Letters, packages mean a lot to deployed Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman Alexis Siekert
  • 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs
A deployment can be a lonely time in an Airman's life, but a long-distance connection can make a big difference.

Letters from home and care packages during this time can make a servicemember's day, said two 902nd Security Forces Squadron Airmen who returned in August from a deployment to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

"They really make you feel appreciated," Airman 1st Class Jeremy Cross said.

He said he remembers receiving seven big boxes near the middle of their seven-month deployment, from local churches offering their thanks to those serving overseas.

"A lot of the packages we received were mostly made up of toiletries like toothbrushes and toothpaste, sweets, including candy and baked goods, and little games and stuff to entertain us in our downtime," Airman 1st Class Jonathan Ruyle said.

"When you're deployed, those little things really mean a lot," he said. "After a while, you start wondering if people back home are thinking about you, so it feels really nice when you get something that lets you know they didn't forget you."

Most of the Airmen received something from home once or twice a month, with at least one Airman getting something from a church almost every week, Airman Ruyle said.

Anything extra the Airmen were given, or things they wanted to share, they put in the morale room, which held chips, cookies and other items that were free to anyone who needed a morale boost or a snack, he said.

Being away from home is challenging, and it really makes a person appreciate the luxuries of being home, Airman Ruyle said.

"I really missed my family, freedom and privacy," he said. "We really take a lot for granted here, so when we would get things from the states, it helped us focus on our task at hand. The support made all the difference in the world. No matter what we were given we were so appreciative."

In mid-October, members of the 902nd SFS put together care packages for two of their deployed Airmen.

"We got to suggest things we would have wanted, and things we liked in our care packages while deployed," Airman Cross said. "Beef jerky and other snacks are always good."

To the Airmen deployed now during the holiday season, "I would just like to say keep your heads up," Airman Ruyle said. "With you being deployed now, you are allowing the rest of us to spend the holidays with our loved ones, and you are protecting what we stand for. You should be proud and I thank you."