This past weekend Forward Operating Base Keating and Command Outpost Warheit in Nuristan came under attack in a pre-dawn raid. Located in a remote area, and surrounded on all sides by mountains, the siege took the lives of eight American Soldiers, and two Afghan Nationals. Evacuations were made via airlift. This is the worst attack on a NATO base and has forever shaped the lives of those who survived. Both the base and outpost were destroyed. In addition to losing their friends and fellow warriors, those left behind have lost both their professional and personal possessions.
What few realize is that soldiers and their families spend a great deal of money on small items such as iPods, portable DVD players, laptops, and numerous other items that help take the stress off during a time of war. These are the touchstones that remind them of home and are a source of comfort. In addition, extra socks and underwear, shoes, an extra pair of boots are usually items paid for out of pocket. The devastation was so complete that one soldier was overhead to remark, "no one back home even know, no one gives a shit."
To counter this, The American Legion is raising funds to help the soldiers of Bravo Troop 361 Cavalry. This effort, kicked off yesterday, on the Legion's blog, The Burn Pit. Due to efforts of many MilBloggers, within fifteen hours, they raised $8,000 to purchase all of the soldiers' necessities . These will go directly to the Command Sargent Major. But the Legion would like to double this amount with the additional goal of replacing personal belongings that were also destroyed .
Mark Seavey, New Media Manager of The American Legion, writes:
We need to raise another $8,800. With the additional funds the American Legion will buy 56 iPod Touches with 32 gigs, which we will have preloaded with 10 movies, 4 audio books, 1,000 songs and a game. We also received a generous donation of new X-Box 360 units, and would like to purchase games to go with them.
The Legion has set up a website for online donation. COP Keating Relief Fund
The form may be printed, and checks may be made and sent to:
COP Keating Relief Fund
The American Legion
PO Box 1954
Indianapolis IN 46206