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Deployed Soldiers Send Valentine’s Day Messages Home

By Army Sgt. Shannon Black
Special to American Forces Press Service

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2009 – Soldiers serving with Company A, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, may not be with their loved ones tomorrow for Valentine’s Day, but they’ve figured out the next best option.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Gary Bush and Army Pfc. Christopher Dotson, who both participated in the “Heart to Heart” program, share a laugh as Dotson describes a funny story he told on a message he sent to his family at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, Feb. 9, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shannon Black

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team sent videotaped messages home Feb. 9 through a program called “Heart To Heart.”

The program was coordinated by the 27th battalion chaplain’s section.

“Heart to Heart is a program I came up with to help ease the tension and separation for Valentine's Day,” Army Chaplain (Capt.) Howard Bankston said. “The family members back home could also video a message for their family over here in Iraq, … keeping family members connected through video for Valentine's Day."

Soldiers had the option of recording messages on DVD minidiscs for shipment to family members or reading a book aloud for their children while being recorded. The soldiers who read also were able to ship the book, courtesy of the USO, so children could follow along.

“It boosted my morale to be able to do something like that,” Army Spc. Gary Bush said. “It made me feel good to be able to show my appreciation to my family while we’re out here.”

The battalion’s command team donated hundreds of discs for the event, and the United Through Reading program and the USO provided two camcorders.

“It’s another great tool that we have during this deployment to show our loved ones that we think about them and care about them, especially for Valentine’s Day,” Army Pfc. Christopher Dotson said.

(Army Sgt. Shannon Black serves with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 27th Brigade Support Battalion.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq
United Through Reading Military Program

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