Teacher Tami Peterson's third grade class in Whitehall Elementary School wrote letters to a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan and received a response from soldier, Michael Mastromatto!Dear Mrs. Peterson and the rest of her 3rd grade class,My name is Michael Mastromatto. Our platoon received all of your letters here in Afghanistan! We loved reading them and we're happy that you guys have our backs over here. Nothing I say can convey our appreciation. I am sorry it took so long to reply back. As we read through your letters, we noticed that you guys had some questions for us. We did our best at answering them.Andre asks, "what is it like over there?"
This is a beautiful country. There's mountains all around us with snow on the tops of them. Other places have green fields and clear streams and rivers.Nateyana asks, "is it hot or cold over there?"
It's both!Jamal wonders if it is nice in the Army, and is it fun being in Afghanistan.
That all depends on the person. Some people love it so much that they stay in for life. There's lots of benefits for being in the Army or anywhere else in the military, but you have to make big sacrifices. Being in Afghanistan has its ups and downs. We have fun when we can, but when it comes to work, work comes first. We are kids on a playground when there's time for it.Kevin asks us, "have you ever had a war?"
Hahah we loved this question! Not sure why. For most of us, this is our first deployment. Some of us have been overseas numerous times. Some to Iraq and some here in Afghanistan.Bradley asks, "how does it feel to be in Afghanistan when you've left your family?"
It's hard at first, but we get used to it. We get extra pay for being here. We still keep in touch with loved ones when we have time.Amanda asks, "How does it feel to be abroad in Afghanistan?"
Even though we are far away from home, which can be rough at times, we are doing good things over here. Things need to be done, and we will accomplish out mission. That makes us feel important. For many of us, this is a dream come true.Ciani asks, "is it hard to stay on a task when thinking about a family member?"
Actually, this makes us focus even more. It makes us work hard to get back home safely.Last, but not least, Ben asks "what is the climate like and what is it like being in the Army?"
The climate right now is really hot. At night time, it gets a bit chilly out. When we first got here, it was like living in a huge freezer! It was just so cold, and it even snowed here! Now that it's Spring, it's pretty hot, and will only get hotter as Summer comes along. Being in the Army is a different experience overseas than in garrison. In garrison, we have strict rules on grooming, hygiene, and how we have to carry ourselves. Overseas, it all depends on where we are, who is around us and what our leadership allows us to do. Out here, we don't have to shave every single day,we can where civilian clothes at times, and some other cool little perks. As long as we get the job done right, the little things do not matter. When we come back to the states, we must get right back into garrison mode, or else we will be doing push-ups until the guy making us do push-ups gets tired!I think that's all of the questions. Sorry if we've missed any. I've also included a few pictures so you guys can have a glimpse of what it's like here. By the way, these letters are really well written. Many of you speak better English than most of us "grown" men! Your teacher is doing a great job at turning you young ones into very intelligent individuals. Intelligence and knowledge is very important when you get older, even here in the military. You're all off to a good start, so keep up the good work. If you have anymore questions for us, feel free to write us back or send an email to this address.Sincerely,
B Co. 1st Battalion 502 Infantry Regiment 101st AirborneDivision