Here’s a recent thank you care package we received from the Tali-Banned Cigar Club, operating out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. In it was the club’s challenge coin, a flag flown Christmas Day on our behalf and more. We are so proud and so humbled to have received it.
The recurring theme in all of these thank you letters seems to be that our servicemen and women enjoy cigars as a little piece of home. We’re only too glad to have provided these brave men and women some small measure of comfort. Check out the official site for the Tali-Banned Cigar Club here to learn more about the organization.
Below is the full text of the letter.
Thank you very much for your donation of cigars to those of us here at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Our little group gathers outside one a week, rain, clear, or cold. We’ve seen attendance close to 100 in recent weeks despite the temperatures dipping below freezing. We gather around a couple of burn barrels to relax with all ranks and branches of the service, as well as many Jordanians, Egyptians, Poles, and civilians Your cigars went to newcomers who may not have brought a cigar their first time, as well as to supply cigars to troops at several of the FOBs supported by Bagram.
I am relatively new to the world of cigars, but my weekly cigar with the club has been the one truly enjoyable event of my tour; I return home in just a couple of weeks. Thank you very much for contributing to our little piece of home we’ve enjoyed while here.
I have included a disc with photos of our weekly “Tali-Banned Cigar Club” meeting, our club coin, as well as a flag flown on Christmas Day on a mission across Afghanistan on your behalf as a token of our appreciation. Your company was named and received applause for your support last week. I am not alone in my gratitude. On behalf of our club, I thank you for your support.
TSgt Benjamin Green
92 Security Forces Squadron
Famous Smoke Shop proudly supports our soldiers with Cigars for Troops. Cigars are always among the most-requested items from our hard-working men and women serving overseas. We feel a cigar is a great way to share a piece of home and a brief respite from the stresses of military service, and so we’re glad to support our brave troops with cigars in a variety of ways. We hope we can play a small part in making their lives just a little bit easier and less stressful. We recently deployed a care package to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where it was received and distributed by Capt. Robert Hughs. While no thanks was needed, Capt. Hughs was kind and gracious enough to respond with a thank you note along with some pictures of himself and friends enjoying the cigars we sent over. We’d like to share them with all of you so you can see our military members enjoying our fine hobby, and to inspire all of you to get involved in any way you can!
We take great pleasure in sharing a smoke with these heroes, and thrive on continuing to support our troops!
Capt. Robert Hughs writes,
“Thank you for the cigars, from the many teams in Kandahar, Afghanistan: Army, Air Force, Navy and Afghans. We appreciate the good smokes!”
(Capt Hughs, an Afghan Police Officer and Maj Diaz take a break to enjoy some good smokes while drinking Chai.)
(After a rigorous day with the combat medics, Maj Diaz and Capt B take time out to enjoy some fine, hand-rolled premium cigars. )
(How high was the stress level this day? Probably higher than the stress level of your day, but not high enough to ruin the enjoyment of a good smoke for these tough guys!)
It all started on October 20, 2011, with a simple request from LTC Larry Dugan to Robert DeSousa, who is a LTC in the PA Army National Guard and also serves as state director for U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. The Battalion Commander’s Nittany-6 (from Pennsylvania) had just in arrived in Iraq for their tour of duty.
“Any chance of hooking us up w/ some cigars and a humidor? The unit we’re replacing isn’t really into the social cigar smoking thing, but our HHQ (SB) is–it’d help the Command relationship and overall mission I’m sure…”
LTC Lawrence Larry Dugan
Subject: Cigars for Soldiers.
Hate to bother you. This is a PA unit. 135 guys. They just arrived in Iraq. They will be the last unit there. Do you send cigars to troops?
Arthur replied, saying he’d be happy to oblige and forwarded the message on to the Customer Service Manager, Cory Reinhard. Mr. Reinhard, who has done this on many occasions for U.S. troops, set the wheels in motion. Once everyone was in the loop, the following package was prepared and shipped out within 24 hours:
50 CAO OSA Sol cigars, 50 La Gloria Artesanos Retro cigars, 35 Vegas Cubanas cigars by Don Pepin, all neatly packed in a Perdomo 80 cigar travel case. That’s quite an impressive stash. At least one topflight cigar for every soldier in the unit, plus a humidor that can take plenty of punishment and keep all those cigars fresh under the harsh conditions of Iraq’s climate and desert (see photo).
As noted above, sending cigars to the troops is nothing new to Famous Smoke Shop. We’ve been doing it since the war in Iraq started, and have also sent cigars to U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. The call center has even had phone-in orders where customers ordered extra cigars to be sent to the troops. Additionally, there is a group of local retail store customers who annually collect cigars for the troops and ship them out during the Christmas holidays.
“I’m proud to be able to support our troops by providing them with our products and giving them a little piece of home,” said Mr. Reinhard. “They are serving and protecting us and our country. Being able to assist them is the least we can do.”
Whatever your foreign policy views, I’m sure you’ll agree that supporting our troops is one of the most important things we can do. Stateside and abroad, these brave men and women nobly endeavor to protect our way of life from all threats, foreign and domestic; they bravely facilitate the very blanket of freedom enjoyed by all Americans.
We recently received this heart-warming letter of thanks. While we are honored, we are not worthy…it is SrA Bomgaars and his brothers and sisters in uniform who deserve the gratitude.
Today, and every day, we thank you for all that you do.
To the Famous Smoke Shop Gang;
First of all happy holidays! We hope you all had a wonderful time with all of your friends and loved ones. Second of all thank you all very much for your more than generous donation to us. You all went way above and beyond, and that means a ton to us. We cant thank you guys enough. We made this photo for you to say thanks. I will get some more pics of us smoking your cigars when we have some free time during the day. But again thank you for brightening up our days and doing this for us.
SrA Joel Bomgaars
(the one on the right in the picture)