CAMP ARIFJAN, Afghanistan - Operation Troop Appreciation sent soldiers of the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, over 250 care packages to welcome them as they start their deployment.
The Pittsburgh based organization has been in operation for eight years, supporting troops throughout the Middle East and Africa, by sending more than 100,000 packages to military members of all branches. Packages contain everything from hygiene items and snacks to OTA t-shirts and tactical gear.
“Normally the units we support come to us, contacting us through our website to let us know their wish list requests,” said Kristen Holloway Querriera, the founder of OTA and wife of Capt. Charles Querriera who is deployed as a 316th inspector general.
Being a Pittsburgh based organization and having many contacts inside the unit, the OTA wanted to do something for the troops of the 316th when they first arrived in Kuwait to let them know we are thinking of them and supporting them, said Querriera. “We actually sought you [the 316th] out, instead of the other way around.”
Items were donated through many means including churches, schools, companies and individuals, Querriera added.
Soldiers from the 316th were very appreciative of the care packages. Col. Bruce Hackett, a Pittsburgh resident and the 316th deputy commanding officer said, “On behalf of Brig. Gen. Jameson and the soldiers of the 316th ESC, I’d personally like to thank Kristen Querriera, Operation Troop Appreciation and the Boy Scouts of America for their tremendous kindness and generosity for the wonderful care packages we received,” adding. “I was a recipient of the great support afforded my battalion when OTA first got started in 2004. They have not wavered in their cause and their continued acts of kindness keeps us connected to our loved ones and thoughtful friends supporting us from home. Thank you all for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We truly appreciate your undying support.”
Spc. Jacy Mozingo, a resident of Ambridge, Pa. and member of the 316th command group, said, “This was a very nice gesture, it was nice of them to send packages to us and to know they are thinking about us.”
“I think these are great,” said Sgt. John Howe, a resident of Carnegie, Pa. and member of the 316th. “I’m always thankful when family, friends and supporters back home think of us.”
For more information on Operation Troop Appreciation please go to http://www.operationtroopappreciation.org.