May 18, 2013 4:46 PM
FORT KNOX, Ky. (AP) - As soldiers at Fort Knox are preparing for a summer deployment to Afghanistan, officials at the central Kentucky Army post are launching an Adopt a Platoon program.
The News-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/11i91bO) reports the program will assure soldiers will receive letters, packages and other treats from home on a regular basis.
The 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division is currently preparing for its return to Afghanistan.
Fort Knox spokesman John Campbell says personal touches from America can help brighten a soldier's day.
"The biggest take-away from it is the community members can really feel like they made a difference," he said. "When those soldiers come home, they'll remember it."
Campbell said people or entities interested in adopting a platoon will be matched according to ability to support the group of soldiers. He said Army officials are trying to accommodate requests for certain platoons, but that might not always be possible.
The program will be similar to one the post did a couple of years ago when soldiers were deployed.
"People who did it last (time), they may want to do it with the same guys," he said.
Campbell said he sees no downside to the program because it treats in-state and out-of-state soldiers the same.
"That's what makes the program so special," he said.
Brad Richardson, executive director of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Knox, said the program not only benefits soldiers, it also helps the community.
"Every platoon had a sponsor, and very quickly, when their last deployment occurred," he said. "I'm assuming that probably will happen again."
The chamber helped promote the initiative during its first run and adopted a platoon. Richardson said the organization will continue its aid this time around.
"It's obviously important to send that message really on an individual basis to the soldiers when they're deployed and their families back here," he said.
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com
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