Boosting Troops Morale With Technology

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

October 26, 2006

This has been the bloodiest month in Iraq all year, which is why one local corporation is using technology and donations to send thank-yous to the troops. Operation BRAVO stands for Bring Relief and Video Overseas and they are doing it with modern technology.

William Underwood is a Sargent with the Albemarle County Police Department, but he's also in the army reserves. He was stationed in Iraq from December 2003 to March 2005.

"Soldiers in the past have said that the definition of combat is moments of pure terror, with hours of pure boredom," said Underwood.

Underwood patrolled the streets of Baghdad looking for roadside bombs. In his 14 months overseas he saw the first Iraqi election and also one of his close friends killed right in front of him. Morale was dropping until Christmas when he and the rest of his troops were especially thankful for gifts that allowed them to escape.

"It was a great release not to just sit back in your tent and think about what just happened on your last mission, but to be able to watch a movie and pretend like you were back home and enjoy it like you were a normal person at that time," said Underwood.

Crutchfield donated personal DVD players and movies to everyone in his platoon.

"The holidays are tough and being away from your family makes it extra tough. We just want to give these guys a little bit of home when they're over there," said Jude DeFrank from Crutchfield.

Three years ago the company sent $20,000 worth of gifts. This year they are tripling that amount.

You can donate at the UVa football game this Saturday at the Crutchfield tent which is on the patio of the Aquatics & Fitness Center. They are collecting DVDs (both new or previously viewed), DVD players, mp3 players, and digital cameras.

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