His name's Ron. He's forty-three, married, Baptist. Got a kid. Coached softball and basketball back home. Considers himself lucky among the soldiers in Iraq because he works in a command center- means he has a crack at computers and the Net every so often. Says it gets up to 140 degrees where he is, but they've got air conditioning in the tents, so when drinking water gets delivered they have to bring it inside to cool off before anyone can drink it. Just recently got a laundry facility, so they don't have to wash their (long sleeved) uniforms by hand every night any more.
Says they've got a lot of toiletries and such, since people ship 'em a lot, so the unit chaplain distributes them from a central point. What they could really use are books- that was first on his list- magazines, CD's, DVD's, cookies, and snack food like spray cheese and crackers. I'm not kidding, he specifically said 'cheese spray spread'. Not sure if those cans would LAST in 140-degree heat... The crackers and cookies would really have to be store-bought; the soldiers are under orders not to accept anything homemade unless it's from someone they know and trust.
Oh, and the CD's? He says most of the guys in his unit go for country music. This is not really a surprise, given that country's really the most popular genre in the US, but it presents a small problem for folks like myself. I know jack about country music beyond the big-name classics... ah, well. I'll figure something out when I get the chance.
Will see what I can assemble this week / weekend.