New Red Cross Messages To Relay ‘Dear John Letters’, Sports Scores Duffel Blog Staff August 26, 2012 News 10 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: A Red Cross Worker In Afghanistan Looks Up Stats On ESPN.com CAMP PENDLETON, CA – Members of the American Red Cross held a press conference last week with the 1st Marine Division to proudly announce that Red Cross emergency messages would now carry both ‘Dear John letters’ and sports scores. “For the longest time people have only associated Red Cross emergency messages with things like the death, severe illness of a family member, or birth of a child,” said William Gossett, regional manager for the Red Cross’ western district. “But now we can also inform you that your favorite football team just won the big game, or that your wife is leaving you due to your sexual inadequacy.” According to Gossett, multiple surveys over the past two years showed the majority of deployed servicemen and women were overwhelmingly in favor of adding both. Message-traffic has increased ten-fold in the days since the policy change, going from 68 messages a day to over 700. Reactions by deployed personnel have varied. “Yeah, it’s totally cool,” said Corporal Chris Dirksen. “We were in the middle of a firefight when this Osprey came in low over the battlefield and said: ‘CORPORAL DIRKSEN! THE NATIONALS HAVE BEAT THE CARDINALS 7-4!’ I was so stoked I actually high-fived the Taliban I was slicing open with a bayonet!” Sergeant Shaniqua Johnson, with Explosive Ordnance Disposal, had a different story. “I was right in the middle of placing a charge on this 400 pound command-wire IED when my Battalion Sergeant Major comes rolling up in a truck yelling, ‘Sergeant Johnson! Gary says it’s over! Keep the kids! He doesn’t care!'” “I suppose it wouldn’t have been that bad if my Staff Sergeant hadn’t immediately asked if that meant I was single now.” Although the Red Cross’ actions have been highly applauded by the service chiefs as “waking up to the reality of deployment,” the move may very well bankrupt the Red Cross organization over time. Red Cross officials have privately spoke about being overwhelmed by the influx of requests. Three of their dedicated servers have shut down due to the massive increase in traffic and dozens of employees have quit for stress-related reasons. The Red Cross has already begun revamping the entire program. One official, speaking off the record, said “the Red Cross messages used to be relatively costless for us, as the only expenses needed were the manpower to make the phone call or send the email. But if this keeps up we may be broke in as little as four months.” Duffel Blog investigative journalist Fernando also contributed to this report. Michelle Dawn Lotz-Lynch says: February 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM Waking up to the reality of war…priceless. Carrie Miller says: February 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM I wonder if the duffelblog went out and hired the former staff of Mad Magazine. Ralph Demaree says: February 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM Glad to see my CFC donations going to hard work finaly. SSG zachary harrison says: September 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM is there a policy regarding service members and red cross messages while serving in Afghanistan? Anything stating what is supported by ISAF or the unit in order to send the soldier home or not Bill says: August 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM I was the JAG for a brigade of Guardsmen on the ground in SW Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. I swear to God that I never saw so damn many “Dead Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle, cat, dog…” as well as “Your wife/husband just filed for divorce and got temporary custody of the kids and your paychecks.” We were putting people back on the plane two days after we hit the ground. Three weeks later when we returned home, i was surprised that Ohio wasn’t empty. leftoftheboom says: August 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM My absolute best message: “These kids is out of control. My 14 year old girl is pregnant, my 13 year old son is in jail and I just can’t take it.” leftoftheboom says: August 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM The 2 a.m delivery time in theater always ticked me off. We always had to get up and deal with it. I don’t know about other units but in ours, with 300 pax, I think we had something like 120 dead grandparents, assorted dead aunts and uncles, and such. Given the number of Red Cross messages with dead relatives back in the states, it seemed like we would come home to an empty country. radglock says: August 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM ORDNANCE!!!! Not Ordinance……I expected better TDB. Lt. Butero-Trinkejo says: August 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM Sir you will have to forward a complaint letter filled in triplicate through the proper channels before it can be handled properly. If you have problems finding the proper form please contact the Duffel Blog PA officer. radglock says: August 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM Sir, Sir, Aye, Sir. However, Sir, the routing sheet was not properly annotated to cover the BOB, the clerk to the BOB, the ASNCOIC, the SNCOIC, the Chief, the CO, the adj, and the SgtMaj.So….it was kicked back for the third time by S-1 stating that it was done in black ink that was not dark enough and my margins were off, therefore it does not properly fulfill the reqiurements of the Naval Correspondence Manual, Sir.