U.S. troops endure 130 degree heat, drink impure water, and subsist on less than one meal a day, according to the non-profit organization TroopsDirect.
Aaron Negherton, founder and president of the organization, discovered the alarming conditions when he sent a simple care package to a long-time friend stationed in Afghanistan. The friend, a USC Trojan and Marine Corps Captain, wrote back expressing his gratitude. He also thanked him on behalf of the 150 Marines under his command, with whom he had had to share the contents of the shoebox-sized package.
“It was then that I realized that there were thousands of service members on the front lines who were in desperate need of an ongoing supply of the essential staples that would keep them healthy, sharp, motivated…and alive,” Negherton writes on the organizations website.
Since then, Negherton and his team have been working to aid imperiled U.S. troops outside the wire, supplying bases in the most embattled and bloody regions of Afghanistan with food, clean water, medical supplies, and clothes.
“When our service members were drinking impure well water pumped out of the ground in 130 degree heat, TroopsDirect shipped over 50,000 units of hydrating drink powder,” they write. “When several units had no protein in their diets and were eating less than one meal a day, TroopsDirect was there with over 5 tons of nutritional supplements, energy bars and protein powder.”
The organization also reports broken power generators that go ignored for months, shortages of tooth paste and soap, and overall delays in shipping.
“One battalion was resorting to using bottle caps to mark where land mines were emplaced,” they write. “TroopsDirect was there with over 50 cases of chalk powder for marking these areas and saving American lives.”
Hopefully, TroopsDirect’s efforts will illuminate the lamentable conditions prevailing in many parts of the Afghan battlefield, and inspire others to assist the 68,000 troops stationed overseas. As 10,000 of them are expected to remain after the 2014 deadline, the organization may soon need some support themselves.