1123rd Transportation Company headed for Middle East

Thursday, April 3, 2003

The Arkansas National Guard 1123rd Transportation Company currently stationed at Ft. Polk, La., will leave Thursday, April 10 on a flight to the Middle East, sources told the Tribune earlier this week. The166 soldiers were deployed on February 13 from the Marked Tree National Guard Armory.

Specialist Cherice Crawford, of the 1123rd, said that care packages should be held until the troops reach their destination, and have an overseas address. If packages are mailed for the troops now, they may miss them either place, Crawford said.

Items sent to the troops internationally may be mailed at U.S. postal rates, and soldiers sending mail to the states will not have to pay any postage. The Military Postal Service sent out a reminder that all mail must be addressed to an individual or job title and mail addressed to "Any Servicemember" or similar wording such as "Any Soldier," "Sailor," Airman," "Marine" or "Military Mail," is prohibited. This precaution has been taken because officials feel they created an avenue to introduce biological, chemical or explosive materials into the military mail system, putting people in danger.

Postal officials recommend that people be as prudent with their APO addresses as possible, limiting where they post their address and to whom they hand it out.

While the military is emphasizing that people keep a short leash on addresses, officials recognize that the American public wants to show support for its troops. Fortunately, there are avenues where people can do just that without jeopardizing their security.

"First, they've got the electronic any servicemember' programs," an official said. "Also, you can support the United Services Organization and the Red Cross. Both organizations go overseas to help and support the troops. You can also help by supporting the various aid societies."

Several groups in the Tri-City area have been collecting items for care packages for the 1123rd Transportation Company. Cindy Hood, wife of 1123rd Company member Roger Hood, said that donations for the troops may be made at the Lepanto Wee Care, Roach's Grocery, the Floral Gallery and the Lepanto First Baptist Church. Items from those drop-off sites will be collected and sent to the troops later this month, said Hood. Some of the most requested items include baby wipes, phone cards, beef jerky, American-made toilet paper, foot powder, chapstick and razors. Hood also said that she would be glad to pick up any items, if needed. Interested persons may contact her at 870-475-3469 or 870-475-3092.

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