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News from home a hot commodity

News from home is a rare but cherished thing for a soldierstationed in a combat zone, and soldiers in the Mississippi ArmyNational Guard’s 155th Infantry Battalion were delighted recentlyto receive an issue of The DAILY LEADER in Iraq.

The 155th Infantry Battalion, part of the 155th Brigade CombatTeam, is composed primarily of soldiers from southwestMississippi.

PFC Anthony Johnson said a soldier in the unit received thenewspaper in a care package from a relative here and shared it withthe unit after reading it.

The paper was popular among the local troops, who are starved fornews about developments both at home and abroad, Johnson said. Hesaid the newspaper was even popular among troops from outside thelocal area, who treasured it for its state and internationalnews.

Staff Sgt. Lucius Washington said the soldiers decided to pose withthe newspaper as a way to get their picture in the newspaper andlet people know they were doing well. It was also good for achuckle, he said.

The soldiers intended the photograph to be used in a newspaperfeature called “Take the DAILY LEADER on Vacation,” in whichtravelers are pictured holding a newspaper at locations far fromBrookhaven.

Johnson said the soldiers receive a newspaper only “once in a bluemoon” but would like to read it more often. Newspapers delivered incare packages are the only means of outside information thesoldiers have, he said.

Marie Patton, an aunt of Staff Sgt. Willie Smith, said the soldiersusually get personal news when talking on the telephone withrelatives, but general news is rarely discussed.

“He calls sometimes on the weekends, but he can only talk to me fora few minutes,” she said. “He talks to my niece most of thetime.”

E-mail is another popular form of communication between soldiersand their friends and families at home.

Some soldiers who have occasional access to e-mail have offered toaccept e-mail for others in the unit and pass it on.

Soldiers in the 155th Infantry Battalion can be reached at thefollowing e-mail addresses:

* zachary.drew.smith@us.army.mil

* anthony.clay.johnson@us.army.mil

* james.alvey@us.army.mil

* lucius.washington@us.army.mil

* clois.r.wilson@us.army.mil