My response

After having a day to let myself calm down, here is my response to the letter sent out by the Battalion FRG leader. Obviously, names have been altered...

April 19, 2005

Dear Mrs. *****,

After having read the letter you sent out to the FRG leaders within your Battalion, I too feel compelled to respond. We have been a part of the Chinook family for almost 7 years now. The first 3 years of that time were spent as part of the Sugarbear family in Alaska. We still have friends stationed up there and consider the Sanders’ family to be friends as well.

Regardless of the fact that we have been gone from Alaska for almost 3 years now, we still consider ourselves to be a part of the Sugarbear family – once a Sugarbear, ALWAYS a Sugarbear. That is how it has always been and how it will always will be. That is how the Chinook community operates. It doesn’t matter where you are stationed or even if you are no longer part of active duty life – you will ALWAYS be a part of the family.

People in the Chinook community are some of the most wonderful people I have met. They are down to earth, genuine, friendly, and willing to go to great lengths to help you out. That is what family is all about. The letter you sent out did not seem to grasp that concept. That is unfortunate, given the position of leadership you are in.

Your letter made it into the hands of Chuck’s wife and hurt her at a time when she should have been lifted up by those around her. I am sure that was not your intention but that was the consequence. Even though the Sanders family had left Alaska 5 months prior to Chuck’s death, their family is still considered to be a part of the Sugarbear family – once a Sugarbear, ALWAYS a Sugarbear. Additionally, many of their good friends remain in Alaska and are – undoubtedly – suffering due to this tragedy and should be able to expect the support of their Battalion FRG in this matter.

I do hope that this was just an oversight and a misunderstanding of your true intentions and feelings. I would hate to think that a Battalion FRG leader could fail to understand the type of support that is deserved and necessary at a time such as this.

********* ***

I feel better now.

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