The magic words on the battalion's radio network, "Mail is ready for pickup," sparked excitement in A Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment.
Overstuffed letters and carefully taped boxes, all with U.S. Postal Service markings, came as a surprise by truck from Kuwait.
Spc. Luke Edwards of Raleigh, N.C., inhaled deeply the perfumed scent of an envelope holding a letter from his wife. Then he ripped into it with an ear-to-ear grin.
"She joined a gym ... she got a better job," said Edwards, 22. "Nothing could be better right now. This is the closest thing to going home."
There were also packages of snacks and letter-writing materials sent to "Any Soldier" from supporters back home -- everything made more precious because it was unexpected.
Spc. Shaun Urwiler, 26, received letters from his fiancee and his parents in Tampa, Fla., filled with snapshots from home. His fiancee, Emily McFarland, sent photos of his cocker spaniel, Sparky, and a new armoire for their future home.
Urwiler was disappointed he couldn't write back right away; mail has yet to be shipped. "I keep a diary, so I can tell them about it when I get home."