Any Soldier Inc. shows support for deployed troops
, American Forces Press Service
Washington - A family's show of
support for their deployed son has evolved into a nationwide
drive that a commander deployed to Afghanistan said
"epitomizes all that is good in the American people."
Recognizing that their son, Army Sgt.
Brian Horn, a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was living
under very harsh conditions after parachuting into Iraq last
March, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Marty Horn and his wife,
Sue, began sending him care packages as often as they could.
Horn requested additional packages for his fellow Soldiers
who weren't getting any, and soon his parents were asking
their friends and neighbors in La Plata, Md., to send packages
to their son, too. Horn agreed to distribute them to Soldiers
who weren't getting mail. The "overwhelming and nearly
monumental" show of support "has provided the simple reminder
that any one of us would proudly die for a grateful nation in
our ongoing fight against terrorism," said Horn, who has
redeployed from Iraq to his unit headquarters in Vicenza,
Italy. There, he and his fellow Soldiers are preparing for
another deployment after the Christmas holidays - this time to
Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Meanwhile, Any Soldier Inc. continues to grow. By early
June, organization had more than 100 volunteer contact
Soldiers, and requests for packages continue to pour in from
units throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. The senior Horn
attributes the effort's success to the fact that "the American
public wants to do something to show support." What makes the
program particularly appealing to many, he said, is that it
gives people an opportunity to develop one-on-one contacts
with deployed troops. "There's no middle man," Horn said, "so
people get to feel very attached." Any Soldier Inc.'s Web
site lists supplies that deployed troops need, such as
prepackaged food, T-shirts and even Beanie Babies that they
can give to local children. The site provides specific
information about how and where to send packages.
According to Lt. Col. Rick Mullen, commanding officer of a
Marine Corps aviation unit in Afghanistan, these gifts have a
"deeply humbling effect on the individual Marines in our
squadron." Mullen said the packages demonstrate that the
American public shares in "the price our Marines are paying
for freedom" and makes the load deployed troops carry feel "a
bit lighter." Sergeant Horn expressed thanks on the Any
Soldier Web site for the "awe- inspiring and frankly quite
dramatic display of support from the home front." He said the
correspondence and care packages have poured in "at an
overwhelming and nearly monumental pace." The campaign, he
wrote, "has seen tears from some, given hope to most and has
been inspirational to us all." The sergeant's father said
there's a lot of personal gratification in watching the
program grow, "knowing that I'm making a difference - and
allowing a lot of other people to make a difference, too."
More information about Any Soldier Inc. is posted on the
organization's Web site.