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Please take the time to read this- it is very important.
I recently got an e-mail from a forum member named Pete Berkenkamp, who has worked very hard over the years to collect donations of just about anything to send to US troops serving in far away lands.  Pete does this in his own time, and often at his own expense simply because he feels that it needs to be done.

Some of you may remember our donation event last year- well this one is a little more urgent.  Last year it was just helping soldiers, this time it's soldiers in need.  Here is the information that Pete sent on to me:

Approved by Site Staff*
I received a call yesterday from another ARFCOM Team Member (Protus) about a very close friend of his who is a Master SGT with the 2/6 Marines based out of Camp LeJeune.
MSG Brian Cooney is the Ops Chief for Weapons Company, 2/6 Marines.
Brian and his fellow Marines in his unit are due to be deployed again to Iraq at the end of February. They were sent out to California for 6 weeks of additional training. As they were preparing to board the flight to return home, TSA officials told them that they could not board with much of their gear (personally owned). All of thier edged weapons and multi-tools were confiscated. Marine Security forces and TSA officials arranged for all of the knives and tools to be placed in a seperate box, placed with the other gear in cargo and would be waiting for them when they arrived in NC.
The long and short of it is the seperate box never made it and had "disappeared." I don't have all the details yet, but MSG Cooney will be along soon to share his story and experience with ARFCOM. He is an avid hunter, sportsman and shooter who cares for his men. As it stands right now, 160 Marines will be deploying in Feb sans edged weapons and multi-tools.
In discussing this with Protus and a few other friends and family, we are offering a Gold membership and a few bronze memberships via raffle for all those who can donate a knife or multi-tool for this worthy cause.
I know that times are tough for many of us, but things are going to get much tougher for these young Marines. Additionally, I encourage all of you to write your congressional representatives and let them know how you feel about the TSA taking vital tools away from our fighting service men and women.
Thank you all in advance for your generosity! Feel free to IM me or Protus for additional information.
Edit: I will try and get a list of what is needed from MSG Cooney as soon as possible. I will post it here along with and address that items can be sent.
I haven't spoken to MSG Cooney yet, but from what I understand, what was taken was by the TSA were Gerber and Leatherman Multi-tools, folding pocket knives such as SOG Flashes, Buck folding knives, Gerbers etc., and fixed blade knives with blades as well.
***UPDATE #2 2:25pm 12/22/06
I just got off the phone with MSG Cooney. He has read through the thread and would like me to share a few things with the ARFCOM community. First and foremost, he wants you all to know that this is NOT a Nigerian Scam. He hasn't asked for anything. This wasn't his idea and only learned of it from his wife who had contacted PROTUS. He is truly humbled by our generosity and is extremely grateful for anything we can give.
Secondly, NO MILITARY GEAR WAS TAKEN. All items confiscated were personally owned tools and knives. Many (including his) were owned for several years, had great sentimental value and had been used all over the world in defense of freedom.
Thirdly, although the airline (Southwest) was the carrier, this was a private flight. The USMC had contracted the plane to carry the Marines from Cherry Point NAS to March AFB in California. There were NO STOPS at civilian airports. If there was an SOP regarding the carrying of personal knives and tools, they would have abided by it. There wasn't. They were allowed to carry them on the plane from NC to CA, but not vice versa.
MSG Cooney is truly hoping that the box containg the missing items was simply lost in transit. From our short conversation, I could tell that he truly hopes that it wasn't a theft situation. Ideally, he would love to get the box back as that would be best.
Coming from me, I don't want ANY of our troops going into harms way unprepared. Protus and I decided that with Staff approval, this would be the best way to get much need gear into the hand of those who need it most. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Items can be sent to me personally.

If anyone would like to help out, please send donations to:

Pete Berkenkamp
24 Kearney ave.
Whippany NJ
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your help.  Regardless of your personal and/or political positions on the war, remember that these people are just there to do a job.  They have no more choice than you or I do sitting in traffic each morning, and are in somewhat greater danger.