We get so many letters from the Troops I thought I would post a few of them here.
God Bless our Troops.
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LCpl Thorp MACS-1 DET A DATA Unit 42035
Apache Longbow national guard battalion out of Marana AZ
I was in your shop last Sat afternoon and wanted to thank you on the excellent recommendation of the Trano Tribute cigars.
You stated that you didn't have any military oriented photos from the local area. Attached are 5 photos from training at the Marine Corps Air Ground Training Center, 29 Palms CA. The first is a three photo series of 2 MK-82 bombs (500lbs) hitting a target. The fourth is of Marines engaging targets with .50 cal from a Hummer, and the final is the target being engaged. The red line to the right is the .50 cal tracers.
Thanks for your support.
Major Glen “Jute” Lewis
Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL)
SGT. Spatig pictures from Operation Enduring Freedom
I just wanted you to know that before deploying I did some shopping in your store and enjoyed professional service and a great quality of cigars. Since then I have had my girlfriend pick me up a few needed items and she also stated the high quality of employees and products. I figured I would forward you a couple of pictures of us enjoying a couple of your cigars while deployed. Thank you for the outstanding products and support that you provide us during such trying times. Semper Fidelis.
Here is a pic of me and a Navy Chief enjoying one of your smokes. Thanks again.
This is a picture of some of the smokers. Was not able to get all of them together. I sent the patch and the coin out today. If there is anything else you would like to send to us it. We would be thankful. Once again thank you for your cigars.
Dear Mr Byelick and the folks at MD Cigars,
MWSS 372 Fuels Section thanks you for your support.
CWO-2 Studer MS
Hello Michaelb and everyone at MD
Hey MD Cigars,
Thank you so much for the cigars! At the Marine Air Control Group 28 Headquarters, we take time each day to gather on the roof of our building to smoke, shoot the breeze, and take a break from the demands of the war. It’s a great way to unwind and build camaraderie among the staff that we thoroughly enjoy. I’ll pass these cigars out among the Marines as an invitation to join the crowd and hopefully create some business for you.
Thanks again and Semper Fidelis,
Major Bill Tiffany
Al Asad, Iraq
1st Battalion, 77 Armor
1st PLT 2nd / 108th
Dear MD Cigars,
HMM - 263
Dear Mr. Byelick,
Thank you very much for taking the time to send us the box of cigars and accessories out to us here in Iraq. It was a special treat for everyone when we received your care package and immediately distributed to all the guys here.
“Operation Freedom Smoke” was a project started by Courtney Lagenegger last year while deployed with me to Shaikh Isa, Bahrain. Her goal was to be able to offer a cigar to every one of our troops who were coming out of Iraq as a “victory” smoke. I flew the Marine KC-130 and she handed out the stogies. After watching all the smiles we put on our troops faces, we realized what a treat it was for these Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen to receive a small gift as easy as a cigar. In addition to being a symbol of success, it also meant to these troops that their job was done and they were going home.
Iraqi Freedom is now in its second year and our troops are out here working just as hard this year as they did last. Things are very different this time in that we are now living in Iraq and exposed, every day, to the insurgents attempts to disrupt our determination in making this a free country. In talking with Cortney, she asked if we could use some cigars again. Knowing how great it was last year, she knew exactly what the answer was going to be. Your care package is a continuation of Cortney’s effort and will be shared by all.
The base that I am now located at is called Al Taqaddum. It’s an airfield located right between Fullujah and Ramadi and is one of many bases that the Marine Corps is responsible for. We have several support commands here but the main focus is combat logistics and aviation. We work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with time off only to eat, shower and sleep. Recreation is very limited and alcohol is prohibited. This may all sound bleak, but there is hope and encouragement that carries us through our day. Part of that is knowing that this will all be over soon. The other is hope that each day will end without the loss of another American as we fight to make our world a better place for all to live.
Enclosed is a picture of the Marines that I passed some of the cigars out to. They are crew chiefs and aircraft mechanics from HMM-263. This unit alone has received 13 Purple Hearts in the last 2 months from injuries sustained while flying in combat here and from enemy mortar and rocket attacks on our camp. As you can see, they are a motivated and happy bunch of Marines because of the cigars that you sent to us.
Sir, thanks again for your generosity and sincere concern for our troops. Believe me when I say that it all counts and thanks to you, we now have a great way of ending our day!
Thomas F. Dietrich
Al Anbar Province, Iraq
(NOTE: the next dozen Pictures and captions taken by Col. Tommy D )
courtesy of operation freedom smoke which we participated in ~Michael~
This is from HMLA-367, call sign Scar face. They fly UH-1 Huey gun ships and AH-1 Cobras. This is some of the mechanics in the corner of a hangar (which they share as an office) doing an inspection on a Huey. These guys were thrilled to receive the stogies.
This is a shot of the famous HMM-263 Thunder Chickens. I was being briefed on how one of their CH-46's had some bullet holes in the rotor blades and that the bird would be down till they changed them out....Good enough for a cigar in my book. Note the home made buildings and sand bags...now that's aviation Marine style.
We watched a movie over at the surgical trauma tent hospital located here and I passed out the smokes. The Docs loved the stogies but I'm afraid the nurses didn't....too bad. What's with the beer you say, well it's non-alcoholic.
45 ton explosion of Iraqi unexploded ordnance being destroyed. Remember when I wrote about the big boom that go on here and that you never know if its a rocket attack on controlled det. Well this one rocked the whole camp. We call it the biggest cigar lighter in Iraq.
I went over and handed out some stogies to the Army 507th Air Ambulance MedEvac Detachment that was here for the last 2 weeks. They were helping us move injured personnel out of Fullujah and into our surgical hospital here at Al Taqaddum. They did a great job for us and so I wanted to make sure we thanked them proper way....with a stogie.
One of Many care packages sent!
Yesterday, I have to fly on a CH-46 from al Taqaddum to Al Asad. It was about a 40 minute flight at 300 feet with open windows for the 50 Cal guns. Well as soon as I got on board, I handed the pilots and crew members a stogie. They immediately gave me a thumbs up and went about their business. As we were flying, I looked up into the cockpit and the pilot had his in his mouth as he was flying the bird. Its one of those great moments in aviation, during a war, flying a helo at 300 feet with guns hanging out and a cigar in your mouth.
Tommy with a 50 Cal.
The picture of the day is from the Al Taqaddum air boss shop. I spend most of my time here and the Major pictured had the duty for the night so I tossed him a stogie then took his picture. Again, he thought it was great.
From left to right are Spc. Coloumbe, Sgt. Colby, Sgt. Randall, and Spc. Laflamme
These pictures were taken at LSA Anaconda in Balad after a mission to Tikrit. (And the one above)
Ron, you like a lean, mean, Fighting machine!
GySgt Brian Stilson, and a buddy kicking it in Iraq with some smokes
Vic Warner Kicking it in Tikrit with some buddies
Sgt Gamboa, IA
Dear MD Cigars:
First let me apologize for taking so long to get this thank you out. I am a platoon leader in C Company, 29th Signal Battalion, out of Ft. Lewis, WA. My soldiers and I want to sincerely thank you for the wonderful cigars and all that you are doing to support troops abroad. Attached you'll find a letter of appreciation from us and a picture of 2nd Platoon getting some sun and enjoying a good cigar. We have some unit coins on order, as soon as they arrive, I'll be sure to try and get one out to you. Thank you again, and God Bless America.
2LT Rob Harrison
Dear Mr. Byelick and MD Cigars,
Dear Mr. Byelick
Just received your package today. Thank you very much. My men and I enjoyed the cigars. Its great to receive mail over here, but the cigars made it even better. We are in the south eastern part of Afghanistan on the Pakistan border. We barely get enough water through air drops, so anytime we receive treats its a real moral boost. Thanks for your support.
Thanks again, 1LT. Brendon Carroll
Left to Right.. 1LT Carroll, PFC Burton, Sgt Tuthill, Spc Feury, LTC Crall, CSM Williams, Spc Oleksak
Thank you so much for the great pack of cigars! As you can see from the picture the fellas enjoyed them and they were perfectly timed. We just hit our one month mark in country and needed it after the last week! I’m still working on the unit coin, I just got my first one…will have to see how I can get my hands on another, they don’t like giving them to LTs. Thanks again for your support and tell the guys from CW it’s nice to get something in the mail that is supposed to burn (let’s just say the chocolate from the states isn’t surviving very well anymore!).
Tyler Donnell and the boys from A-1/82FA
PS: That’s me in the middle, LT
1LT Tyler Reed Donnell
Michael and gang, Stopped by to pick up a few last minute cigars this afternoon before shipping out to Iraq and your crew was good enough to provide a few extras for my crew. I can assure you that they will be appreciated. This photo of the "Blacksheep" was taken last year in Kuwait.
Here are the boys from 811th Ordnance Co. from Rainelle, WV. Currently part of 548th CSB, 10th Mtn Div. at Balad, Iraq. Smoking MD Bundles!
SSG David Dean, SPC Rick Boyce, SPC Ron White in Mosul Iraq
SSG David Dean on the road to Mosul
SPC Mark McGirr on the road to Mosul
Sorry this has taken so long. These are the guys your sent off with Cigars. Currently two of them are missing.
Thanks for your support.
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 6:01 PM
Once again thanks for your great service!!! Here's a picture of me and the sniper rifle that almost took me out. Take care and keep smoking...
SPC. Joe Gallagher
119th MP Company
Today at 04:50 I placed my third order from MD Cigars, and I was thinking about my order and I came back to your web page to just look around, And I found the mail that you got and the photo's of the men overseas right now and I want to Thank the Two of you for how you take care of them. I was in the Army for just over 18 years, and I can tell you from This Vet.
hearing how you take care of them and the service that you give to them, I started to cry. Because there stories touched me very much, Because of wounds I got in Africa in 93 I'm not over there with them and I wish I was, Well Because of all the good service I get from you and the service you give for them in Iraq, I will be getting my Cigars from you only for now on.
Your Customer For Life
Former Lt.Col. Kirk Stevens
U.S. Army Ranger
Thanks for asking my preference. I'm currently serving in Iraq. I've been meaning to write you an email to thank you for having great service. A lot of the other cigar companies wouldn't ship out here, and an order I sent through Thomson's before I heard of your company still isn't here.
Somedays the only thing that's gotten me through a tough day, or recover from a firefight has been a nice cigar with a buddy. I lost my other humidor when my humvee got hit with an IED. So I'm glad you're service is so speedy. Thanks again and keep up the good work. Know that your commitment to your customers does not go unnoticed.
Spc. Joe Gallagher
119th MP Company
95th Maint. Co. (TMDE), Team BBQ Camp. Doha
This is the pic and email Danny sent back to me from Kuwait City. You guys are international now too! I think it is a great thing you guys do for our guys over there! Dave and I hope you both enjoyed the Tuaca too! By the way, Danny is on the bottom, 2nd in from the right. He will be back in the States on October 8th, and will be coming here as soon as his de-briefing time is up, so we will be stopping by for sure!
Barb & Danny Pugh
Thank you from the Maintenance officers of Marine Air Control Squadron 1 Tactical Air Operations Center. WO Casey McKinney, WO Shawn Bossert, Capt Ken Steinke.
Dear Michael and Andrea,
Merry Christmas! I just wanted you to know how much of a difference you made to Task Force 1-64 Armor tonight in our Christmas celebration. We had our bonfire tonight - bigger than ever! Right after we lit, I put out a holler for anyone wanting stogies. Immediately, all of the young soldiers and senior leaders came around - I handed out all 50 of the MD bundles and a few of the Nat's in no time flat. Seconds later, we all took pictures which I will forward you later. Throughout the evening, everyone came up and complimented the cigars and the whole event. We then sang Christmas carols and stood around the fire until both it and the cigars were extinguished.
I just thought you ought to know that in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert, with an almost certain war looming, the happiest of events occurred tonight that bonded the members of the task force together. Your generous contribution was a major factor in ensuring that all members were part of the team, sharing cigars, carols and stories over the comforting coals of the fire. Something seemingly so small as some cigars truly made our evening special, and for this we all thank you. You will always have friends in the Desert Rogues, and if you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to ask.