“So after I got Jamie’s address, I wrote to her every day. Every night after I put the kids to bed, I would write. I would tell her about everything that had happened--what I did, what the kids did, something funny one of them said. I just wrote as much as I could for several pages. Every night I wrote her novels and every morning I mailed them to her.
That was all well and good until I found out I’d addressed all of the envelopes incorrectly! I’d left out one digit of the zip code on every single letter I’d written. I was devastated. Even though I had put a return address on them, I was sure they were stuck in post office limbo.
I had this realization the same day I got my first letter from Jamie. I ripped it open and read it through gripped fingers. She told me all about her first few days in basic training, and at the bottom she added the most heartbreaking line, “I wish you’d write me. I know you’re busy and I know you don’t like to write, but I wish you would.”
I couldn’t believe it. She thought I hadn’t written at all.
I called a buddy of mine who is now Command Sergeant Major Phil Blaisdell, a battalion sergeant major at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. “Phil, I’m in trouble. Man, I’ve been sending her letters and I was putting the wrong zip code on them and I got a letter from her and she thinks I’m not sending her letters and I know she needs that.”
“All right, let me call you back.”
A little while later my phone rang. “I’m Command Sergeant Major Duncan. I am the battalion sergeant major of Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. First of all, I’d like to tell you that I know who you are and I appreciate your service and what you’ve done. I’ve seen your Men’s Health issue and you are an inspiration. I understand you know a Specialist Boyd,” she said.
“Yes, Sergeant Major, I do.”
“Well, I’ve got her standing in front of me right now. Would you like to talk to her?”
“Yes, Sergeant Major, I would.” So she handed the phone to Jamie. Jamie was a little stressed out because she had been called to the sergeant major’s office and thought, What have I done? The conversation was rushed and she was speaking in a hushed tone.
“Hey, I miss you, I love you.”
“Hey, me, too, baby. Let me tell you real quick, I’ve been sending you letters--”
“I got them all today. Thank you.”
“I miss you, and I hope that you can tell.”
“Look, I want to keep talking but they’re watching me.”
“Okay, we’re good. Just wanted to make sure you got the letters. I love you and we’ll talk later.”


Noah Galloway, Living with No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of an American Soldier
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