Mail, with news fresh from HOME, is always appreciated by Marines on the FRONT line. Here, fourth graders from Miss Carrie Robert's class pitch in to show support, improve your morale and share some jokes such as why did the elephant paint his toe nails blue....you had to be there.
By NICOLE FENEBERG LUCHT
LAUGHLIN — Letter-writing may seem to be as contemporary as videocassette recorders or manual typewriters to some, but to U.S. troops deployed to Iraq, a simple letter could be the one thing to brighten the day.
And that is exactly what Carrie Roberts’ fourth grade class is doing. The young scribes at William G. Bennett Elementary School are writing to U.S. Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf region.
One of the Marines fortunate enough to be sent a greeting from home is Lance Cpl. Andrew James Witzel, 19, of Bullhead City; a Marine with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion attached to the 1st Marine Division.
His father, Bill Witzel, visited Roberts’ class Oct. 19, armed with a slide show and anecdotes from his son and fellow Marines.
Bill explained to the class what U.S. Marines do and the sort of training they undergo, living conditions and what is most often requested during the 20 minute satellite phone calls Andrew makes home.
Although Bill said Andrew cannot discuss the operations and missions he is involved in, he has described Iraq’s environment, saying the physical geography is similar to that of the Tri-state area, minus the mountains.
Bill said one of the most frequent requests he receives from his son are unscented baby wipes, toilet paper and cigarettes. Bill said the troops will often use these “valuable” items to trade amongst each other.
Bill said he just sent Andrew a large box of the needed goods.
The proud Marine’s father also fielded questions from the fourth graders, questions ranging from diet to haircut regulations to why Andrew joined the Marine Corps.
“(Andrew) absolutely worshiped his grandfather (Max M. Witzel) ... a World War II (Marine) dive-bomber in the Pacific,” Bill said.
Roberts said her 26 students wrote their first letters about four weeks ago and described the letters as entertaining stories about the students’ lives.
“For a moment in time, (the Marines) can laugh and smile,” Roberts said. “(The class) feels the power in what they are doing.”
The students wrote about friendships, asked questions and told knock-knock jokes, Roberts said. The students will begin composing their second set of letters soon.