FORT DRUM - The 10th Mountain Division will undergo another deployment this fall, involving approximately 3,500 soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan.
The local chapter of the Association of the United States Army is looking for organizations, groups, and individuals to sponsor platoon(s) during their deployment period, which is about 12 months.
The primary responsibility of a sponsor is to provide a link to home for a deployed soldier. This includes sending things such as letters, e-mails, birthday and holiday cards, and small care packages when possible. The purpose is to let them know America cares and appreciates what they are doing.
Platoons can have anywhere from 10 to 30 soldiers and can be potentially connected to a particular platoon or type of platoon such as linking hospitals up with medical platoons and engineer platoons with engineering firms.
Prior to deploying, sponsors are invited to a link-up meeting on Fort Drum. This gives folks the opportunity to meet some of the soldiers in the platoon they are adopting prior to their deployment. Those not in the local area are able to connect via an electronic link up that can be arranged.
This is not a daunting task and the relationships established are said to make it well worth the effort.
Items needed or requested for soldiers include: travel-size hand sanitizer, baby wipes, Ziploc bags, toothpaste, tissues, eye drops, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, nuts, Lil' Smokeys sausages, gum, hard candy, paperback books, magazines, puzzles, games and video-taped TV shows.
Glass or homemade items as well as chocolate and other items that will melt cannot be sent.
For more information about the program, e-mail coordinator Mike Plummer at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to AUSA, P.O. Box 3 Watertown N.Y. 13601.