Imagine you are a soldier wounded in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. Thanks to unprecedented efforts by the Army to save the lives of wounded soldiers, you stand an excellent chance of surviving just about any wounds. From self aid and buddy aid, Combat Lifesaver aid, Army medics, new technologies in shock/trauma care and rapid medevac by helicopter air ambulance, and dedicated C-17 flying hospital aircraft, all that can humanly be done will focus on getting you to an in-theater hospital to stabilize you and then evacuate you to a regional medical hospital, usually Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany, where you can receive definitive treatment.
So far, so good. But for better or worse, a soldier’s platoon is both his “home” and his alternative family. Many a soldier has been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and woken up in Landstuhl AMC. Somewhere along the line, from the battlefield to the hospital, our wounded warrior was stripped naked, and everything he owns has either been discarded, or is still back in theater. He doesn’t have so much as a toothbrush or a change of underwear. Hell, he doesn’t have any underwear to change out of. As emotionally traumatic as being wounded might be, finding yourself in a strange environment with little in the way of personal possessions and even lacking a pair of pants for the sake of personal dignity is even worse. Sure, eventually, the wheels of the Army will turn, and your possessions will catch up with you. But these things take time.
Into this breach has stepped a remarkable organization. Soldiers’ Angels. A volunteer based non-profit, SA has made it their mission that “no soldier goes unloved.” One of their projects is the First Response Backpack. A simple backpack stuffed with some toiletries, some loose, comfortable sleepwear/sweats, maybe a few goodies, and a nice, warm blanket. Many is the soldier who has been torn from his friends to find that someone cares enough about him to make sure he had enough comfort items to get through the first few days. Go read the thank-you notes at the links. I challenge you to read them and not tear up.
Soldiers’ Angels provides many more ways to show your support of Americans in the service. This just happens to be my particular favorite. I was reminded of this yesterday. I was at the Orange County Scottishfest. Soldiers’ Angels had a booth there showing what they did for our troops, and of course, raising funds to continue doing it.
The wonderful ladies there weren’t necessarily the mothers of soldiers. They just felt it was important work, and they should be the ones to step up and do it. And God bless ‘em for it.
Tomorrow is the day that we as a nation remember those who gave their lives on our behalf. Today, let’s take a moment to help out those who’s sacrifice is only slightly less. Give a little, won’t you?
Crossposted at my place.