FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Operation Lethal Eagle II is officially underway, and Soldiers assigned to 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are helping Families support their loved ones by delivering care packages for free through May 6.
The Sustainers are carrying out Operation Eagle Delivery II to boost morale as the division spends the next three weeks in the installation’s rear training area. Families can visit the 101st Airborne Division Military Post Office 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays to drop off packages or letters.
“This allows our Soldiers to have that opportunity to get a taste of home or an encouraging note to lift their spirits,” said Lt. Col. Robert Gray, commander, 101st STB. “It’s always been nice to get something from my Family while I’m out there forward deployed, and this is a similar type of situation. We’re out there for 21 days and there’s not a lot of communication back and forth to the homefront.”
Gray said the operation also works to train his Soldiers, who are tasked with conducting postal operations for the division while on deployment.
“It’s as close as we can get to what they would experience in a deployed environment,” he said. “When we did this last year, we moved about 2,000 packages in that three-week time ... we were able to move mail on the ground via convoy, and we also did two sling loads and had a great partnership with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. It was a great opportunity for my Soldiers to move some items and understand how air assault operations work.”
Staff Sergeant Krystal Hamilton, noncommissioned officer in charge, 101st STB, said last year’s operation provided growth opportunities for every Soldier involved.
“The Soldiers loved it,” Hamilton said. “It gave them a purpose, and they actually felt like they had something to do. For me, I saw another side of postal operations that I hadn’t before, because when you’re deployed you only deal with the Soldiers. This time around I got to see the enjoyment among the children and Families.”
She hopes to see at least twice as many care packages delivered this year, and said children and Families have plenty of options when it comes to filling them.
“Whether it’s snacks, extra military gear, a card from their Family or drawings from the kids, this is about giving back to the Soldiers,” Hamilton said. “It boosts morale and helps them to know that somebody’s thinking of them.”
Families can expect their care packages to arrive in the field within approximately 72 hours, or 96 hours if their Soldier is training outside the installation. Gray said properly addressing each package and making sure not to include any prohibited items will speed up the delivery process.
“You can’t send out any live plants, fruits, alcohol, ammo – the typical items you can’t send through a normal post office,” he said. “Soldiers and Families can come drop it off, they’ll go through the inspection route like we’d normally do at a post office forward deployed, and then they’ll seal it up and get it out that day whenever the next mail run goes.”
Hamilton said approximately 16 Soldiers will spend the division training density on mail runs, while she and two others will manage the 101st Airborne Division Military Post Office.
No matter what their role in the process is, she said Operation Eagle Delivery II is an exciting time for Soldiers and Families alike.
“We have a lot of Soldiers who will be receiving this training for the first time, and I love that,” Hamilton said. “As an NCO my job is to train my Soldiers, and there’s no better opportunity than what we’re doing right now.”