Frontlines Firsthand: Viewer Comments

Here's your chance to send questions, thoughts and best wishes to Sgt. Dawson and Cpl. Atwell.

Send your e-mails to: We'll pass along your message and maybe feature your comments on this page!

Thank you for your service. Ooooh rah.
My son leaves this week for Afghanistan. When you are contacted from your parents what are subjects you like to hear, and what do you like to avoid?
Does it take a long time to get mail?
I have heard things like foot powder, carmax, underwear... is appreciated. I have also heard you have to carry your things. What kind of things do you appreciate from home, and what kind of things are a burden?

Cpl. Atwell:
When I call home I just like to hear them talk about what they've been up to, so I can stay in the loop. My parents, at least my mom, doesn't want to hear about the “dangerous” things we do so I avoid talking to her about things like that. Mail gets here pretty quickly. It takes between 4 days to a week. Good things to send are like you said: foot powder is great, batteries, magazines, I'm a big fan of homemade cookies and most of the guys like them too. There's really nothing bad to send just getting a package makes you feel good.

Sgt. Dawson:
Thank you for your support and your e-mails! When I'm contacted by my parents or my wife I like to hear the same old things how everyone is doing and what's been going on in the media, such as sports. Just current updates in everyday life. That's the best advice I could offer. If your son is a Marine I suggest MOTO MAIL it takes a day to get to your son other than that packages which could take from 3-7 days and you got the right idea on what to pack for your son. Again thanks for your support and your questions.

I want to say that you both are good men, who make me proud to be an American. I want to join the Marines when I finish college and become an officer. I'm sixteen, and it's been my dream to join up since I was thirteen…what is the best and worst part about being in the Marines? Second, what can I do to better prepare myself to become a Marine? Good luck to you guys, God bless you, and Semper Fi!!!
Bo Thompson

Cpl. Atwell:
Hey Bo, it's good to hear you want to join the ranks. The best part about being a Marine is the friends I've made while I've been in. For me, the worst part is being away from home but when you've got good friends it makes it easier. I'm sure you already know that to be a Marine, especially if you're a grunt, you've got to be in good shape so to prepare yourself. I would hit the gym and run just be in the best shape that you can be. Thanks for your support.

Sgt. Dawson:
Thank you for your support and your questions. Thompson, you sound like you are ready to go and join the ranks of the Corps. The first thing I have to suggest is to FINISH SCHOOL. To become an Officer the Officer Ranks is the way to go plus you are still young, enjoy your youth because time flies and you need to enjoy it and stay in school. The second thing I suggest is to run. Join the track team at your school and get into great shape. Run and work-out so you won't be in pain later. I was at Officer Candidate School before I got to Afghanistan I was an instructor at Quantico and I'm telling you just stay in shape and you will have no problems. If you have any other questions feel free to ask and I will help you out. Thanks again for your support and patriotism! Semper Fi.

Sgt. Dawson and Cpl. Atwell,
Mere words cannot express my family's appreciation and undying gratitude for what you are doing to keep us safe and secure. We sleep very well at night knowing that individuals like yourselves are watching over us. Be assured that “Old Glory” still flies daily over our house (and on the back window of my pickup truck!) We have two questions we would like to pass on to you if you don't mind:
1.) What personal supplies do you and your fellow Marines need or would like to have that you cannot get over there? (Please send a list)
S. Klemen

Cpl. Atwell:
Thanks for supporting us. It's great to hear that people have our back. We have a Post Exchange here, and we can normally get what we need. Although I don't use it, cigarettes and dip are always running out at the PX. All the guys complain about how they never have any. Besides that, it just depends when you go to the PX and how long ago they restocked it.

Sgt. Dawson:
THANK YOU for your support and patriotism. It makes our job over here so much better!!! Especially when times get rough we feel better that the American people like yourself give us all the support in the world. Thanks Again!!! As for the list of things that you would like to send, we would greatly appreciate anything that you would like to send we have no specific needs. Thanks again!

Marines, I have a question for you both. What are your personal feelings of the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan? Primarily, do you see improvements in the Countries that justify in your honest opinion our continued involvement and deployment? My opinion, by the way is that you men and women are creating the "New Greatest Generation". There has never in the History of USA wars been such a successful campaign under such difficult conditions and impossible odds. I salute you both.
Thank you,
Joseph Mallozzi

Sgt. Dawson:
From one sergeant to another, thank you for your questions and your service as well. First, my personal feelings of the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan is that we needed to be in Iraq (we meaning the Marines). We were successful and so are our brothers and sisters in the other Armed Services. Iraq to me, since I was deployed there twice, was getting better by the deployment and now with the surge of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen - we are finishing the job. Now in Afghanistan, we have to break the backbone of the Taliban and Al- Qaeda forces and bring security to the Afghan nationalists. We will succeed and this war will bring terrorism to a halt. To the second half of your question, YES I do see huge improvements in Iraq and will soon see them once we start combat operations here in Afghanistan. Thank-you for your questions and your support. Take care and SEMPER FI.

Cpl. Atwell:
I'm sorry I can't answer your question. I haven't been to Iraq so I can't speak about that and we haven't started operating yet. What I can say is that I'm confident by the end of our deployment we will be able to say we made an impact on this country and the war.

Hello Cpl. Atwell, Sgt. Dawson:
My name is Samuel Chamberlin, a future Marine. I'm 18 years old.
I read the article on fox news about your mission to Afghanistan, and that you can keep me informed about what goes on with you guys over there.
Please add me to your mailing list.
I heard that one of you has been on 2 tours to Iraq. Can you tell me a bit about that: the country, the fighting... and other stuff concerning my possible future deployments down there?
Samuel Chamberlin

Sgt. Dawson:
To the future Marine,
Thank you for your patriotism and volunteering to serve your country as one of the fiercest, most deadly people in the world – a U.S. Marine. I'm glad to hear that you want to join the ranks! Don't rush the deployments. Believe me, they will come and then there will be more deployments down the road. Enjoy your training, pay attention, and prepare yourself mentally & physically. Take care of the Marine to your left and your right and you will never be alone!! Listen to your instructors and adapt to the different lifestyle and you will go a long way! I have been on the two deployments to Iraq. As of now, from fellow Marines that are there now, they say that the fierce fighting as died down, a lot due to the surge. Here in Afghanistan, it hasn't began yet, but it will soon enough. I hope that helped you out. Thanks again. Hope to talk to you again soon. Semper Fi.

Cpl. Atwell:
Hey Sam, I'll keep you informed as best as I can. Sgt. Dawson and I took some video clips of us goofing around and training to get ready for our upcoming operations. Once we start operating we should have more videos and some more news for you. Good luck on becoming a Marine and maybe I'll run into you down the road.

It's Yankee season again... but you know that. I just wanted to see what's going on with you and let you know I'm thinking of you and all the guys. You know where we were 4 years ago this month. Keep in touch.
Doc Perkins

Hey Doc,
Doesn't seem like it was 4 years already. Every spring break I'm in a combat zone. What the hell. How are you doing? Thanks for the e-mail and the support. Hope all is well. Let's Go Yankees! Keep in touch.

Sgt. Dawson, thanks for the answer to my e-mail. I was watching FOX News "Americas Pulse" and E.D. Hill read my e-mail and your answer! That was great I enjoyed that big time to see it on TV once again thanks for the answers to my questions about the show! I feel at the end of this thing you should write a book about what it takes to be a Marine from boot camp to the battlefield. I would buy it! Take care of yourself and your Marines I pray for you everyday.
Randy McMurry
Anniston, AL

Sgt. Dawson:

Hello again. Thanks for the e-mail. I'm excited to hear that your e-mail and to hear my answer was on the show made my day! Thank you for your support and prayers and the motivation to write a book. I would but I don't have the patience to do it but thanks I'm happy to know I have one person who would buy my book. Thanks again,

Keep your head down! Can you describe anything about the weather and terrain in the general area where you are? Are you in a tent camp or a base with actual structures and buildings?.Keep safe (as best you can).
A proud Marine mom

Dear Robin,
The weather here is hot and dry (and…) the terrain here is rugged, lots of sand and mountains…we live in big tents with air conditioning that can fit most of the platoon and we sleep on cots. Some of the guys have bought small carpets in an attempt to make the tent feel more like “home”…For me the cots are the only bad part about the living conditions, they don’t have much cushion and I feel like an old man when I wake up.
Scott Atwell

Thank you so much for serving and protecting our country. The men and women you serve with are…always in my prayers.
Just two questions:
1) How do you stay cool in the extremely hot weather with all your gear on?
2) What is one good thing about the country you are stationed at?

Dear Karen,
Thank you and I’ll let the guys know you’re thinking about them. …we do have some gear that will keep us as cool as possible. We have a flame retardant blouse and trousers that are actually lighter and more breathable then the standard blouse and trousers we wear back in the states. I haven’t had a chance to get outside the base and see the country yet because we are in a preparation phase now, but it is interesting to see how many different countries’ armed services are on the base.
Scott Atwell

I saw the outstanding segment the other day featuring fellow Staten Islanders Sgt. Dawson and his wife…I'd like to hear your impressions in your contacts with the Afghanistan people…and thank you for your service to a grateful nation.
Jim Benson
Staten Island, NY

Dear Jim,
It’s always good to talk to another Islander…we are still in the early stages of our deployment and haven’t gotten into our Area of Operations, therefore we have not been able to speak with or interact with the local Afghan people…when I do start interacting with the Afghan people I will get you that answer, I promise.
Thanks again for your support
Sgt. Dawson

Sgt. Dawson,
I have watched the making of Marines 4-5 times and enjoy watching you guys become Marines!! Are some of the people still in the Corp besides yourself? And do you plan to stay in and make a career out of the Marines? I know you're good to go! A fan from down in Alabama Semper Fi love it till I die !!!! Take care be safe brother.
Randy McMurry

Hey thanks for the motivation, I’m glad to hear that you watched I and others become Marines. I don’t know who is still in the Corps or who isn’t. I have met up with one of the twins in Quantico, he was on the Marine Corps wrestling team and I believe he was getting out. As for myself I’m still undecided as to what I’m going to do. I might get out and look for a job that requires Marine Infantry tactics to stay in my line of work.
Thanks again for your support and your questions.
Sgt. Dawson

I have a question in regards to the human interest part of the mission. I would like to hear stories of how they are coping with life away from the U.S., families, and how the Marines keep busy before and after missions…I would like to thank all who are serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thank you,
Kekoa T.
Seattle, WA

Kekoa T.,

Thank you for your question and your support! Right now we are still early in our deployment so The Marines have one thing in mind and that is the operations that will take place in the future. Most Marines are coping with being away from home very well and are relying on each other for support. Each Marine has a buddy that will be there at all times, we call them battle buddies, and they are as close as twins. So for now they are doing very well and are anxious to start working. We again haven’t had any missions, so there really isn’t any answer for that question, but I can tell you this by observing the Marines, they will be just fine and take care of each other.
Thanks again for your support and hope I answered your questions.
Sgt. Dawson

Just an aging Vietnam vet wishing you the best on your tour to Afghanistan. Keep your head low and attitude high.
God Bless,
Jim Hill

Cpl. Atwell,
I saw you and your parents on FOX News today.
My thoughts and prayers will be with you. I believe most Americans are for you. The news seems to think that each individual should decide whether on not when and where we should be in the world.
I am 75 years old and a Korean War veteran, but only trained stateside.
I know how young people are about war and that's good. My brother gave his life on the battlefield in WWII. I don't think old people would be very good at fighting.
Sam Fretwell
Eden, NC

I do not have any questions, I just want to thank you and all of our service people for your service to are country. I do not know you or you know me but we are Americans. My entire family loves you all.
Be safe,
Semper Fi
Randall Rockel

I have no question. I just want to salute Sgt. Dawson and Cpl. Atwell as well as all the other servicemen giving their lives in the service of this great country.
My hat's off to you Sgt. Dawson and Cpl. Atwell.

Let them know how much we love them for what they are doing and will be praying for them.
Buddy and Nancy Harris

I just saw your story online about the Marines from Camp Lejeune, NC deploying to Afghanistan. I am from Myrtle Beach, SC and am very familiar with the Marines from that area. I would love to be able to correspond and send care packages to some of the soldiers there. If you could please let me know how to do this I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you both for your service! Please extend this thank you to your families.
Be safe,
A thankful family in Illinois,
Lisa Mariottini
P.S. Need any goodies? Drop a line.