The Foxhole: Staying in touch with service members

As our government builds up our military, and continues to deploy troops overseas, I want to share information on how we can all support them, directly or indirectly, whether we know someone deployed, or not.

Although I was not deployed to a war zone, I was stationed in (at that time) West Germany. I worked in a unit that was the liaison between the West German local and federal police, the military and customs/border units. Because I lived an hour from any formal military facilities, I lived in a two-room apartment in a barn on a dairy farm. It was a memorable experience. I made many wonderful friends, with whom I still maintain close relationships. However, I still missed home and family, as well as everyday “luxury” items.

Here is a sample list of items service/family members overseas love to receive from home. Different parts of the world have different availability of these items, so take that into account as well.

Entertainment: paperback books of all genres (except X-rated, of course), music DVDs/CDs of all genres, video games.

Technology: all types of cell phone chargers, portable DVD/CD players, AA/AAA-size batteries, laptop computers and accessories, prepaid phone/gift cards.

Personal hygiene, for war zones: toothbrushes, travel-size toothpaste, hand sanitizer, dental floss, tampons, mini/maxi pads, disposable razors (men/women), shaving cream, body/foot powder, shampoo, unscented baby wipes, eye/nose drops.

Food items, for war zones (no pork products, please): microwavable foods, jerky, bottles of hot sauce, small packages of nuts, pretzels, cookies, chips, crackers, fruit snacks, trail mix, energy/protein bars, powdered drinks (Kool-Aid, Gatorade, hot chocolate, tea bags, instant coffee), small packets of sugar/creamer, canned meats, spaghetti/ravioli, chili, soup, fruit.

Miscellaneous items: adhesive bandages, small tissue packs, anti-fungal cream, sunscreen, cotton swabs, all sizes of zipper plastic bags, blank writing paper/envelopes, pens/pencils, knit caps/mittens, gloves, hand/foot warmers.

Family members: books (including comic and puzzle) for children up to age 12, non-pornographic magazine subscriptions of all types (particularly entertainment), greeting cards/envelopes, adult puzzle (word and number) books, all holiday decorations.

These are a sampling of items that military and their families can never have enough of. What they cannot use personally will be given to someone who can use it. Nothing is wasted!

I would also urge anyone who is willing to write to someone deployed overseas and/or their family. There is nothing better than receiving mail when you are separated from loved ones (both service member and the family). Phone calls are fine, but a letter can be reread time and again.

If you know someone, personalize your care package to the individual/family. If you don’t know anyone, you may contact Tom Moore at American Legion Post 86 at and I will send you contact information.

Lastly, don’t forget those active-duty and veterans who are in Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals. If you want to stay local with your support, the VA hospital in West Haven is a short 45 minutes away. Contact them at for volunteer/donation opportunities.
Tom Moore
Adjutant, American Legion Post 86