Whether it is a picture of a new-born or a sweetheart, a few careful words by a loved one or just a hint of perfume that has traveled thousands of miles in a sealed envelope, letters and packages from home are doing wonders for marines on a deployment. Every time they arrived, there is a measurable surge in motivation throughout the whole unit.
In charge of letters and packages for 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6 is Lance Cpl. Anthony S. Brambilla, a 20-year-old from Warren, Michigan. Every piece of home that reaches his marines is handled by this administrative clerk, praised by his superiors.
“Brambilla has been an outstanding Marine. He handles the moral and correspondence from home, from the people we love, and the strangers that are supporting us,” said Sgt. Jesse T. Falke, battalion supply administration chief “He is the one coordinating all of that getting to us and that is outstanding. He has gone way above and beyond his call of duty.”
Many Marines would shun Brambilla’s job, but, just like any other job in the Corps, it has to be done and a 2004 graduate of De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, Michigan is doing it admirably.
“This is a big responsibility and it was a lot to handle in the beginning,” said Brambilla, “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle it all. I knew I just had to stick with it and work pretty hard.”
In line with the civilian post office moto, Brambilla pays no attention to weather conditions when delivering his mail or waiting for Marines to come pick it up.
“I know it makes these Marines happy to get mail and that’s my motivation to work so hard,” he says.
Lance Cpl. Zhen P. Chan, a 23-year-old rifleman from Buffalo, New York, says that receiving letters from home is helping Marines to cope with the harsh realities of deployment in one of the most hostile parts of Afghanistan.
“When you get back from a mission and you have a letter from home, it cheers you up knowing that people care about you and what you are doing over here,” said Chan. “It shows that we have a lot of support back home.”
“I think Brambilla is doing a fantastic job. He plays a part in that extra push we get from receiving mail,” he added.
Brambilla says that he looks forward to making Marines happy with packages and letters from home.
“When I tell Marines they have a box and I see their face light up it makes all the hard work worth it,” Brambilla said. “When a Marine comes up to me and I know he is having a bad day, I can help improve his day by letting him know that he got a package from home.”
Those who served with him back in the United States also have nothing but praise for Brambilla.
“He has always been a great Marine and he continues to show it doing a job outside of his military occupational specialty,” said Sgt. Paul D. Garwood, a 34-year-old battalion supply chief.
While patrols and firefights get the headlines, keeping up the morale of Marines is equally important to the success of the mission in Afghanistan. Marines like Brambilla may not go out every day to make contact with the enemy, but that doesn’t make their contribution less important in the everyday efforts of establishing a free and democratic Afghanistan.