First, let me apologize for taking so long to reply to you - it has been rather hectic of late wrapping up loose ends, shipping equipment and manifesting for flights. In fact, I fly out this evening headed for our tour in Iraq. Let me just start by saying how grateful I am that you would offer to help us on our mission in Iraq. I think that it is wonderful that you have chosen to honor Nick's memory with this continued service to the children of Iraq. So many of those of us who served and continue to serve in Iraq face challenges and dangers but never forget how important our mission is when we look in the eyes of the small Iraqi children. It would be a privilege to help continue to honor Nick's memory by facilitating Kicks for Nick while we're in Iraq. As I mentioned above, I depart this evening and will start out in Kuwait for several weeks but will end up in Basra, Iraq (the second largest city in Iraq) by mid April. By this summer, my battalion will be the sole U.S. unit responsible for this very large city of over 2.4 million people and we'll be working alongside the 14th Iraqi Army Division and 4the Division of Border Enforcement Guards. I went on a recon of that area last month and it is clear to me that there continues to be a tremendous need for a means to reach out to the people of Iraq particularly the children - these actions show the compassionate side of the American Soldier and leave an indellible impression on the minds of the Iraqi people and children that what the American people and especially the American ldier wants for the Iraqi people is some of the same peace and prosperity that we enjoy - we are not there as conquerors but liberators. We're wrapping up our U.S. presence there and Nick's battalion - 1-68 AR - will be one of the last battalions to serve in that province. The email address that I am contacting you from will be accessible to me when I get settled in to Basra and I would love to be able to take you up on your offer because even though we are in one of the largest cities of Iraq, there are so many areas in and around Basra whre the poverty is just so stark - the kids there yearn for nothing more than to be able to learn in school, and to have fun. Soccer balls are a terrific way to reach out to them. I will contact you again when I get settled in and perhaps we can work as a team to help the children of Iraq and keep Nick's memory running strong for a cause I know he believed in. Again, I am extremely grateful for your offer and intend to take you up on it - I would consider it an honor. Thanks you for your service to our country and support for our soldiers. You have no idea how much your letter meant to me.
Commander, 1-68 AR