Pacific edition, Thursday, July 12, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Since April, members of the Young Marines organization here have collected more than 1,500 DVD and VHS movies for troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 22 members of the group’s local chapter, ages 8 through 18, answered the national organization’s call earlier this year to collect donated movies from base schools. The Young Marines’ goal is to collect one million movies to send to the troops in partnership with the American Veterans (AMVETS) organization.

“Entertainment is hard to find downrange,” said Staff Sgt. Dexter White, the commanding officer of the Camp Foster Young Marines. He learned of the project last January when he was deployed to Fallujah, and thought it would be a great project for his young charges.

“Outside games, like baseball and softball, are no longer possible in some places because of snipers, land mines, bombs and other terrorist activities,” White said. “But the troops love movies and this campaign will give them something they really need to break the boredom.”

The movies will be forwarded to AMVETS and then distributed to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and military and veterans’ hospitals, White said. Children’s titles will be separated and sent to the families of the servicemembers serving downrange.

“This will be a continuing project,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”

Young Marine Cpl. Jake Spooner, 8, said he felt good collecting the DVDs.

“It feels great to send the troops something to watch,” he said while packing a box to be sent to AMVETS.

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