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From Experience: Why Angels Matter

06/14/12

Sergeant Robert Griffin is studying at Kaplan University and jumped at the opportunity to share his experience of Soldiers' Angels with fellow honor society members.  Support from the Angels played such a vital role in his unit's mission during deployments that he wrote an article about it.  Entitled "Angels All Around Us," the article was published in Alpha Beta Kappa's Kaplan University Chapter newsletter.

A medic with three Iraq tours under his belt, SGT Griffin followed an interesting path to his current position.  He first enlisted in the Army in 1984 and left in 1991.  He joined the Navy Reserves in 1999, but found that after 9-11 he wanted to be more directly involved in fighting for his country, so he rejoined the Army in 2002 and found himself going through boot camp again at age 35. 

In 2003, SGT Griffin was part of the first wave into Iraq and returned for another deployment in 2005, where he was wounded by an IED.  He was able to recover and deploy again in 2008.  Today SGT Griffin is serving as a medical instructor in the Army while studying for his Bachelors in Emergency Management and maintaining a 3.7 GPA.  He expects to be promoted to staff sergeant, but his injuries have caused continuing problems and he will likely be medically retired in the near future.

Regardless of what his future holds, SGT Griffin can be sure of two things:  he will maintain contact with his Angels, and he will be a proud ambassador for Soldiers' Angels.

Here is his article, as published in the newsletter...

Success of a mission, both in peacetime and particularly in war, often comes down to the morale of the soldier. Military Leaders are taught the importance of morale within the unit. However, there are certain types of morale boosters that cannot be taught. In 2003, during my first tour of duty in Iraq, communication with family, friends and generally anyone back home was very seldom. A lack of correspondence with loved ones took its toll on many soldiers. Our unit was given a satellite phone soon after arriving, but the reception was poor and the phone was only available for a few minutes each month. A combat tour really makes you appreciate the importance of communication with the outside world during tough times.

During my second tour to Iraq I was handed a flier about Soldiers’ Angels. After reading their website I registered for a Soldiers’ Angel to contact me. Soldiers’ Angels is a volunteer nonprofit organization providing aid and comfort to the men and women in uniform and their families. Soldiers’ Angels works to identify soldiers in need of support and provide them with letters, care packages, and emotional support. About two weeks after registering I received my first letter and it felt really good to be appreciated.

After exchanging a couple of letters and care packages I decided this would be good for other soldiers. Upon request, Soldiers’ Angels gave me all the necessary guidance to assist other soldiers to enroll in this wonderful program. It was a great feeling when I saw other members of my unit start receiving their letters and packages. I was also able to get generic letters and packages sent to those soldiers who did not want a Soldiers’ Angel. The boost in morale was fantastic. During my third tour in Iraq, Soldiers’ Angels continued to assist the soldiers and helped me to supply and set up entertainment rooms with video games and other equipment for the soldiers.

Soldiers’ Angels were able and willing to fill a large void that is present when a soldier is deployed to an austere environment. I still keep in touch with my Soldiers’ Angel and will for a very long time. I would encourage everyone to become a Soldiers’ Angel and become a part of a lifelong friendship.

 



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