KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan-- When students open their history books twenty years from now they will undoubtedly read about many popular military operations currently taking place across Iraq and Afghanistan. They probably won’t read about a very popular operation among the U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment.
The delicious and chocolaty cream filled mission is called ‘Operation Oreo® Cookie.'
During this operation, the deployed soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division received a large shipment of Oreo® cookies, compliments of a church group based in Alpharetta, Ga.
The soldiers were overwhelmed with joy as the more than thirty cases of Oreo® cookies were shipped to and unloaded at Strong Point Tarnak earlier this year. The soldiers contributed the success of the dessert-based operation to the supportive and grateful Americans who they fight to defend.
The program itself was born into fruition by a chance encounter. In 2009, the Senior Minister of Alpharetta 1st United Methodist Church, Dr. Don Martin, was on an airplane and met a young serviceman who was returning from 18 months duty in Iraq. When asked what he missed most while away, the young soldier immediately replied “Oreos®, Double Stuffed!”
Martin promised him that his church would make sure all his buddies in Iraq would be showered in Oreos®.
For the last 3 years, the church has collected Oreos® during the annual Patriotic Sunday in honor of the men and women who serve this great nation.
A local newspaper published a story which spurred the Alpharetta community groups to take up collections of Oreos® and funds to cover shipping costs. The Oreos® began pouring in, and now it is a tradition that the church anticipates every 4th of July.
Mary Ann Gilbert met Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota at a 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment annual reunion she attended with her husband. Leota agreed to be her contact in Iraq that first year to distribute the Oreos®. In 2009, Alpharetta Methodist shipped over 1,400 packages of Oreos® to Diyala province, Iraq just north of Baghdad. In 2010, the Oreos® were sent to the Marines in Afghanistan and this year to the U.S. Army soldiers at Strong Point Tarnak in Afghanistan.
Authorized programs like these are an exception to the Joint Ethics Regulation’s gift policy and provide an unexpected one from Operation Oreo® Cookie. The soldiers of the battalion were reminded that they continue to be supported by Americans back home as the soldiers were given a gift of Oreos® and perhaps a midnight snack.
For photos related to this story see the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division FLICKR page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/1-25_sbct/sets/72157627838177078/with/6220331026/
|Date Posted:||10.30.2011 11:58|
|Location:||KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AF|
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