Posted April 17, 2014on:
After 4 years and 11 months, I got word a few weeks back that we won’t be able to continue our support operation.
Over the last year, fabric was harder to come by since the mill wasn’t being contracted to make so much ACU for the Army. And now, with the proposed force drawdown and federal defense budget cuts, well, that spelled the end for us.
For those who have followed us, I have a few facts for you.
Since February 2009, when my soldier deployed to the Kunar province for a 12 month tour, working together, our volunteers made a grand total of 18,888 field pillows for American combat troops, sent to 18 different Afghanistan provinces.
If you lined up all the pillows end to end, they would stretch across the center of 62 football fields (with a few yards left over).
To all the wonderful volunteers, those who showed up and stayed the course, the ones who stopped by my house for help packing boxes for their adopted troops, those who reached in and dropped a little something in the basket at the sew-ins, folks who dropped my house constantly to pick up or drop off cut fabric or sewn pillows to be turned and stuffed, folks who helped load up my minivan with bags of finished field pillows to be packed and shipped, folks with different commands, battalions and brigades around the country who helped me coordinate where to ship the boxes, organizations and individuals who generously donated their money to help fund our project, bravo zulu to you all for a job well done.
Our mission: to support American combat troops by making and shipping small camouflage pillows, suitable for use in garrison or in the field.
Weight of stuffing used: 4,722 pounds, costing nearly $4,500
Weight of pillows packed in boxes: 8,268 pounds; price to ship: nearly $8,500
The pride we all felt working to support our troops: priceless
Founder, Operation Pocket Field Pillow and
Proud parent of an American Soldier…signing off.
For our last sew-in at Beazley, we worked feverishly trying to get as many pillows completed and ready to ship as possible. The folks at the center even planned a lunch for us – and it was GREAT!
We heard through the grapevine that the 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley KS needed some travel pillows. We spread the word and had more than our usual share of volunteers.
One of my contacts with the FRG folks at FT Drum contacted a good friend of hers at another Army post, and those folks contacted me. The result: lots more field pillows.
Hundreds of ACU field pillows will be headed to troops in one of the outposts in a remote region of Afghanistan. It’s a rough sort of place (but in Afghanistan, where isn’t?); below you’ll see an aerial of what the area looks like (it’s a very, very cool picture)….you gotta love our Army 🙂
To our wonderful Marines; I apologize in advance, ACU is all we have. But please take one of our field pillows and use it, knowing that folks back home care about you and want you to come home.
May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.
With the outpouring of requests from folks who read Jennifer Caprioli’s article and passed it along to their Facebook friends, we have way more requests for our ACU field pillows than we have folks who work on them.
If you’ve offered to help, wonderful! If you’re local to the Tidewater area, or know someone who is, and would like to volunteer to help us make pillows, we’d love to have you. If you’ve emailed me and asked me to send pillows to your Soldier’s unit, judging from the requests, it may take us awhile for us to get to your troop.
If you’d like to begin your own pillow project, great! I’ve been telling folks to look for ACU fabric online; you won’t find it in any retail store. And there’s a good reason we choose the same ACU that our troops wear; it’s tough, strong, dense, and durable. That stuff wears like iron — and that’s just what our troops need.
Our field pillows are travel size, about 10″ x 12″. We use only premium polyfil by the Fairfield Processing Corporation; you can find it in any WalMart. Don’t even try to hand sew this stuff; save your hand sewing for the fleece pillows we send to Landstuhl. Just machine sew them shut after stuffing. Don’t even think about getting the cheap stuff; in this case, you most definably get what you pay for. A 50 oz. bag of stuffing will fill 18-20 of our pillows.
If you’re not sure about starting your own pillow project, but want to show your support, contact a chaplain at the nearest post, and ask how you can help. Contact your nearest USO, contact Soldiers’ Angels.
Speaking of which…
Do you know anyone who lives in Germany, near Landstuhl? My contact with Soldiers’ Angels there says they have a really hard time finding volunteers to help unpack boxes of goodies that have been sent for our wounded (including boxes of our pillows). If you know someone who lives near the hospital, and would be willing to become an Angel, please tell them to wander on over and sign up.
Our troops need all the Angels they can get.
Someone’s always doing something at my house with ACU; making strips into key chains, cutting pillows, stuffing, packing, writing out those pesky customs forms…
When Nick visited us on his way to FT Gordon for training, he brought his sweetheart (and my beautiful new daughter-in-law) Christine. No visit to our house is ever complete without a few fresh baked chocolate chips cookies — along with a little cutting or stuffing 🙂