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Army Wife Says Her Letters Aren’t Getting to the Gulf

September 27, 1990

HINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) _ The wife of a soldier stationed in Saudi Arabia said he isn’t receiving her letters because thousands of well-meaning people are jamming the military postal system with letters addressed to ″Any Soldier.″

Annie Berg, wife of an Army sergeant first class usually stationed at Fort Stewart, said Wednesday her husband is ″worried sick″ because no family letters have reached him during the month he’s been in the desert.

″We love their patriotism, but if they could just stop with the letter writing to just ‘any soldier,’ ″ she said. ″My husband is not just any soldier. My friends’ husbands are not just any soldier. They have families trying to get their letters through. The letter from home is the best mental nourishment they can get.″

″We’ve had quite a few people complain that they aren’t getting their mail,″ said Dean Wohlgemuth, a spokesman for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart. ″We’re trying to speed it up.″

Leon Wood, postmaster at the Hinesville post office, said letters for Fort Stewart soldiers are turned over to the Army Post Office in New York. He said domestic postal workers treat all first-class letters the same, whether they are addressed to specific soldiers or ″any soldier.″

Maj. Carl Gidlund, spokesman for the Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, said there were complaints about slow mail deliveries early in the operation and the Army and Air Force responded by sending more mail specialists.

Gidlund described Mrs. Berg’s problem as ″an isolated incident.″

″All I can do on behalf of the armed forces is apologize,″ he said.

Mrs. Berg declined to identify her husband, a 14-year veteran. She said she feared he might be punished for her remarks.

″My husband is worried sick because he hasn’t heard from me,″ she said. ″I have many, many friends and their husbands are writing them saying, ‘How are you? How are the kids? We’ve heard nothing from you.’ ″

Mrs. Berg said she has written her husband at least every other day and has sent three packages since he left for the Middle East on Aug. 26.

She has received three letters from him. She said their three daughters - Karen, 13; Tia, 9; and Jean, 7 - are upset because their father writes and says ″Have the girls write me.″