Operation Iraqi Freedom correspondence
This letter was sent by U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Peter Paone during his deployment to Iraq in 2008. The four-page letter was mailed free of postage from this combat zone (shipped in envelope with museum ID 2011.2021.1). In the message to his son Tom, Panoe describes his new home in a camp outside Baghdad, the extreme weather conditions and the movements of the rest of his unit. He also asks after his son’s internship, and suggests several ways that he could be involved from Iraq. Letters such as this demonstrate the continued importance of mail to troop morale in modern warfare. Paone takes care to write out his new address clearly and asks his son to write soon.
The logistics of getting mail to service members in the Middle East is the responsiblity of the Military Postal Service Agency. Mail destined for Iraq is forwarded to New York from where it is flown to the International Airport at Bahrain. From there it is distributed by smaller cargo aircraft or convoys on an almost daily basis to major military bases around the Middle East where it is sorted and distributed by individual Military Post Offices.
16 SEPT. 08
GREETING FROM IRAQ.
FINALLY GOT TO MY NEW HOME. HOME FOR AT LEAST 3 MONTHS ANY HOW. THE CAMP IS CALLED CAMP ASHRAF AND I THINK SOMEONE SAID WE’RE ABOUT 60 MILES FROM BAGHDAD. THIS PLACE USED TO BE CALLED FOB GRIZZLY UNTIL WE GOT HERE. THIS PLACE IS REAL SMALL, YOU CAN JUST ABOUT THROW A ROCK AND HIT ANYTHING ON IT. UNFORTUNATELY THE IRAQIS HAVE ROCKS TOO. GOOD NEWS IS THATS ITS BEEN QUIET FOR 2-3 NOW. DON’T MIND A BIT.
MY NEW ADDRESS, TIL THE END OF THE YEAR ANYWAY IS.
CWZ PETER PAINE
519 TH MP BEN
APO AE 09391
MAIL IS SLOW GETTING HERE AND LEAVING FOR THAT MATTER. ONCE A WEEK THEY TAKE IT ON CONVOY TO BALAD WHERE ITS FLOWN OUT OF. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR FREE SERVICE.
I GUESS IM BAD LUCK ON THE ADVON. LAST TIME I GOT STUCK WAITING THREE MONTHS FOR THE MAIN BODY TO ARRIVE. ITS BEEN FIVE DAYS NOW THAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THEM TO ARRIVE NOW. RIGHT AFTER WE GOT HERE THE WEATHER CLOSED IN. THE DUST WAS SO THICK IN THE AIR THAT EVERYTHING HAD AN ORANGE TINT TO IT. LOOKED LIKE MARS OR SOME OTHER SCI FI SHIT.
LET ME KNOW WHATS HAPPENING WITH YOUR INTERNSHIP. IF YOU WANT SEND ME A FLAG AND I’LL SEND IT TO THEM FROM IRAQ, OR SOMETHING FROM THEM LIKE A LOEO OR SUCH AND I’LL TAKE A PICTURE AND EMAIL IT BACK TO YOU. NOTHING LIKE A GOOD SCAM TO GET THE HEART PUMPING.
HOPE YOU MAKE IT TO THE CABIN BEFORE THE WINTER. NOT SURE IF MOM CAN WINTERIZE IT. SHE HASN’T BEEN GOING UP SINCE I LEFT. AFTER BEING GONE THE 3 MONTHS IM LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK TO GREEN AND NOT FLAT. TAKE CARE, WRITE SOON