When the loneliness and uncertainties of the Persian Gulf
War caught up with a group of 4th Bn., 8th Cav. tankers, a bundle
of Any Soldier mail was close behind.
The Delta Co. tankers were thankful for the letters not only
because of the desire to read mail, but because of the inspiration
the letters cultivated.
Thirty-year-old Warren Jones, a sergeant who serves as gunner
on an.MlAl Main Battle Tank, pins the strength he found for the
ground war on a poem about the soldier. The poem, sent by a supporter
who left no return address, identified the pain and suffering
a soldier must endure, as well as the boredom, excitement and
terror each soldier must face. The poem, which was too lengthy
for publication, also addressed the honor involved in being a
'When I had my doubts, I'd read it. When I was down, I'd read
it. I felt every bit of it."
Jones pointed out that the poem was meant for any soldier. And
he zeroed in on one aspect that made him feel especially proud
about his role not only as a tanker, but as a black soldier in
the U.S. Army. "I've always been hurt by the myth of the
unpatriotic black man. All we ever wanted was a piece of the
pie. But the poem put everything into perspective." With
the poem, Jones felt assured that a soldier is a soldier in spite
of race, color or religion.
Jones, who calls Panama City, Fla., his home outside of the Army,
said that the poem will have an everlasting place in his home.
"When I get home, I'm going to put it on a plaque and put
it on the wall."
He was also thankful for the mail from a number of school children
from across the United States. Some sent posters, while others
simply mailed words of encouragement. One child, by the name
of Jennifer, just wanted to send her regards. Not knowing many
details of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait or about the meaning of
the yellow ribbons throughout the U.S. didn't stop Jennifer from
"The letters represent a bright future for the children.
If coming over here is what it takes to keep our kids free, then
that's what it takes."
Private First Class David Wade, a 20-year-old from Bucksport,
Maine, kept busy during the long hours of waiting for something
to happen. He responded to about 25 letters, getting return mail
in the process.
"Unfortunately, it was harder to respond once we moved."
But he still received a birthday card and a care package from
a few of his pen pals.
"They don't realize how much it meant to the soldiers to
take the time to write."
For Pfc. Harrell Donald, a 19-year-old ammo loader from New Orleans,
the mail carried inspirational words, ones that told him not
to be afraid in the face of danger. He also received a great
deal of mail from children who wanted to know everything about
the soldier, as well as the individual inside the uniform.
"The one that stands out came from a 7th-grader named Audrey
Strub of Gordon City, Texas," Donald said. The two have
made plans to meet face-to-face once Donald returns to the United
Jones said that the tankers from Delta fought among the letters.
As a result of that competition, some found prayers or poems
to cling to, while others struck up some new friends. With large
blocks of time on their hands, the tankers were gratified to
have something in them to read. But the bottom line is that these
tankers were happy to fill the boots of Any Soldier.