CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Deployed service members can feel extremely far away from family and friends back in the U.S.
Actually, they are roughly 7,700 miles away, but that distance is easily traveled by an e-mail or a phone call, which are available at the various forward operating bases for every service member serving in Iraq.
Service members can reach home in a multitude of ways, including satellite phone, phone centers, computers, and good-old-fashioned letter writing.
Computers are the most commonly used service to reach home, said Rachel M. Madson, a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation coordinator at the Camp Fallujah Internet Café. The facility, which also serves as the camp library, reopened June 3.
“They mostly use e-mail and MySpace,” Madson said of the Marines who frequent the multimedia library, which offers Spaware phones to call home with, video game systems to play, and has four big-screen TVs for watching movies, as well as the computers and books that most libraries offer.
“(Service members) prefer e-mail and MySpace because they can leave messages, and people don’t have to be home or awake to receive messages,” said Madson.
Leaving messages is one way for service members to keep in touch with loved ones.
“With my unit, I get to use the satellite phone, like once or twice a month,” said Pfc. Marco A. Ramos, with Combat Logistic Battalion 5.
Ramos is also of big fan of using computers to keep up with his hobbies.
“I check out motocross and keep in touch with friends back home,” said Ramos.
Some service members make in a priority to call family and friends regularly or whenever possible.
“I get on the phone about once a week, usually with my mother,” said Army Spc. Teri L. Loftus, a psychological operations specialist with the 9th Psychological Operations battalion.
Some service members still do it the “old-fashioned way” and write letters – they are more tangible. Family or friends can touch, hold, and reread letters whenever they like.
By using these methods, service members can get a hold of friends and family while on deployments.
“It keeps morale up, and gets them out of the war zone mindset, which makes it easier for them to re-integrate when they get back home,” Madson said.
Military organizations are doing their part to look out for its service members, and make sure the methods to reach their families are easily accessible, wherever they may be.
“It’s pretty easy to keep in touch with home,” said Loftus, “I’m really totally satisfied.”
From letter writing to satellite phone calls, all methods are readily available for any service member on any base, as phone centers and post office boxes are a staple on any post, whether you are deployed away from the states, or just stationed far away from home.