Vol. 18, No. 9 May 5 - 18, 2005


Guard Troop Footlockers Said To Be on Way


After a long delay, footlockers containing personal and military supplies belonging to members of the Army National Guard’s 145th Maintenance Company are said to be on their way to Iraq, after several local officials joined the letter-writing campaign started by Norwood resident Vivian Hernandez.

As the Norwood News recently reported, Hernandez began her letter-writing campaign after receiving e-mails from a relative in the unit, currently stationed at the Tallil Air Base in Iraq.
Members departed the Kingsbridge Armory with footlockers in tow and headed to Ft. Benning in Georgia for extensive training.

Members then headed to Kuwait on Jan. 7, and were promised that the lockers, some containing important supplies like steel-toed boots, safety goggles and hearing protection, would arrive in March.

After reading about the problem in the Norwood News, Congressman Jose Serrano sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Serrano wrote that members were “experiencing equipment deficiencies as they await the arrival of footlockers containing mission-critical equipment.”

Serrano, who represents the district the armory is in, added, “As the 145th is currently contributing to the often hazardous mission of providing security for the reconstruction effort, I believe that ensuring the speedy delivery of these footlockers would be a relatively small undertaking that would greatly bolster the safety and morale of these troops.”

In his own letter to Rumsfeld, Congressman Eliot Engel wrote: “I urge you to make immediate arrangements to send these footlockers to the troops. There have been reports of U.S. soldiers lacking lifesaving protective equipment in Iraq since the start of the war, and it is disturbing that such supplies, whether military or personal items, would be sitting in Georgia when they should be with the New York National Guard unit in Iraq.”

Congressman Joseph Crowley also wrote to the Defense Department and the National Guard, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki.

A member of the unit, contacted through the Internet, explained how leaders of the battalion were upset that soldiers printed out 100 copies of the Norwood News article and distributed them all over the camp.

The source wrote: “Everyone here is thrilled that we are finally getting our footlockers. They are scheduled to be here in two weeks,” adding that a convoy has already been set up to retrieve the lockers when they arrive. The contact also stated that a chief warrant officer had said, “It was because of the letters that we are getting the footlockers.”

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