Carrier Takes Kin Under Its WingAboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, it was a Bingo night much like any Bingo night back home. But the players remembered where they were. Proceeds went to families of three fliers who failed to return from raids on Iraq.
Petty Officer John Campbell, of Laramie, Wyo., who never knew the lost aviators, dug deeply for a fund to help educate the missing fliers' four children.
"We're a big family," he said of the 6,500 men aboard the Roosevelt and of the Navy. "I'd like to think that if something happened to me, someone would step in to help."
Within days after two of the carrier's aircraft disappeared, the fund reached $8,000, said Lt. Cmdr. Tom Hammon, who organized the collection.
"It was something to see, a petty officer 3rd class walking in with $20 bills still warm from the cash machine, giving two weeks' pay to kids of men he'd never met," said Hammon, of Baytown, Tex.
"The guy just handed me the money and tried to walk away before I could shake his hand," Hammon said. "That's the kind of people we have here." Thinking of You
Standing in a large, U.S.-run post exchange store four days before Valentine's Day, Pfc. Lydell Brown said he's pretty choosy when it comes to finding a card for his fiancee.
"It'll probably take me 10 minutes to pick one out," said Brown, 23, an Army mechanic from Flint, Mich. "The trick is to read as many as I have to until I find one that sounds like something I'd say myself."
Brown said he's already received two cards from his bride-to-be, and that he expects to get more. The fact that his card would arrive several weeks late wouldn't bother her, he added.
"She's a very understanding lady," said Brown, who still hopes to be home for his June wedding. "I've been pretty busy fixing trucks and standing guard duty."
If sales mean anything, Brown's card won't be the only one to arrive late in the States. Pat Cleveland, the exchange's manager, said card sales began increasing in early February, although they had been on the shelves since December. Serving With Relish
At least one British officer has refused to go to war without his Fortnum and Mason hamper.
Lt. Henry Sugden, 24, has lashed his basket of goodies from the London food store for the royal, rich and famous to the side of his armored car. He had it sent from his home in London.
Sugden says he worries that its contents of smoked oysters, after-dinner chocolates and Gentleman's Relish savory paste will be exposed to Iraqi fire -- if fellow officers don't get it first.