BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (April 22, 2014) – Throughout
America, Girl Scouts have been selling cookies to send to deployed
troops in a program they call, “Operation Cookie.”
Troop #50469, in Moon Township, Pa., spent three weekends selling
cookies for U.S. Army Maj. Matthew Starsnic and the 10th Mountain
Division (Light Infantry) Soldiers deployed in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom in Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, during their own
operation: Troop Gifts of Caring.
U.S. Army Maj. Matthew Starsnic (center) poses with fellow 10th
Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Soldiers: Chief Warrant Officer 3
Andrea Ebanks-Joyner, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ron Johnson, Capt.
Matthew Gowens, and Spc. Blake Anderson, surrounded with Girl Scout
cookies, at Bagram Air Field, April 18, 2014. Girl Scout Troop
#50469, of Moon Township, Pa., donated 240 boxes of cookies to 10th
Mountain Division deployed troops through their Operation Sweet
Appreciation. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim)
The start of their annual Girl Scout cookie sale
coincided with the deployment of the 10th Mtn. Div. Troop
leaders Kelly Burgan, Beth Koishal and Maranda Wisniewski,
decided that they would send cookies to the Soldiers to show
“We showed the girls pictures of Matt
and his family and talked to them about what a long
deployment can be like for Soldiers and their Families,”
said Burgan. “The girls planned to ask each cookie customer
to donate a box of cookies to the Soldiers of the 10th
As part of the operation, the scouts offered their
customers an option to buy a box for deployed troops;
Customers bought 240 boxes. They accumulated so many cookies
that the shipping costs became a real issue. That problem
was resolved by generous personal donations from members of
the Greensburg Knights of Columbus and the Keystone Rod and
Gun Club. Club members from these organizations gladly
pitched in to cover their shipping costs.
Nine-year-old Charlotte Burgan, Starsnic's niece, and her
fellow scouts stood outside a Moon Township department store
asking customers if they wanted to buy cookies, or if they
wanted to buy a box for a deployed Soldier.
you like to donate a box of cookies to the Soldiers of the
10th Mountain Division? They are on duty in Afghanistan,”
was Charlotte and other scouts' sales pitch to their
“We thought that this option,
physically taking charge of the cookies, would help the
girls to have a better understanding of how our donations
worked and who they helped,” said Burgan.
who is from Pittsburgh, serves as a plans officer in 10th
Mtn. Div. Years ago, he served with Chief Warrant Officer 2
Ron Johnson, in Battery B, 1st Battalion, 77th Field
Artillery Regiment (Multiple Launch Rocket System) in
Kuwait. Then, Starsnic was a battery operations and a fire
directions officer and Johnson was a survey noncommissioned
officer. Through three more deployments with different
units, both ended up assigned to the 10th Mountain Div.'s
Headquarters and deployed again in Afghanistan.
Kelly, Starsnic's sister-in-law, sent a care package to
Johnson during his last deployment, but it never arrived.
So, this time, she and the rest of the troop decided to send
him what never got to him last time, and in turn, Starsnic
and Johnson decided to spread the wealth and the calories to
the rest of their unit.
“I sincerely appreciate the
efforts of the Girl Scouts to make our day a little
brighter,” Starsnic said. “Soldiers from every section of
the Mountain Division have been appreciative of the
Starsnic, Johnson and few other Soldiers
helped put the boxes of cookies, with personal notes
attached, for the other Soldiers in the headquarters. It
took less than an hour, all the cookies were gone.
By U.S. Army Master Sgt. Kap Kim
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