Support our troops

IBM supports America’s troops

The Associated Press reported today that IBM is supporting our troops in a big way. I know, cynics will say, “It is a PR move and they will just write it off as a tax deduction.” Perhaps yet if you hear one saying that or see someone write that, ask them what they have done for our troops. Here an excerpt of the article and a link:

To honor an employee’s son who was badly wounded in Iraq, IBM Corp. (IBM) plans to give the U.S. military $45 million worth of Arabic-English translation technology that the Pentagon had been testing for possible purchase. The offer — made from the highest reaches of the company directly to President Bush — is so unusual that Defense Department and IBM lawyers have been scouring federal laws to make sure the government can accept the donation.

The story begins one night in late February, when Army Sgt. Mark Ecker Jr., 21, on his second tour in Iraq, was on patrol in Ramadi. Preparing to raid a house, Ecker’s unit lined up along a side of the building. But an explosive device had been hidden in the wall, and when it went off, it wounded several soldiers. Ecker eventually lost both legs below the knee.

Ecker’s father, an IBM mainframe sales specialist in East Longmeadow, Mass., shared the story of his son’s ordeal with co-workers, and word spread through the company. Eventually it reached Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano. IBM would not make Palmisano available for comment. But according to other IBM executives, Palmisano had heard from several IBM employees who have returned from active duty in Iraq that a shortage of Arabic translators has severely hampered U.S. forces’ efforts to communicate.

With that and Ecker’s experience in mind, Palmisano called and wrote Bush, offering to make IBM’s Multilingual Automatic Speech Translator software, known as MASTOR, “immediately available for use by our forces in Iraq.” Palmisano offered 10,000 copies of the MASTOR software and 1,000 devices equipped with it, plus training and technical support. “Hopefully this will be helpful to our efforts,” he wrote.

Maybe you cannot hope to match IBM’s generosity yet here is a place you can find lots of ways to support our troops.