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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm a soldier, deployed on Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia. The soldiers on my team and I appreciate your column and your "Operation Dear Abby" holiday letter-writing campaign.

The Christmas holidays can be tough on all service members stationed abroad. I've been in the Army for 13 years and have been to my share of different countries. I have soldiers on my team who have never spent the holidays away from their families, and it makes their lives harder.

We appreciate your support of service personnel. Thanks to your readers, we receive mail daily even when we don't hear from family and friends.

God bless you, Abby, and your family. We salute you for helping to bring peace and good will to all our hearts. -- SGT. ANTHONY WOLFE, TALBOTT, TENN., AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE 263RD MAINTENANCE CO. BASED AT FORT HOOD, TEXAS

DEAR SGT. WOLFE: On behalf of my readers who once again participated so generously in Operation Dear Abby -- now in its 14th year -- thank you for writing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Although the worldwide mailing addresses for the program have expired for this year, the Bosnian addresses are valid year-round.

-- For Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine land forces in Bosnia:



APO AE 09397-0001

-- For Navy and Marine Corps personnel aboard ship:



FPO AE 09398-0001

DEAR ABBY: I'm currently stationed in Korea. Being far from home is really depressing, and "Operation Dear Abby" is a boost in morale for troops separated from friends and family. I have seen firsthand the effect it has. I know a few soldiers who rarely get mail from the states except for bills, and those letters were a really big deal to them.

Thank you, Abby, and thanks to everyone who took the time to give someone else a lift on a normally depressing day.

If you could please ask your readers to take a moment to remember five fellow soldiers who died on Oct. 31, 1998, here in Korea, I'm sure it would mean a lot to their families and those who served with them. -- SPC. KHRISTOPHER D. TRULL, CAMP HARVEY, KOREA

DEAR KHRISTOPHER: Thank you for your touching letter. And to the five families who lost a loved one on Oct. 31, please accept my deepest sympathy. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: On Dec. 3, my unit received a bundle of mail from your readers. Please express our thanks to everyone who sent "Any Soldier" mail overseas. The holiday season is a particularly difficult time for deployed service members. The letters made us feel appreciated and reinforced our decision to serve our nation. -- CAPT. RICH DEBANY, CAMP COMANCHE, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

DEAR CAPT. DEBANY: You are most welcome. My readers and I feel privileged to support your efforts.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Booklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600