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Serving Marines and their families in the Phoenix

east valley area since 1982

PROJECT MARINE CARE DESCRIPTION, UPDATES, and Letters & emails we received back.

U. S. MARINES are serving around the world. Most in dangerous harm's way. In AFGHANISTAN, in the SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES, many are serving in several countries IN THE HORN OF AFRICA as well as additional countries not publicized by the popular press!  U.S MARINES, "THE FIRST TO FIGHT", ARE THERE NOW!   Many Marines  are struggling in breathless mountain heights, carrying loads of 50 to 100lbs, fighting a ruthless enemy who uses the terrain to his advantage, others are in sweltering jungles, while still other Marines are serving in harm's way in hot, dry deserts.


From 1917 to 1973 every young able-bodied male U.S. citizen was required to serve his country in the armed forces of the United States. Today’s warriors are men and woman who have volunteered to serve, many in the United States Marine Corps, taking an oath of God, Country, Duty, Honor and Corps. Consider: Today’s armed forces, totaling less than 1% of our total population, are defending the other 99% of us while we go shopping.


As you read this, many  Marines are serving in "COP's" (combat outposts} having no access to a PX (Post Exchange) to buy necessities and comfort items that are not government issued to them. YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN IN PROJECT MARINE CARE. We ship 10 to 15 lb. boxes of these items to combat Marines in  AFGHANISTAN, the Southern Philippines and the Horn of Africa. as well as other combat areas, some little known to you.  The Marine Corps League knows where they are, sees their requests and we are able to ship to them, thanks to hundreds of contributors just like you. (See the Marines’ most requested items below.)


Boxes and cards from the “folks back home” mean the world to these Marines. We know this from the letters, cards and emails we receive back. We will share them with you through Project Marine Care Updates. 


BE A PATRIOT and help us in this important effort by making a check payable to:


Marine Corps League Detachment 554


In the lower-left hand corner of your check please write: "Project Marine Care"


Please mail your check to:



MCL Saguaro Detachment 554   

P.O. Box 1671

Queen Creek, AZ 85142 


We will acknowledge your patriotic contribution with a "Thank You" Letter and your name will be included in a shipment of Care Boxes we send. 

Also, all contributions are tax deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes. Our EIN # is 86-0974976.


No contributions are too large or too small! For example, Recently, we are most grateful having received checks for $2,000.00 from U.S. Patriot DEEANN from Mesa $500 from the NRA,$500 from U.S. Patriots Doug & Linda in Livermore CA, $200 from U.S. Patriots Doc and Lynnette Stephenson and $25.00 from U.S. Patriot GABRIELLE who lives as far away as New York City. At our fundraisers most of donations are $1 or $5.  Many others have DONATED ITEMS which we include in our shipments. You can now Donate through PayPal on our Donations page at the top.





WHO WE ARE: We are volunteer (unpaid) veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps and veteran Navy Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen/women who served Honorably.

The MARINE CORPS LEAGUE, chartered by Congress in 1937 with a letter of tax exemption, is a non-profit corporation under Section 501 (c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Members are veteran Marines who have served on active duty honorably, as well as many current active duty Marines, and U. S. Navy Corpsmen who have served with the Marines. We are presently more than 70,000 strong. So deep is the spirit of “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) ingrained in Marines that, long after they have hung up the uniform for the last time, they still dare to call each other “Marine”. This is based on the Corps’ time honored saying “Once a Marine –Always a Marine.”  Our mission is to help all Marines in need, the sick, the wounded, their families as well as the families of deceased Marines that are in need, and Marine veterans in need, particularly those in VA hospitals. Our Marine veterans work with youth ages 8 to 17 through our “Young Marines”Program, teaching leadership, discipline, a drive for academic achievement, drug avoidance, fitness and citizenship. The Marine Corps League's "Marines Helping Marines" is of great importance to us. This program helps combat wounded Marines hospitalized in Navy hospitals such as Balboa Naval Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital.


“Most requested” items by U.S. Marines in combat zones:

 AA & AAA Batteries (No lithium batteries can be shipped)

Avon Bug Guard (Skin So Soft)

Baby Wipes/moist towelettes

Beef Jerky/Slim Jims

Boot socks, brown

Breakfast/Snack bars

Canned fruits/meats/chili

Cereal, small boxes

Coffee, instant

Collapsible Water Container (for Kool Aid)


Dinty Moore Dinners

Hot chocolate

Hot sauce

Insect repellant

Instant Oatmeal

International Phone Cards

Kool Aid packets

Lip Balm

News, motor, gun, magazines/Books (action fiction).

Mints,hard candy (any kind)


Nuts, Pretzels


Papers, pens, envelopes

Playing Cards



Soap (low or non-fragrent)



Update:  May 2014


We send Care Packages once each month. Our next "Project Marine Care" packing day is scheduled for Saturday, 5 April 2014, beginning at 0830 hours. If you would like to participate or are able to donate items, please let us know on the "Contact Us" link on this website.


With the May 2014 packing we reached 2,064 care boxes shipped!


We ship the U.S. Postal System's large flat rate boxes.The average cost per box, including postage, is around $50.00 per box at the present time. 


The following will provide you with a description of our monthly shipments in the past and letters of thanks from the troops:


On May 4th, 2014m we received the following Thank you via email:


On Sunday, May 4, 2014 1:37 AM, Perez SSgt Carlos (USS Gunston Hall) <carlos.perez@gunston-hall.usmc.mil> wrote:
Sir, I want to apologize for not replying sooner, I believe I received all 26 packages, and cannot thank you enough for all your support, the Marines in my platoon have enjoyed those boxes very much and even became as life savers during our past exercise that lasted a few weeks in Africa, it was quite challenging for some of the Marines and thanks to the goods in your care packages it helped maintain the moral high, we received the packages prior to getting off the boat and the boys were able to stuck on stuff in order to keep them going while sustaining operations. Once again sir thank you very much for all that you do for us.

SSgt Perez, Carlos A.
1st Bn 6th Mar Charlie Co. 1st Plt Sgt


On February 9 we received the following Thank You via email:

 SSgt Metcalf,
    First and foremost, I wanted to say thank you for the many care
packages you sent for my guys out here. They were well received. It's always
nice to get care packages from fellow Devil Dogs because they know what to
send and what Marines need and want out here! I am the platoon commander out
here, so I have plenty of guys to spread the goods around. We also have a
lot of troops coming and going through my shop every day so I have plenty of
hands to fill.

I saw that you are a part of the Marine Corps League in Mesa. That's my home
town. Lived there my whole life until I enlisted out of the office in the
Superstition Mall. Then I came back from 2010 to 2013 to be a recruiter in
that exact same office. Good to know that the home town folks are
appreciative! Hope the weather back there is better than it is out here. Us
Arizona folk don't do good in the cold and it's been snowing and freezing
cold. I'll be one of the few that actually welcomes the heat!

Anyway, tell all those warriors in detachment 554 that we thank all of you.

Semper Fidelis

SSgt Stewart 



On February 1, 2014 With the help of Girl Scout Troop #901, we shipped 20 box to:

 SSgt Brett Stewart
CLB 7, TS Co, LS Plt
Unit 46091
APO AP 96427-6091

  and 4 boxes to:

Sgt. Evan Carr
D Co. 1-67AR
2 BCT, 4th I D
Camp Beuhring
APO AE 09330

 Bringing our total shipped to 2,028.


On December 14  we shipped 24 care boxes to an Marine unit in Afghanistan.


On 2 November, 2013, we shipped 20 care boxes to 1st CEB Mobility Assault Company Marines in Afghanistan.

 In response we received the following email on 15 November:

"The Marines of Mobility Assault Company want to extend a huge Thank You for your generous contribution. The other day, we received 20 boxes; enough for the entire company to get a little something. The Copenhagen was by far the most appreciated item in the entire box! Thanks again for the generosity you have extened to our Marines and we hope to hear from you again!"

 Semper Fidelis

1st LT Neal Amoto



 On 5 September we shipped 24 care packages to a Marine Corps post in the Philippines, bringing the total number of boxes shipped to 1,946.

On 5 October we shipped  and 2 November we shipped 24 boxes each to Marine Corps units in Afghanistan.


On 15 September we received the following email:

" Hello I'm L/Cpl Aversa,

The Marines and I just picked up your packages. I would like to thank you. We currently are extremely busy and the bars and other items to eat on the go are greatly appreciated! The boxes always gve us motivation to keep goingwith our jobs out here.

God bless you guys and Semper Fidelis.

L/Cpl Aversa, Ashley R., USMC 


On 20 September we received the following email to our PMC Coordinator, Marine Jeff Metcalf:

"Good afternoon Sir,

  "I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to put together the care packages that you sent.It really means a lot to receive things from back home. I've lived overseas now coming on two years and it's really opened my eyes for things we take for granted every day that we live in the U.S. I'm so thankful to be an American and to be able to continue to serve our nation after veterans such as yourself. You of all people probably understand exactly where I'm coming from being a fellow Marine. From all of us here at Joint Special Operations- Philipipines, thank you for your service and for your continuos support of the troops.

Semper Fidelis!" 

Adam K. Horn, Sergeant, USMC 


On 18 August, 2013 we shipped 24 boxes of books, thanks to donor Rubin Acosta, to an U.S. Army unit: Bravo Co 13-7 Infantry Battalion.


We also shipped 24 boxes of various care items to Brian Brazil at USN SE/HQ/ISAF CMD GROUP. This brought our total number of care boxes shipped to troops serving in harm's way to 1,917. 


In early July, 2013 we shipped 24 boxes to a U.S. Army unit and received the following letter:

24 July 2013. Letter received from Brandon Cook, U.S. Army Unit B Co. 2/3 GSAB, TaskForce Knighthawk:

"Dear Mr Metcalf andSaguaro Detachment 554, 

I just wanted to thank you for a care package received by me today. There are a lot of things I can definitely use and share with our soldiers. Thanks again. I'll be out of here shortly and on my way home in less than 1 month. Take care.


Brandon Cook" 


5 January 2013.  Saguaro Detachment 554 shipped 24 more care boxes to another U.S. Marine unit in Afghanistan. Our Detachment continues to raise funds for this effort at the Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona "Crossroads of The West" Gun Shows, as well as other venues such as "Arizona Bike Week".. Also, we have numerous individual contributors who help us. Thank you!! This brings our total number of Care Boxes shipped to 1,797.


8 December; we shipped 24 care boxes to a U.S. Marine unit serving in Afghanistan. This brought the total number of care boxes shipped by us to 1,716. We ship the large flat rate boxes. Our average cost per care box has risen to $53.00, including $13.45 postage per box.


3 November: Project Marine Care packing day. 24 care boxes were shipped to a U. S. Marine unit serving in the Southern Philippines.


29 September: We shipped 25 care boxes to U.S. Marine Special Ops unit JSOTF, LZ Doberman operating in the Southern Philipinnes. This brings the total number of care boxes shipped by us to 1,692.


 10 September. We received a 3'X5', U.S. Flag with a certificate from Bravo Company, 2-25 AVN RGT in Afghanistan. This was from a Special Forces combat operation.


The certificate and flag was brought home for us by Army Company 1st Sgt Thomas Spies who was on this mission and tucked this folded flag into his flight jacket. It was delivered to us this morning by his father and mother. The certificate is inscribed as follows:


  "To all who see this: This flag has been flown on a combat mission in a UH60L Blackhawk Helicoptor, in the face of the enemy, and bears witness to the destruction, capture, detention and interrogation of terrorist forces threatening the freedom of the United States of America and the world. Mission date 24 June 2012." 


(In March, 2012 we had shipped 20 care boxes to the above Bravo Company 2-25 AVN RGT).   


   Project Marine Care is in need of soft cover (paperback) action books as well as magazines to include in our care packages to troops in Afghanistan.

Magazines that Marines like to read concern the subjects of hunting, fishing, guns, cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.


    Our care boxes have included Baby Wipes , soap, shampoo, deodorant, tooth brushes, tooth paste lip balm, boot socks, large bags of dried blueberries and cherries, fruit bars, Cliff Bars, two kinds of granola bars, powdered soft drinks, cans of salmon, packages of beef jerky,  paperback books, magazines, 100 minute telephone calling cards,and, most importantly "Thank you for serving" cards.


There are many Marine COPs (Combat Outposts) manned by the "grunts" who are the "tip of the spear", so to speak. Their living conditions are primitive and uncomfortable, to say the least. They deserve our unyielding support and gratitude.



We have recently received the following letter from the Marines and Sailors of Charlie Company, Ist Combat Engineers Battalion in Afghanistan:


" Dear Saguaro Detachment 554, 

     "When your care packages came in it is HQ's job to get them out to platoons that are located in the Northern Helmand Provence. We would like to thank you for the support and thinking of us during this deployment."


   "Charlie Company is right where the action is. We would not want it any other way. Our HQ is located in a place called Delaram. We provide engineering support to RCT-6. Our company HQ staff is small, however we are the command and control for 3 platoons, which provide engineering operations for 3 infantry battalions. We provide mobility,survivability, and force protection to these infantry battalions."   


   "We hope this tells you a little about us and, again, thank you for your support."


"Semper Fi"


"The Marines and Sailors of Charlie Company"



Not to be forgotten are our Army brothers and sisters. So we shipped 25 Care Boxes to an Army helicopter unit which, importantly, supports front line troops. This unit is HHC 1-2 AVN TF Gunfighter.


Here are 3 "thank you" coms received back from them:


"Wow! y'all put together a great box of goodies! I imagine you must have some experience knowing what you want being away from home. Thank you! I am currently working in the air movement requests cell for my task force. I am an Apache AH-64D pilot with 1-2 ATK. Life is tolerable over here, but it sure will be good to get home!

Thanks again!

Capt Erin Methered


Another, this time by email:


"Special thanks from me, a 2nd Lt in TF Gunfighter, to Saguaro Detachment 554. We appreciate the packages along with the thoughts and prayers from everyone in Mesa Arizona. The packages brought all of our soldiers smiles and warm hearts knowing they are being thought of all over the world by people who don't even know us.

We cannot thank you enough. God bless."

Candice N. Bryan

2nd LT, SC

Platoon Leader 


One more, via email:


"First off I would personally thank all of you. We have received your care packages and all of the magnificent things inside them. Everything will or has been put to good use. The scrapbook-like greeting cards are a revelation. They are really pleasant and it helps the morale of the troops to see something homemade. We appreciate all of your contributions to support us. It's people like you that make deployments bearable.

Again,thanks for the support and love."

SFC Compton, Anthony K.


TF Gunfighter 


 Over the years of sending care packages we have received some very interesting letters back. Below are some of the most interesting along with a description of PROJECT MARINE CARE:


My name is Chief Harris. I'm stationed in Jacksonville, FL. I'm married and my wife (Christina) is due to have my 5th / our 2nd daughter (Rakhel-19, Roshel-16, Quanneysha-14, Reagan-2, and Rylie Mackenzie-due in Dec). I'm a former Marine 0311, 8151, 8511 "OOH-RAH". I was forced out of the Marines for HYT (wore Sgt for almost 8 of my 12.5 yrs, but SSGT in the grunts was bottle-neck and though an outstanding recourd and 3 year tour on the drill field couldn't get me over. Exited the Corps / Mar 1997 and worked as a Counselor / Mentor for DJJ before returning to the Navy in July 2002. I got dropped in rank to Seaman / E-3 to enter and God took over and 5 years later, I entered the Hallowed Community of Navy Chief Petty Officers. I'm still truly Humbled and Blessed to be one of His Children...


Just wanted to take this opportunity to say "THANK YOU" for the care package. Again, I'm a Navy Chief, former Marine Corps SGT(SQDLDR, PLTSGT, MSG, DI / SDI). I'm presently serving in ARSIC-S, Kandahar, Afghanistan. To receive your care package reminds me of the first time I ever received a care package, sitting in the Saudi Desert and wondering who would send such joy, but NOT send a replying address. This go round, you were different and know that we here in harms way (especially down South) don't always get to go to the exchange and a little love from home goes a long way. Again, thanks tons and may God continue to pour out His blessings upon you and the entire league...


Your sons from 2/7 are down here also and they're preparing for a changeover with the brothers from 8th Marines out of Lejuene...


Semper Fi / Go Navy...


VR/ Chief









Dear Bill Archer,

You don't know me, my name is Brian Archer, L/Cpl USMC, and I am in Hoopi's squad and we are good friends. Hoopi had to go back on medical leave, he is doing fine, but we in his squad received your packages today and it made our day.- Christmas in June! Thank you so much for your support.  On another note, my Dad also served in the Corps, Chuck Archer, MSgt (ret), just wondering if you two might know each other.  Anyway, we are in good health here in A Co. and can't wait for our return to the good old USA. It's hot here and the days & nights are difficult, but God is faithful to supply our needs. We have Bible study nightly and have services that we do when the Chaplin can't make it out here to the front. I lead the services and I can say that truly is a blessing.  Well Bill, thank you and everyone involved in Project Marine Care for all of us out here in the front in Afghanistan.

Ooorah and Semper Fi

L/Cpl Archer, Brian USMC, 0311

And The Boys from A Co. 1st Plt, 1/6


The following letter was received from SSgt Justin A. Petit, a member of a Marine Air Group and whose job it is to 'keep 'em flying'.  He manages personnel in the Maintenance Control Dept. working on CH53Es. Many people forget that Marines are often called upon to perform humanitarian missions as well as combat missions. You can see from his letter that SSgt Pettit is equally dedicated to the humanitarian missions.

Dear Mr Archer and fellow members,

Thank you for the snacks, magazines and other items that you have sent. I thank you on behalf of my fellow Marines.  I am from a small town in Indiana named Elizabeth, population 425. Not big but highly missed. I have now served 13 years in the Marine Corps.  A lot of people do not respect the way of life they lead. The greatest thing in my life is the opportunity the Marine Corp gives me to lead and to help change the lives of others for the better. Just as many of you have done so in the past.  I would like thank you Marine veterans for paving the way for today's Corps and creating the leaders of today.  We are currently performing missions by air to Africa that help stabilize their way of life. The best sight in the world is the happiness we bring to others. The skills we are teaching them are helping them build a better way of life.  I am glad to see that there are still people in the world that are still looking out for our troops. We are greatly thankful.  We all know that the world will always be in in turmoil in some location. By the same token we all know that when the orders come down, we Marines will be the first to be there -- by sea, in the air and on the ground. Glad to take over where you left off.

Thank you, again, for supporting our troops.

Semper Fidelis

Justin A. Pettit