America Supports You: Newark Deli Sending Salami to Troops
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 10, 2005 Why would two New Jersey brothers ship thousands of salamis to Iraq? The answer is simple: to support the troops.
Soldiers from the 42nd Infantry Division open a box of salami, donated by a New Jersey deli as part of "Operation Salami Drop." Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Marc and Michael Brummer, owners of Hobby's Delicatessen and Restaurant in Newark, N.J., recently shipped 2,000 salamis to the Army's 42nd Infantry Division, serving in Tikrit, as part of "Operation Salami Drop."
Operation Salami Drop is the brothers' way of bringing a "little bit of home" to troops stationed overseas, they said.
"We had been looking for something we could do for our troops, and this was a perfect fit," Marc said.
More than 7,000 additional salamis are currently being prepared for shipment. The dried meat is ideal for the long journey overseas because it can last almost indefinitely.
Each salami costs $10 and was purchased with money donated to the cause. One generous donation came from a 13-year-old girl who chipped in $1,000 of her bat mitzvah money, Marc said.
"While our slogan is 'One Salami at a Time,' we've received many checks for hundreds of dollars and even one for $7,500. That one took our breath away a little bit," Michael said.
One hundred percent of all donations go to purchase the salami at cost.
The brother's 82-year-old father, Sam, who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, partly inspired their effort. While serving in France during World War II, Sam often received salami from home.
"It was a great morale booster to get a piece of home every month and know that people cared," Sam said. "What's terrific about Operation Salami Drop is that no matter how a person feels about the war, it gives them a chance to show the troops that people care about them."
Another point of inspiration came from Michael's college friend, Michael Rothman, who is a legal officer with the New York Army National Guard, part of the 42nd Infantry Division. Rothman joined the Guard after his cousin was killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Rothman became aware that other soldiers in his unit took notice of the salami sent to him in Iraq by the Brummers. When the Brummers learned about this positive reaction, they immediately began preparing more shipments.
Operation Salami Drop has expanded the scope of its initial goal.
"When we began this project, I had hoped we could cobble together enough support to send about 1,000 salamis to the troops in Iraq," Michael Brummer said. "Now, our goal is to send 23,000 salamis to Iraq, one for each soldier in the 42nd.
Although its headquarters is in Troy, N.Y., the 42nd Infantry Division historically has been made up of National Guard units from all over the country, hence its nickname, "the Rainbow Division," which was coined by Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur, then a colonel, was instrumental in forming the division and was one of its commanders in World War I, according to the division's Web site.
"The 42nd Division stretches like a rainbow from one end of America to the other," MacArthur said shortly after the division was formed.