Beer fund Web site changes its mission
November 1, 2004
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A 2nd Brigade soldier’s Web site that once solicited beer money for deployed soldiers in Iraq is up and running again, this time as a memorial for fallen soldiers and a resource for families back home.
Beerforsoldiers.com was created earlier this year by Sgt. Dale Rogers, in Iraq with Company C, 1st Battalion (air assault), 503rd Infantry Regiment, to enable patriotic Americans to buy soldiers beer through online donations.
Now the Web site, renamed “From Iraq With Love” is back online in a changed format. The Web site includes a message, apparently from Rogers, that says it was created for the families of Strike Force soldiers.
“I know you miss your loved ones so much, and they miss you equally as much,” the site reads.
“My mission is simple: I want to provide you, the families back home, with a positive look into your loved ones life here in Iraq; a site where my fellow Soldiers can share their love with you. They are hard rough tough Soldiers, but when it comes to you in their lives they become big softies. The heartfelt photos and notes that will soon be on this site are yours to cherish. We are proud to serve and we know you are proud of us.”
There also is a brief explanation of the Web site’s colorful history.
“Beer for Soldiers was a great morale booster and I hate I had to shut it down. I am confident that this site will be an even better morale booster,” the site now reads. “Part of being a Soldier is following orders, I may not like them or agree with them but I have to comply with them.”
The Web site’s new look includes dozens of photographs of Strike Force soldiers in Iraq, a “Chaplain’s Corner,” photographs of soldiers’ families, tributes to fallen comrades, a page where soldiers’ families can post messages and links to various Web sites, including the U.S. Army site.
One of the new pages at Beerforsoldiers.com is about Rogers and includes a message to fans of the Web site:
“I created this cool website just for you. Why? Because so many of you wrote me when I had to shut down Beer for Soldiers and told me how much you appreciated the site … not just for the beer fund, but because the site made you feel closer to your loved ones. ... I will strive to keep this website positive and updated as much as possible, with all of our ongoing missions, it may be difficult. But I love challenges! I am here for you.”
According to Rogers, donations to the Web site’s former beer fund were averaging between $200 and $600 a month before the unit ordered him to shut it down in October. A Strike Force spokesman said lawyers from the unit rendered a legal opinion that the Web site violated the Joint Ethics Regulation, which prohibits soldiers soliciting gifts, except in limited situations.
Following the order, Beerforsoldiers.com was reduced to a single Web page featuring an apology by Rogers to the lawyers for previously questioning their decision to shut down the site.