Homesick soldier initiates Easter Egg Hunt in garrison front yard
Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Letcher posing in front of the group of children, parents and teachers gathered for the Easter Egg Hunt in the park outside the gate of Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase, a site belonging to USAG Rheinland-Pfalz (Photo Credit: Oana Copaceanu) VIEW ORIGINAL

With Easter approaching, a homesick Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Letcher missed his family even more than usual. With his wife and daughters - Veronica, 17, and Lily, 12, they celebrate every holiday together. This year, a deployment separated them.

Letcher, a member of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, arrived at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, a site belonging to US Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz’s Army Support Activity-Black Sea, in November 2021. His unit is among other units assigned to V Corps, America’s forward deployed corps in Europe that works alongside NATO allies and regional security partners. Their operations on the eastern NATO flank are part of the effort to strengthen regional security.

Although he is away from his family on Easter, he wanted to share a part of American culture with the local Romanian community and put together a plan for an Easter Egg Hunt in the neighboring village.

“At the end of the day, the thing that unites us all, regardless of country, nationality, religion is that we are all parents; we all want to see our children happy,” Letcher said.

“At the end of the day, the thing that unites us all, regardless of country, nationality, religion is that we are all parents; we all want to see our children happy.” -- Letcher

Originally from Schertz, Texas, Letcher said he believes in giving back to the community he is part of, even when deployed. His involvement here has been no different. He is the self-proclaimed “voice of MK,” providing color commentary during a local soccer tournament and initiated setting up a karaoke night to help improve his soldiers’ morale.

He has also been volunteering on several projects the American Red Cross has on-site, receiving the Volunteer of the Quarter Award for his selfless service.

“He has provided opportunities for hundreds of service members here at MK,” said Tammie Pech, American Red Cross site lead. “We enjoy his warm, welcoming demeanor and he brings joy to those around him”.

So, helping to organize an Easter egg hunt came naturally, bringing US troops closer to the local Romanian community. He started by buying five boxes of plastic eggs (more than 200 of them) filled with toys. Then, he reached out to the ASA-Black Sea Public Affairs Office for assistance setting up the event.

Just one day before Orthodox Easter, 65 impatient children, parents, and school teachers gathered at a small park outside the base. They were all ready to dig up the hidden gems in plastic eggs placed by volunteers from the US Army, Royal Air Force, and Red Cross members.

The event was a big success. It included painting styrofoam eggs, building foam airplanes courtesy of the RAF, and a few sweet treats. Children enjoyed the activities planned for them while their parents and teachers interacted with the US and UK service members.

After the event, Letcher called his wife to share the cheer. They both agreed that children love the same things regardless of country or nationality.

“We’re Soldiers, but we’re all people,” said Letcher. “It’s priceless to see kids happy.”