- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

Tooth Fairy in Kuwait?
In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, St. Mary's School Principal Kathleen Dolan asked her Alexandria students to write letters of support to American troops dug in along the Kuwaiti border with Iraq.
One of the letters read: "We are in Mrs. Leard's Kindergarten, Room 9, so we are called K-9 puppies! We want you to know that we love our country and support all that you do to keep us free. We have some questions," the students wrote, curious about everything from "Do you pray?" and "Did you find [Osama] bin Laden yet?" to "Does the Tooth Fairy go there?"
"Thank you for protecting us," the letter concluded. "Our love for you is as constant as the stars above!"
Yesterday, Mrs. Dolan handed this columnist (St. Mary's Class of '72) a three-page letter that arrived this week from Kuwait.
"Thanks so much for all the great pictures! They really made my day and brightened up my tent," Lt. Col. Pat Looney, who serves in the 5th Marine Regiment, wrote to Mrs. Leard's K-9 puppies. "Here goes an attempt to answer your many questions:
"1. Snowstorms? Not where I am at, I am in northern Kuwait. It is a big desert, so instead of snowstorms we get big wind/sand storms. In fact, the last few days have been really nasty, high winds with lots of blowing sand. It makes it hard to see, let alone try to drive or fly.
"2. Hot or cold? Both, not too cold, but … it will get real hot in the summer.
"3. People nice? Yes very, the Kuwaiti people I have met have all been extremely nice and friendly.
"4. Meals? Yes and no, nothing is like the meals your mom makes for you … . It's kind of like school food, lots of it without much taste.
"5. Uniforms? We wear our uniforms every day. We do not have anything else to wear. Before we left were all issued desert utilities, so we blend into the desert landscape. The only other outfit we have is our PT shorts, we wear those when we run and as our pajamas.
"6. Polish boots? No we don't have to anymore; the new boots we have are a 'rough-side-out' material so we don't have to polish them. If we did we would spend all day doing that instead of training.
"7. Flag? No, I don't hold the flag, but we do have a flag flying over our camp that goes up every morning and comes down at sunset.
"8. Drinks? We drink a lot of water and … a cool-aid-type mix. Recently, we have been getting Pepsi with our dinner. We also drink a lot of coffee. Finally, we always like it when our friends and family send us Gatorade mix.
"9. Bin Laden? No, haven't found him yet, but we're looking hard.
"10. Army? No!!! We are Marines, very different from the Army we're better looking, smarter, stronger and faster and shoot straighter!! The Army is here as well, they serve alongside us. In fact, all services are represented, the Navy and Air Force are here as well. We are one big team, we can't do it alone, it takes all the services working together to make things work and for us to be successful.
"11. Job? Executive Officer or 2nd in charge, kinda like the Assistant Principal.
"12. Family? Yes, we all miss our families very much. Many of us are fathers and miss our children and wives. If not married, we miss our girlfriends and moms and dads.
"13. Machine do I drive? I don't drive but I do ride in … tanks, light armored vehicles (mini tanks), trucks, hummers and even motorcycles. We also fly in helicopters.
"14. Pray? Yes, every day before I go to bed I pray for my daughter and my girlfriend and my family. I also pray for my Marines and their families.
"15. Clean gun? Yes, every day we clean our weapons. I carry a pistol so each day I take about 5 minutes to clean it, that way I ensure it will work if I need it. It's like brushing my teeth, every day x 2 whether I need to or not.
"16. Sand? YES, the sand gets into everything, sleeping bags, your eyes, ears, the food … it's nasty!! It's like going to the beach on a windy day, but this is every day without the fun of the water.
"17. What do we do? Well, we spend a lot of time training and rehearsing our jobs … we exercise, we run and do push-ups and sit-ups … play football, soccer or baseball … write letters home, read books and magazines and play cards/chess/checkers/backgammon.
"18. Have fun/like it here? Yes and no. Yes, because … we keep America safe. No, because we miss our families.
"19. E-mail? The only e-mail we have is for work.
"20. Dogs? Yes, we have military working dogs.
"21. Sleep/beds? Yes, we sleep … in big tents and sleep in sleeping bags. When we leave here we will sleep in the desert under the stars in our sleeping bags.
"22. Churches? We say Mass or hold our different religious services in our big tents.
"23. TVs? No TVs. Heck, we don't have any cable!!
"24. Uniforms dirty? Yes, very dirty. Your moms wouldn't appreciate how dirty and smelly we get.
"25. Tooth Fairy? Heck ya, I haven't seen her yet, but she goes everywhere people who believe in her go. Kind of like Jesus."

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