Soldiers go online with love letters from Chad
THEY'RE 5,000km away from home in the middle of a desert, but that didn't stop dozens of Irish troops from sending their loved ones Valentine's greetings this weekend.
Thanks to social networking sites Flickr and Facebook, more than two dozen members of the Irish Defence Force's 102nd Infantry Battalion based in Goz Beida, Chad, have sent their wives, girlfriends and families special Valentine's greetings.
Pictured in mess hall uniforms or in their army fatigues with the African desert in the background, the troops were able to convey messages to their loved ones at home.
Corporal Alan Smith wrote: "To my beautiful Elizabeth, Happy Valentine's Day and happy first anniversary. I'm missing you like crazy. Love you now and forever. Thank you for being my soulmate."
Cpl Kevin Campbell also summed up the feelings of many of the 400 troops stationed in Chad as part of the UN peace enforcement mission.
"Hi Gemma. Happy Valentine's Day honey. Miss you loads and hope you are keeping well, just want to say that I love you very much and I'm taking your advice and staying out of trouble. And don't worry -- I'll be home before you know it."
Army spokesman Capt Pat O'Connor said the 'From Chad with Love' message campaign helps to boost morale for the troops and their loved ones back home. They ran a similar campaign at Christmas, as well as during previous postings in Kosovo.
"The families at home love getting messages -- despite the soppy ones," he joked.