Kona Coffee Energizes U.S. Soliders in Iraq
Thousands of soldiers in Iraq start their day with a steaming cup of Big Island coffee, thanks to the Hawaii Gathering of Eagles and its “Operation Warrior Wake Up.”
Although coffee is available in the form of grounds at the PX or at the numerous coffee shops on Camp Taji, the coffee given to the soldiers of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Div., is shipped directly from the farmers who grow and harvest it in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, reports Sgt. Jerome Bishop with the 25th Infantry Division at Camp Liberty in Baghdad.
“It really means a lot to the soldiers in the squadron to have someone support them from state of Hawaii since, at one point, we didn’t even know if the Stryker brigade was ever going back there,” said Capt. Ronnie Geronimo, who is a squadron signal officer. “It is good to know that no matter what the political pressures were, there are people from Hawaii that care about the soldiers. It is also good to have something shipped to you to remind you of home.”
Robert Gowan of Captain Cook, who founded the Hawaii chapter of the Gathering Of Eagles last year, coordinated the coffee bean contributions.
“Together, as a community, we may be able to help out and reward our dear soldiers with a little taste of home each day,” writes Gowan, who is trying to round up five pounds of Kona coffee per Calvalry troop per month for the rest of their 15-month deployment.
“Being alert is so crucial to their mission and their survival in this very hostile environment,” Gowan says. “What better way than a good cup of Kona coffee to enhance that alertness?”
He also hopes to be able to send French press coffee pots (dubbed “Project Coffee Pot“), which are available at wholesale prices and do not require electricity or filters.