Postcards for Marines Overseas
By Sgt John Neal
| | December 21, 2001
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. --
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- The Marines at the 1st Marine Corps District headquarters here are doing what their part in supporting their fellow Leathernecks deployed to Afghanistan ... and they've enlisted the help of professional athletes and celebrities to do it.
Armed with telephones and hard-sought lists of phone numbers and names, the Marines of the 1st Marine Corps District's public affairs office asked teams in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League to participate in Operation Postcard. What originally started out as a local campaign to get professional teams in the New York/New Jersey area to sign messages of support on postcards for Marines with the 15th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units deployed to Afghanistan, quickly turned into a National affair as the Marines recruited the help of professional teams across the Nation and members of the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.
The postcards are replicas of World War I Marine Corps recruiting posters. Additionally, retired Colonel Charles Waterhouse, the only artist-in-residence in the Marine Corps, donated 1,000 Christmas cards that depict his painting of "Marines Keep Watch in Desert Shield Operations."
The reaction from the pro teams and SAG has been incredibly positive. Leading sports figures from Yankees manager Joe Torre to Rams running back Marshall Faulk and actors and performers from Elliott Gould of the newly released Ocean's 11 to Jon Bon Jovi have taken the time sign cards for America's Marines.
The ultimate goal of Operation Postcard was to provide the Marines deployed to Afghanistan with support from the home front. With the threat on anthrax in the mail, the Department of Defense cancelled the "Any Servicemember" and "Operation Dear Abby" mail programs that normally provide Americans the opportunity to express their thanks and holiday greetings to service members overseas.
But a secondary objective was also achieved. The 1st Marine Corps District public affairs office plans to make their newly established points of contact and relationships available to Marketing and Public Affairs representatives at recruiting stations across the Nation, thereby opening doors for them and the recruiting mission.
Whether it is to help keep the morale up for Marines in Afghanistan or provide points of contact for Marines in the public affairs field, the tradition of Marines helping Marines is held true during Operation Postcard.