountain Division headquarters, and specifically my unit, the 1ST Battalion, 66TH Armor Regiment, thank you very much indeed. I was initially curious how the stress dolls would be received by a group of combat soldiers, but they were well received indeed. The most common action was for some of the soldiers to add a bit of personaliztion. (Usually in the form of their bosses last name) to the dolls. They are all over the headquarters now.
Look forward to a group photo with soldiers and their new friends in the near future. Thank you so very much for all that you do to support the troops. People like yourself make our efforts all the more worthwhile.
Thanks again, Carol,
SFC Matthew T. Hite
I am currently in Balad AB Iraq. I started seeing Dammit Dolls here beginning the 1st day at work. I thought that I would take a few pictures for your grandmother. As you can tell some of these are much more used than others. There are several headless dammit doll bodies around the Maintenance Complex. Please pass on my thanks for the wonderful support and stress relieving tools.
NATHAN G. LYDEN, Lt Col, USAF.
DSN ###-###-6320 REDTAIL 4B
I am a member of the 174FW, NY Air National Guard, Hancock Field, Syracuse, NY currently deployed to the 332 EMXS, Balad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I received one of your dolls today. Just holding the doll around the neck or by a leg somehow brings instant relief to my frustrations. There is not a lot of opportunity here to vent or hide in privacy. Thank you for an outlet for my frustrations. You are brilliant! If only I had my doll in hand months ago when I was really feeling suppressed. My time here is thankfully coming to an end, but I'm sure the frustrations will continue on a daily basis. It is the nature of the beast/mission.
Thank you for the support,
SSgt Tammy Pitt
Thank you for the DAMMIT dolls. They are a hoot. I haven't given it a beating yet, and probably won't. I have it over my computer, and it will go home with me.
I appreciate the thought of these dolls coming over here. I know it was a lot of work. Everyone has been very supportive of us, and we are all very grateful even when we don't find time to write.
You would be supprised at the number of those dammit dolls riding around in vehicle, The have seen a lot of road miles, and they are getting quite a tour.
So in closing, once again, thank you for your time and support to us.
DAVID ADKINS. MSGT, USAF
Programs Manager, 332 EMXS
Just wanted to let you know that we enjoy the stress dolls you had sent. Finally something we can use! We appreciate the effort that went into making them and appreciate your support, it helps.
SSgt David Kuchera
NY Air National Guard
To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you so much for the Dammit Doll! Its funny how the cutest thing can be exactly what you need during the most trying times. I have to admit that my Dammit Doll has seen and felt its fair share of my frustration but at the same time, it has also put a much needed smile on my face. I can't thank you all enough for doing this for us. If there is anything that I can send you from here to show my appreciation, please do not hesitate to let me know! Thank you again.
SSgt Syreeta Seamon
Today I received a box from my home unit-31 LRS in Aviano, Italy. I am currently deployed to Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan for 6 months.
In the box was a Dammit doll. It'll have a nice home here in the Combined Forces Command Joint Operations Center.
Thank you all, it is a great feeling to all of us deployed service members knowing Americans at home truly support us in Afghanistan and Iraq.
JENNIFER D. LUOMA, Capt, USAF
CFC-A/CSTC-A CJ3 JOC
Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan
Thanks so much for making these dolls. I have worn out like 3 of them already. They always help ease a tough day at the office. Thanks again and keep em comming :o)
JESSICA DRAWDY, SrA, USAF
F-110 ENGINE TCTO MONITOR
AVIANO AIR BASE, ITALY
It is an Honor for me to receive these wonderful gifts from you and hand them out to our deployers. You are doing an outstanding service to the Military, I myself have three in my office, one that I have let out some frustration on. Thank you for the gift that you bring to us and raise our morale.
NATHAN D. CYR, SSgt, USAF
31st Maintenance Squadron Ancillary Training Manager
Just wanted to pass along a thank you for the Dammit Dolls. I received mine from Thomas in our Orderly room. I got one long ago and enjoyed having it around the office for weeks. Finally, one day I had a pretty stressful situation and I followed the instructions for use. Sure enough it was destroyed. Luckily you have sent so many to Thomas that he gave me another.
I'm sure others have told you, but those crazy little dolls really do make all of us feel like you really care about us. Thanks for taking your time, energy and money to make them and send them to so many people. You brighten our day. DAN
Maucieri, Daniel M SMSgt 31 MXS/MXMG
I am a member of the British Airforce currently serving as part of the coalition forces supporting the operations in Iraq. I have recently been passed one of your Dammit Dolls by Brandy Norwood. I have to say, these things have been very well made as the one I have in my possession has been well and truly beaten, it does however stand up to everything I throw at him. I am impressed.
My name is Al Anderson, I am from Scotland, I have been here for 1 of 4 months and appreciate your kind wishes during difficult times. It is an honour for us to be working in unison with the United States and the rest of the coalition forces.
Thanks again for your support and best wishes.
Ms Davis, I want to thank you for all that you do for the Great American Soldiers that serve are Country. My task force that was down range have all came home to their families and Fort Campbell, Ky. I want to tell you, all of the soldiers that went over with us came home in full, many of are Aircraft were shot up but everyone made it threw their tough deployment. Ms Davis, you brought us a great smile and stress relief all in one Dammit Doll. I wish you a great year and again Thank you for your time.
Command Sergeant Major
Good afternoon, Ma'am
I am currently away from Aviano and have several persons here with me "stressing". I was wondering if I may request up to 35 Dammit Dolls to pass around the the "stressers"? They are such a big hit in Aviano! I know they will be here as well.
Thank you so much for all your support for the troops!
BRANDY M. NORWOOD, SSgt, USAF
Hi! I'm currently serving in Iraq and have had the awesome opportunity to use the DAMNIT DOLL! As the days pass, I find myself reaching for the DAMNIT DOLL a bit more then I should :).
Gestures such as the dolls and various other means of support help to keep us focused on what we need to do over here. With great Americans like you all behind us, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
Thank you for all the support!~!
TSgt Aaron Jennings
Improved Avionics Intermediate Systems Section Chief
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 10:19 PM
Subject: RE: Hi Danny, How is Spike?
Carol how are you....we are doing as well as can be expected....but we are all ready to come home....the guys are leaning towards Lt. Dammit for spikes official name....we are currently working on getting him flown on a combat mission in an F-16 fighting falcon....I will give you more info as we get it....He will get a certificate and everything once he is flown......I will include pictures with my next email....I have to get some work done now.....but I will email again A.S.A.P. and hopefully spike will have flown by then.....once again thank you for your support...SSgt. Danny Goodrum
From: Carol Davis [mailto:
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2007 11:48 PM
To: Goodrum Danny W SSgt 332 EMXS/MXMMP
Subject: Hi Danny, How is Spike?
I hope both of you are doing well. Tell Spike he is now our official logo. We are using his picture on our letterhead and flyers. I have attached the picture we are using for you to see. We are having a big community workshop on June 02. I would really appreciate if you could sent some pictures of Spike in Action so we can post them for all to see as well as stories of any adventures he has been on.
Hope everything is going well for all of you. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Stay Well and Stay Safe,
Operation Dammit Doll