Airmen Receive Book Donations
SAN ANTONIO - Air Force recruits and other airmen around the world, many serving at Operation Enduring Freedom sites,
are receiving thousands of copies of three books written by popular Western novelist, Louis L'Amour.
Kathy L'Amour, the author's widow, and Irwyn Applebaum, president of Bantam Dell Publishing Group, donated 34,000 books
- valued at more than $160,000 - to U.S. military troops serving stateside and overseas, including those deployed to Europe,
Southwest Asia and Afghanistan. Also receiving the popular novels are young servicemembers who are still in basic training
or attending technical schools.
"Books are an important morale booster for our people, and they certainly appreciate this act of kindness and generosity,"
said Barbara Wrinkle, chief of the libraries branch for HQ Air Force Services Agency.
The donation consists of:
12,000 copies of the classic tale, "Hondo,"
12,000 editions of "The Daybreakers,"
10,000 editions of "Last of the Breed."
The latter (Last of the Breed) is a fictional story of an Air Force major who, during the Cold War era, escapes from
a Soviet prison camp and treks across the Bering Strait.
The monumental task of ensuring the books reached their intended destinations overseas fell on the Air Force Library
and Information System, or AFLIS, which turned to the HQ U.S. Air Forces in Europe Library Service Center, or LSC, at Ramstein
Air Base, Germany.
AFLIS, aware of the center's expertise in distributing library materials, had the books delivered to LSC, which guaranteed
that the donations would be sent quickly to areas where airmen need them the most, such as the Balkans and Southwest Asia.
Melinda Mosley, LSC Director, coordinated with Ramstein's Postal Services Center, Frankfurt, Germany's Air Terminal,
Bantam Dell and AFLIS to make certain shipping went smoothly.
In April, ten pallets of Lamour's books, weighing seven tons, were delivered to Ramstein. Working non-stop, LSC and HQ
USAFE Services folks took 455 boxes of books (some re-packed into smaller parcels), placed delivery labels on each box, and
then reloaded them on a Postal Service truck for distribution worldwide - all in less than six hours.
HQ USAFE LSC supports geographically separated units, deployment sites, contingency operations and other small units
such as defense attachés and Offices of Defense Cooperation. With customers located on six continents in 60 countries, LSC
provides current mission, educational, recreational and support materials to places where traditional library services are
not readily available.
When a deployment is announced, LSC prepares to ship materials on the first available plane, Mosley said, adding that
full library services can be in place within 30 days.
"The LSC is dedicated to providing up-to-date items tailored to the needs of each unit, no matter how remote," she noted,
"and has fulfilled that mission faithfully for decades."