"My name is Command Sergeant Major Russell D. Prince. I am the senior enlisted Soldier in the 1-120th Combined Arms Battalion currently stationed at FOB Mahmudiyah, Iraq. I am responsible for the welfare of over 900 Soldier that are assigned to the battalion. Being deployed to a combat zone is a challenge as all of my fellow service members would agree; but, the separation from loved ones back home presents a different set of issues that directly affects a Soldier’s performance. Soldiers may be surrounded by all their combat buddies, yet feel so alone at times. They feel alone because they are thousands of miles away from anyone that reminds them of their “normal” life.
That’s where Operation Compassion has made such an immeasurable impact on our Soldiers. Through Operation Compassion, the Soldiers have received numerous care packages, cards, and letters. Receiving items from back home brightens the Soldiers day and serves as a reminder of the support that people have for them. I always say, “it’s not about what you get from back home; it’s about getting anything from back home”. Nothing compares with the smile on a Soldier’s face after a package or letter is delivered to them. Mail has such a huge effect on morale and is a combat multiplier. A Soldier can have a bad day but then receive mail and everything is right with the world again.
Operation Compassion has shown our Soldiers how much the faith community really cares about them. I am extremely proud to be able to tell Soldiers that God’s people are looking out for them. Whether all of our Soldiers really understand it or not, I know that the packages and letters are a sign of the most important aspect of Operation Compassion – the prayers. I know that along with every item that is sent, there are a hundred fold prayers being sent up on behalf of the Soldiers and their families. The power of prayer – what a wondrous gift that God gave to us. We here at FOB Mahmudiyah have experienced the result of that power. We are in awe of the support that we have received through Operation Compassion. It has truly been a blessing to many Soldiers and to me. So many people from back home ask me how they can make a difference in a Soldier’s life. The people who work for Operation Compassion have found the answer to that question. Our Soldiers enjoy the fruits of their labor both physically and spiritually. How wonderful the blessings are when God’s people work together for a common goal."