Profile: Staff Sergeant Craftsman

Disclaimer: This website is not endorsed by the DoD or its affiliates. The statements made are of the individual’s alone and do not reflect policy of DoD or its affiliates. This is a series of profiles showing the face of MAAF around the globe. The author talks about writing letters to other foxhole atheists.
(profile made anonymous due to religious harassment.)

My name is Staff Sergeant [anonymous], and I am 24 years old. I am proud to serve my country as an Air Force Pest Management craftsman. I have been happily married for five years. A few of my interests include video games, reading, crafting, and listening to music and podcasts. I try to have fun with everything that I do and keep all other Airmen around me feeling positive and cared for during work and volunteer events. I am a member of MAAF and am glad to be associated with an organization that has a positive impact in the lives of many service members and their families.

I frequently visit the MAAF website, and came across the page that discusses care packages that MAAF puts together to support our non-theistic service members. I had always thought that this was a great idea, and I took note of the list of items that are normally included, such as letters. “Letters?” I said to myself. “That’s really awesome that they put well-wishes in there for folks to read!” That is when I noticed that there was a link to where I could write my own letter to be given to a fellow ‘Foxhole Atheist’ in one of these care packages! This was a chance for me to specifically reach out to another non-theistic service member. How could I say no?

I sat in front of my computer and tried to decide what to write about. After all, it is fairly difficult for me to write a letter to someone I know, and even more so for someone that I do not know. I wondered about what I would like to see in a letter from a stranger, and decided that I should just write about, well, anything.

After all, this person was a military member like me, deployed like me, and also an atheist, just like me. So I wrote. At first I thought it sounded kind of goofy. I wondered if the other person would think me odd for talking about exercise, my friends, or my secular podcasts that I like. I considered rewriting it because I wondered if it was ‘good enough’, but I chose not to. I chose to leave the letter candid, and I hoped that it would make him or her happy. I have noticed that everyone down range likes letters, even if they were from strangers who talked about random things!

Mostly, I wanted to reach out to this other person and say that I cared about them. I did not know who would get my letter. They could be from any branch and any rank, but at the heart of the matter was this simple fact: we are both human beings who are on the same team and long to know that someone cares about them. To me, that makes us family. I care about all of my fellow service members very deeply, and I understand the potential hardships of the military lifestyle and being an ‘out’ atheist in my unit. Each presents unique challenges, and it is good to have someone say that they understand you. It’s good to remember that you are not ever alone. It’s good to know that someone took a few minutes to say “thank you for your service” and that they hope you will safely return home soon.

All I really wanted to do at the end of the day was make someone else happy. I plan on writing more letters as my days go by in the hopes of brightening someone else’s day, even if only for a moment, and I hope that more people will write their own letters too. After all, we are brothers and sisters in arms, and I think that everyone should feel happy and cared for! Your letter might just be the pickup that someone else needs.

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” – Thomas Paine

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