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Dear Ann Landers: I'm sure a great many readers would like to send some useful gifts to our men and women in the Persian Gulf. They need to be remembered, especially during the holiday season when they are half a world away from their loved ones. May I offer some suggestions?

First, what NOT to send. The list is a short one but important.Please, no glass. No aerosol containers. No religious materials (rosaries, Bibles, Stars of David, etc.) and no pornography. This means pictures of scantily clad females or anything that might be considered sexually provocative.

And now a list of items that would be welcomed enthusiastically: writing paper and envelopes, playing cards, board games, hard candy, cocoa packets, unsalted pretzels (all salted foods tend to create thirst), cookies (no chocolate chip, please; chocolate melts), canned tuna and canned fruit, shower thongs, lightweight socks, news and sports magazines, shaving soap, disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, suntan lotion, shampoo, bath soap, aftershave, deodorant, chewing gum, chapstick, fly swatters, powdered drink mixes and salve to combat heat rash.

One mention in your column is sure to generate many thousand responses. Thanks on behalf of the men and women who will be the beneficiaries. - Bob McBee, assistant director, Chicago Regional Office of Public Affairs, Department of Veteran Affairs

Dear Bob: Thanks for your guidance. And now, here's the address. For Army, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel ashore in Saudi Arabia: Any Service Member, Operation Ann Landers/Desert Shield, APO New York, 09848-0006. For Navy and Marine Corps personnel aboard ships: Any Service Member, Operation Ann Landers/Desert Shield, FPO New York, 09866-0006.

Keep reading, folks, there's more:

Dear Ann: As you know, thousands of American troops are already in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. This mobilization has required the call-up of thousands of National Guard and Reserve ``citizen soldiers' to join or support those sent to the Middle East.

A mobilization of this type always brings family separation. Dependents of active-duty personnel often know of support services on nearby military bases, but sometimes the families left behind by the activated reservists and guardsmen need help with everyday problems and don't know where to turn.

To assist those military dependents, the American Legion has just launched a nationwide Family Support Network, using the 4.1 million members of the Legion and American Legion Auxiliary who live in cities and towns all over the nation. Who knows better than veterans and their families how to respond to the needs of those left behind during a national crisis? The centerpiece of the Family Support Network is a toll-free number, 1-800-786-901, available around the clock.

Most of our Legionnaires have long been aware of the great work you have done with your ``Valentines for Veterans' campaign each year, Ann, and we think it's great! We hope you will find the Family Support Network a public service worthy of mention, given the timeliness of the program and the obvious need. We need to reassure the men and women in the Persian Gulf that not only veterans, but the whole country supports them in the job they have been asked to do. - Robert S. Turner, national commander, the American Legion

Write to Ann Landers in care of the Greensboro News & Record, P.O. Box 20848, Greensboro, N.C. 27420.

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