• Spc. Bounthanh Luanevinakho, a signal support systems specialist from Johnson City, N.Y., holds up some gifts from a package he received. (Courtesy photo)

    Spc. Bounthanh Luanevinakho, a signal support...

    Spc. Bounthanh Luanevinakho, a signal support systems specialist from Johnson City, N.Y., holds up some gifts from a package he received. (Courtesy photo)

  • Sgt. Kimberly Gray, from Lexington, Ky., poses with a delivery in the mail room for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (Courtesy photo)

    Sgt. Kimberly Gray, from Lexington, Ky., poses...

    Sgt. Kimberly Gray, from Lexington, Ky., poses with a delivery in the mail room for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). (Courtesy photo)

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Soldiers of the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Steven S. Debusk from Elkton, Md., at Contingency Operating Base Speicher say receiving mail is a morale booster.

Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq receive packages from many groups like Soldier's Angels, Treats for Troops, as well as Anysoldier.com, to name a few. The mail sent to Soldiers range from thank you cards and letters to toiletry items and snacks, giving Soldiers a small taste of home while deployed.

"I receive about two care packages and several letters a month. They come from Soldier's Angels, family, and friends from back home," said Spc. Juliette Kalusa, a human resource specialist from Lansing, Mich. "It is always nice to get care packages and letters from people back home. When I receive a package, I open it at work and share with the other Soldiers."

By sharing items received, Soldiers like Kalusa help to boost morale in their section and within the unit.

"During the time of deployment I have received many care packages, letters and other types of mail. These items have been sent to me as often as every couple of weeks, and I am always happy to receive them from those who sent them to me," said Spc. Bounthanh Luanevinakho, a signal support systems specialist from Johnson City, N.Y.

Kalusa also enjoyed receiving cards that thank or encourage her.

"When I receive a card I will hang it up in my room and read it again from time to time," Kalusa said.

Both Soldiers agree that hearing from home is always a highlight.

"I also receive letters and cards from family and friends. I especially appreciate the letters because it's nice to hear about what is going on back home even if it is just about regular day to day activities," Kalusa said. "It makes me feel like I am not missing out on anything while I am here."

Luanevinakho is equally concerned with what is going on at home, especially with his wife.

"When I receive the letters from my wife I always get excited to read them and see what she has to tell me about what is going on with her and how she is doing," he said.

Even though the Soldiers of HHC, 264th CSSB are near the end of their twelve month deployment, getting mail is still a highlight, regardless of the item.

Receiving mail serves as encouragement to Luanevinakho. He believes that it helps others as well.

"I always look forward to the next day and the next time I receive a package, letter, or anything that is in the mail for me," Luanevinakho said. "I know if getting mail makes me happy, every other Soldier in the unit must feel the same way."

Page last updated Tue February 16th, 2010 at 20:16