December 5, 2007

Ossian Mailman in Iraq

The Journal-Gazette has a nice article about Marine Lance Corporal Zach McKee, from Ossian who works at the Marine post office at Al Taqaddum Air Base in the Anbar province in Iraq.

McKee, a 2004 Norwell High School graduate who attended Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne for two years before joining the Marines, said he didn't even know the Marines' mail service existed until he was assigned to it.

Adding to the workload is "MotoMail" – short for "motivational mail" – a Marine Corps-sponsored, Internet-based letter-writing service that allows friends and families to pen letters online to specific Marines.

The letters are printed out at the Marines' respective bases and delivered to them, much like telegrams.

If he were back in northeast Indiana, McKee said he would probably be hunting or lifting weights – everyday hobbies he's come to miss while deployed.

Even so, the mail service job makes missing home a little easier, because he's helping his fellow troops connect with their own homes, he said.

McKee's parents, Julie and Mark, also know about missing people. They talk to their son about twice a week but not seeing him for more than a year has been difficult.

A tip of the hat and a thank you to the McKees and all the other service families separated over the Christmas season.

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