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Wisconsin Pen Pal of Soldier Dies
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ^ | December 22, 2005 | Meg Jones

Posted on 12/22/2005 6:24:26 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin

CAMP NAVISTAR, KUWAIT - The sergeant held a stack of letters written by Sunday school students - fanned out like a deck of cards - and Spc. Martin Mcgee picked one.

He looked at the name on the envelope: Megan. In the letter written in pencil in neat penmanship, Megan asked what it was like to be a soldier in Iraq. She asked the soldier who opened her letter to write back.

Mcgee wrote back.

He told her what it's like here in the desert, and he sent her a picture of himself in his green uniform and helmet, holding his M-4 rifle. So began a pen pal relationship that ended last month with the tragic death of one of the letter writers.

The girl who wrote the letter in Sunday school last summer was Megan Obbink.

The Cedar Grove girl who drowned with her dad while ice skating the day after Thanksgiving has traveled throughout this war-torn region in the pocket of a Wisconsin soldier, who was so touched by Megan's words that he always carries one of her letters and photos when he heads out on dangerous missions guarding supply convoys in Iraq.

The unlikely pair - a 20-year-old soldier from Hortonville who wants to be a teacher someday and a 10-year-old girl who sang in her church choir and had a dog named Charlie - intersected by chance.

It was mid-September in Kuwait when Mcgee, who is stationed at this outpost on the Kuwait-Iraq border with the Appleton-based 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, randomly picked Megan's letter.

"When I got her letter, I looked it over and said, 'Well, these questions aren't hard.' I thought she just wanted to know what it's like," Mcgee said this week, shortly after returning from a four-day mission in Iraq.

"When you take that step to write back, you know there's a person on the other end of the letter. When you send a letter back, you make a connection."

Mcgee, a gunner who also works in the battalion's tactical operations center, frequently e-mails friends and family, but Megan was the first person he sent a letter to via snail mail.

Megan was ecstatic to hear from Mcgee, who quickly became "her soldier" - her link to the war in Iraq, said her aunt, Carol Mentink.

"He had sent her a picture of himself with some of the people from that area," Mentink said in a phone interview this month. "Megan wrote back and said, 'Which one are you?' - which is pretty sweet because it's pretty obvious which one is him."

She excitedly told her Sunday school class at Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Cedar Grove that she had received a letter all the way from Kuwait. Of the four pupils who wrote letters to servicemen, she was the only one to get a reply.

"This was just her own personal soldier to hear from," said her Sunday school teacher, Sandy Veldboom.

In her second letter, she wrote:

Dear Martin, It's Megan! I liked the picture you sent me. Were the people next to the motor bike good or bad? Are you holding a tranquilizer gun? What is that thing on your hat? Do you get hot in all the Army clothes? I am 10. Are there any bombs there? My church is praying for you and all the army men. Is the Army fun? I hope you find Bin Laden. From Megan. P.S. Please send more pictures.

The "thing on his hat" was night vision goggles attached to Mcgee's helmet.

The letter, folded neatly in quarters, always travels with Mcgee.

"I carry it with me, so Megan has been to Iraq. She's been everywhere," he said.

Megan meant so much to Mcgee that he keeps in the cargo pocket of his uniform a picture of her getting a piggyback ride from one of her older sisters. He had planned to visit her when he returned home from the war next summer.

Mcgee meant so much to Megan that she spent part of her Thanksgiving holiday writing a letter wishing him a happy Thanksgiving. The letter was picked up from the mailbox at her family's rural home the day she died.

It arrived at Camp Navistar the next week. By then, Mcgee knew.

His battalion commander, Lt. Col. Todd Taves, had received an e-mail from his wife, whose mother was Megan's Sunday school teacher. Taves sought out Mcgee and told him.

"The first thing that popped into my head was it wasn't supposed to happen that way. Something should have happened to me, not Megan," Mcgee said.

That cruel twist of fate was not lost on Veldboom, who thought about the possibility that one of her Sunday school students might have to face the news that his or her soldier had been killed in action.

"You never know; they may have to hear some very sad news about the person they were writing to," Veldboom said. "That would be what we would think before we would ever think about something happening to a little girl going ice skating."

Mcgee sent an e-mail to Megan's family through the funeral home, telling them how much the inquisitive little girl and her letters had meant to him and how much she had changed his life. Her family received it on the day of the funeral for her and her father, Brian Obbink, 44, who died trying to save Megan.

Among the many survivors named in Megan's obituary was Mcgee, whose photo and condolence letter were framed and displayed at the funeral. "I was honored. I felt humbled by that," Mcgee said. "It was touching that I meant so much to her."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Wisconsin; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: drowning; iraq; penpals
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*SNIF* Yeah. Our military members are such a bunch of murderous thugs! /Sarcasm directed right between the eyes of Looney Liberals everywhere!
1 posted on 12/22/2005 6:24:26 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Watery Tart; KRAUTMAN; reformedliberal; Mygirlsmom; codercpc; s2baccha; ozaukeemom; PjhCPA; ...

'Touching Story About a Little Girl and Her Soldier' Ping!


2 posted on 12/22/2005 6:26:13 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: SJackson

You gotta read this, too. Get out the tissues! Ping as you see fit. ;)


3 posted on 12/22/2005 6:27:01 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

OH, jeez...what a sad, touching story. I really have no words...just damn. (to borrow a phrase).


4 posted on 12/22/2005 6:33:07 PM PST by Txsleuth
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To: Diana in Wisconsin


Well that brought on a good cry. God Bless Megan and her soldier.


5 posted on 12/22/2005 6:33:18 PM PST by ninergold3 (aka GiantsPrincess)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Wow, that really brought tears to my eyes. That is so sad.


6 posted on 12/22/2005 6:33:36 PM PST by confederate_infidel (Tunafish: tastes like Santa's reindeer.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Thank you for posting this. The poor Obbink family, having lost Megan and her dad do tragically, and poor Sgt. Megee.

It's real easy for Guard soldiers to make that kind of personal connexion -- both to the folks at home and to the folks in-country.

I thought what the BC and his Sunday-School teacher wife did was a class act.

And let this be a message to the guys, too -- if you get an "any soldier" letter from a kid, write back. You could be doing a world of good.

In our FOB we had a lot of patriotic scribbles by five and seven year old hanging up all over the place... that, and a letter from Roger Donlon (the first MOH in our regiment, and the first in Vietnam). I dunno what COL (ret) Donlon would think that his was the only letter hanging up that was written by an adult!

d.o.l.

Criminal Number 18F


7 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:04 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F
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To: StarCMC; Bethbg79; bentfeather; EsmeraldaA; MoJo2001; Kathy in Alaska; Brad's Gramma; ...
Here you'll need these
8 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:05 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

ping


9 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:20 PM PST by MikefromOhio (It's amazing that a guy says he wants to nuke parts of America ON FR, but he doesn't get zotted)
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To: Valin; Coop

misty eyed bump


10 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:39 PM PST by nuconvert (No More Axis of Evil by Christmas ! TLR) [there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword Israel.

---------------------------

11 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:39 PM PST by SJackson (There's no such thing as too late, that's why they invented death. Walter Matthau)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Oh my goodness. This made me cry. God bless that poor little girl, her father, and the family left behind.

That soldier is an excellent example of the best of the best this country has to offer. God bless him and all our troops.


12 posted on 12/22/2005 6:34:48 PM PST by conservativebabe
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To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; MozartLover; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this Upper Midwest (and anyone else) list, largely rural and outdoors issues, please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.
13 posted on 12/22/2005 6:35:12 PM PST by SJackson (There's no such thing as too late, that's why they invented death. Walter Matthau)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

awesome story. so sad.


14 posted on 12/22/2005 6:35:22 PM PST by mosquitobite (As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
You gotta read this, too. Get out the tissues! Ping as you see fit. ;)

I did, I fear commetary is beyond me.

15 posted on 12/22/2005 6:36:10 PM PST by SJackson (There's no such thing as too late, that's why they invented death. Walter Matthau)
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To: MikeinIraq

Yep! Already sent it on to a FRLadies ping list with a severe tissue warning.


16 posted on 12/22/2005 6:37:14 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Hard to reply though the tears.


17 posted on 12/22/2005 6:37:35 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance (I miss my dad.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
*SNIF* Yeah. Our military members are such a bunch of murderous thugs! /Sarcasm directed right between the eyes of Looney Liberals everywhere!

Yeah I guess this is what they do when they are not terrorizing woman and children in their homes.(Sarcasm)

18 posted on 12/22/2005 6:39:10 PM PST by mware (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL.")
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Words elude me. Just numb.


19 posted on 12/22/2005 6:41:27 PM PST by crazyhorse691 (Diplomacy doesn't work when seagulls rain on your parade. A shotgun and umbrella does.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

God Bless Megan and her dad and the family they left behind. God Bless Martin for answering her letters and sharing his time with her.


20 posted on 12/22/2005 6:41:49 PM PST by texas_mrs
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To: NYer

You might want to read this and pass it on to our group.

Prayers for all.


21 posted on 12/22/2005 6:47:31 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: Criminal Number 18F

I got a letter when I was in Kuwait. I'm not much of one for writing so I just sent a nice Post Card of the city back and thanked her for remembering soldiers overseas.

Doesn't take much effort and the "Free Mail" instead of a stamp must raise a few eyebrows.

So all you service members out there, if you get one in the mail at least send a short note thanking them.


22 posted on 12/22/2005 6:56:03 PM PST by PeteB570 (Guns, what real men want for Christmas)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Well there goes a box of tissues.


23 posted on 12/22/2005 6:59:41 PM PST by Mears (The Killer Queen)
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To: ninergold3

Amen


24 posted on 12/22/2005 7:05:53 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

More info

http://sheboygan-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051130/SHE0101/511300408/1062/SHEnews


25 posted on 12/22/2005 7:11:32 PM PST by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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To: TheDon

Link with pictures

http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/nov05/373620.asp


26 posted on 12/22/2005 7:15:09 PM PST by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/dec05/379638.asp

Direct link to piece may require registration. Pictures are here


27 posted on 12/22/2005 7:16:54 PM PST by UB355 (Slower traffic keep right >>>>>>>>>>>>>>)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
And yet a disgusting @sshole who wrote that pathetic letter to the wounded soldier lives and gloats about it.

Just isn't right.

28 posted on 12/22/2005 7:18:52 PM PST by Ladysmith ((NRA, SAS) Prepare for Override! Support Zien's PPA/CCW bill in Wisconsin.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; Diva Betsy Ross

Will Dakota Fanning be playing Megan in the movie, I wonder? This will be a movie some day, you know.


29 posted on 12/22/2005 7:19:25 PM PST by TaxRelief
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

that was so beautiful and so sad, I have goose bumps on top of goose bumps, and am having trouble seeing the screen


30 posted on 12/22/2005 7:38:23 PM PST by backinthefold (The holidays, where dysfunction rears its yuletide head. Merry Christmas y'all!!)
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To: SandRat

You were right, Sandy...I did need them. God rest her sweet soul!


31 posted on 12/22/2005 7:48:35 PM PST by LUV W (Everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL.-BD)
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To: SJackson; Army Air Corps
Oh, my gosh, what a sad, sad story... heartbreaking.

May Megan and her dad rest in peace.

32 posted on 12/22/2005 8:07:45 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: TaxRelief

Yup.. blnode and blue.

Sad, eh?...


33 posted on 12/22/2005 8:12:14 PM PST by JLO
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Thank you for posting this incredibly sad, very touching story.

Prayers for the family and for the soldier, and all the men and women who are serving.


34 posted on 12/22/2005 8:14:21 PM PST by Theresawithanh (You'll get me to stop posting on FR when you wrench my laptop from my cold, dead fingers!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

ping for a good cry


35 posted on 12/22/2005 8:16:37 PM PST by angelsonmyside
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To: Victoria Delsoul

Thanks for the ping.

What a tragic and, yet, heartwarming story.


36 posted on 12/22/2005 8:17:14 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Army Air Corps

Yes, it is.


37 posted on 12/22/2005 8:24:48 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: TaxRelief

I don't know why someone doesn't...make a movie of this or the 1,000's of other great stories coming out of this war.


38 posted on 12/22/2005 8:30:51 PM PST by Valin (Purple Fingers Rule!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Now that one made me cry.


39 posted on 12/22/2005 8:31:35 PM PST by McGavin999 (If Intelligence Agencies can't find leakers, how can we expect them to find terrorists?)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Touching in the extreme.


40 posted on 12/22/2005 8:32:54 PM PST by luvbach1 (Near the belly of the beast in San Diego)
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So difficult to read but so like an American soldier and a ten year old American girl--just plain great, decent people all the way around.

God bless Megan and Mcgee


41 posted on 12/22/2005 8:45:30 PM PST by krunkygirl
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Thanks for the post. Sad but wonderful. Americans like these make this country the light of the world.


42 posted on 12/22/2005 8:54:03 PM PST by Eagles6 (Dig deeper, more ammo.)
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bump


43 posted on 12/22/2005 9:08:13 PM PST by krunkygirl
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; Neets; Darksheare; scott0347; timpad; Conspiracy Guy; NYC GOP Chick; ...
'Touching Story About a Little Girl and Her Soldier' Ping!

Another Diana-owes-me-ANOTHER-monitor Ping!


44 posted on 12/22/2005 10:59:52 PM PST by Watery Tart ([W]ere not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. - Dick Cheney)
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To: Victoria Delsoul

a ping before nodding off.
bring kleenex


45 posted on 12/22/2005 11:09:13 PM PST by King Prout (many accuse me of being overly literal... this would not be a problem if many were not under-precise)
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To: Watery Tart

thanks for the ping


46 posted on 12/22/2005 11:09:41 PM PST by King Prout (many accuse me of being overly literal... this would not be a problem if many were not under-precise)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Words just won't suffice in a moment such as this. Prayers for Megan's family and SPC Martin McGee. sob


47 posted on 12/22/2005 11:21:36 PM PST by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Ladysmith
LS in case you hadn't heard, Josh has received over 8,000 cards in less than a month.
God Bless everyone of those brave men and women and God Bless everyone who sent Josh a card.
48 posted on 12/23/2005 12:50:49 AM PST by concretebob (We should give anarchists what they want. Then we can kill them and not worry about jailtime.)
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To: Watery Tart
WT, thanks for the PING..it's early here on the East Coast..I was up for my 4AM...
well, I was up at 4 AM..and just logged on for a quick peek..and you owe me a montitor..and a keyboard.
Bless you, Queen of the Lake..
49 posted on 12/23/2005 12:53:57 AM PST by concretebob (We should give anarchists what they want. Then we can kill them and not worry about jailtime.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

An early East Coast BUMP


50 posted on 12/23/2005 12:55:35 AM PST by concretebob (We should give anarchists what they want. Then we can kill them and not worry about jailtime.)
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