Updated 18-Sep: Welcome to the Schriefer Blog, my name is Tavis Schriefer. Recently, my wife Jill and I raised money to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. We were successful in raising over $6500 and we would like to thank everyone for all their support to make this happen.
Please read our entire message here...

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mowing Grass in Iraq

This photo and text is from one of the soldier's families of the 56th BCT. Its amazing what we will do for reminders of home.

"Here is a soldier stationed in Iraq, stationed in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him dirt (U.S. soil), fertilizer and some grass seeds, so he can have the sweet aroma and feel the grass grow beneath his feet.If you notice, he is even cutting the grass with a pair of a scissors. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we don't stop and think about the little things that we take for granted. "

Mowing Grass in Iraq

Thursday, May 26, 2005

PV2 Nick's New Job

Spoke to Nick briefly. He now has a stripe so he's a Private 2nd Class (PV2).

He also has a new job - AG (Alternate Gunner maybe?). He's the guy who carries the rounds and the tripod for the M240 machine gun. Another guy carries the machine gun and additional rounds. Nick's job is to feed the rounds to the machine gun and point at the targets for the gunner to shoot at.

Jon's and Nick's Addresses

Here is a reminder of the mailing addresses for the boys...

PV2 Jonathan Schriefer
B Co. 111th EN BN WPMUB0 (<-- zero)
APO, AE 09342-1400

PV2 Nicholas Schriefer
FCO 1st BN, 19th INF
618 Access Drive
Mailbox 28
Fort Richardson AK 99505

I have found that USPS Priority Mail is the best method to ship packages to both of them. A Priority Mail envelope takes about 1.5 weeks to reach Jonathan and a Priority Mail package takes about 2 weeks. For Nicholas, Priority Mail takes 3 days - plus its cheaper and faster than UPS or FedEx ground services (taking 5-6 days).

You can get free Priority Mail boxes in various sizes for free from the Post Office and online at usps.com. There are several sizes, two of which are flat rate ($7.70) and are the cheapest way to ship if over 2 lbs. Shipments to Jonathan must also have a Customs Declaration form (PS Form 2976) since it is an International package. All of these supplies can be ordered from the USPS website for free so that you always have them available and don't have to search at your local Post Office (takes 2 weeks to deliver them).

Mail going to Jonathan must be taken to the Post Office in person, but can be sealed prior. You cannot use online postage for International packages. Mail to Nicholas can be sent just like any other US package and you can print the postage online at USPS.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quick Update - Nick

I've also spoken with Nick several times over past couple weeks, the last time during the Desperados game. There are some recent rumors regarding his deployment. Instead of waiting until mid-2006 to deploy to Iraq, they may be deploying in several months to Afghanistan for a while, then on to Iraq. I think he will be coming home on leave prior to deployment.

Nick went camping weekend before last and said it was a blast. He sent a few pictures (click on pic)

Camping Trip

Quick Update - Jon

I've spoken / IM'd with Jon several times over past couple weeks. Everything is fine. He went to a USO concert on base the other night to see Toby Keith (sings "American Soldier"). He said he had a good time, even though it was Country music.

Toby Kieth at Victory

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dallas Desperados

Sunday, the Dallas Desperados (arena football) provided 500 tickets to families of the 56th Brigade Combat Team (Jon's Brigade). Jill and I went, along with Jill's parents and my Mother. There were quite a few families there and we all wore t-shirts with US and Texas flags. They honored some of the soldiers on the field during the game and Channel 5 had a blurb about it on the news Sunday night - here's the news clip... http://photos.imageevent.com/schriefer/jonsvideos/Desperados_20050522.WMV

There's also some pictures I took at the game (click on the pic below). Sorry some are a bit blurry, but we were pretty far back. I tried to keep the boys in mind by including some cheerleader pictures too! ;)

Desperados Game

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Jon's Units in the News

Here's an article I read about K-9 bomb sniffing dogs being used in the 111th EN (Jonathan's unit). http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/apr2005/a042805la1.html

An article appeared in Friday's Dallas Morning News about internet access and other comforts of home that Jon's units have. Click on the picture to download the PDF file.

A previous article appeared in the DMN about a school that the 56th Brigade helped build in Bahgdad. This is probably one of several Iraqi schools that the 56th is currently taking donations to help buy schools supplies (info at serveoursoldiers.us).