American Forces Press Service
March 20, 2009 - Special operations troops here delivered gifts from Americans to Afghans that some say are as important as their combat missions. "We are in Afghanistan to rebuild the country and, in my opinion, we need more than bombs and bullets," said Air Force Col. Victor Kuchar, who flew here from Washington, D.C., to oversee the delivery. "We need blankets, clothes and textbooks. So many wonderful, caring and loving Americans from kindergarten age to senior citizens want to help us with this."
Kuchar is from the Air Force Directorate of Intelligence headquarters, which collected and shipped the goods here. He accompanied troops from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan who delivered the gifts March 15 to a primary school near Bagram Airfield. The troops dropped in to present the children with clothing, toys and school supplies.
"Ours is an enduring relationship established in 2002 ... our rotations have occurred back-to-back with a sister unit, allowing us to maintain our friendship with the school since then," said Army Lt. Col. Ken Watson, support battalion commander for CJSOTF-A.
"My relationship here is to try to get the supply side to the demand side. There are a lot of pieces in that dotted line, from the American home to the kids' feet over here," Kuchar said.
Kuchar literally jumped right into the distribution of care items, going neck-deep into a giant box of toys and stuffed animals. Hundreds of tiny hands surrounded the colonel as he passed out furry friends and playthings of all shapes and sizes.
Other troops manned the boxes of clothing and shoes, lining up children and holding shirts and pants up to determine correct sizes. Many young boys gathered up tiny pink and purple outfits, telling nearby interpreters the clothes were for their baby sisters at home.
The extended outreach of the CJSOTF-A troops will ensure the items facilitated by Kuchar and his team will reach not just the Bagram school, but also the tiniest village in the farthest corner of Afghanistan.
"We are in touch with the people across Afghanistan because we've got multiple firebases," Watson said. "We're everywhere. We are able to touch the people and distribute right down to the smallest village in the country."
(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)