Messages to Troops Near 2 Million

By: Dave Astor

The number of messages sent to troops via could reach two million by the end of this week, a U.S. Navy commander told E&P Online.

“We’ve seen a real surge in traffic during the past month and a half,” said Rudy Brewington, the commander who’s also public affairs officer for the Navy’s Lifelines Services Network — which manages the site.

Operation Dear Abby started in 1967 as a postal-mail service. The Internet version launched in December 2001 (after the anthrax attacks), and it has been since then that the nearly 2 million messages were sent. Many of the letters are from kids, said Brewington.

Messages are routed to service members’ computers. For those without computers, the military prints out and delivers messages at mail calls or posts to bulletin boards.

“Dear Abby” is the column created by Pauline Phillips in 1956. The advice feature is now done by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, and appears in about 1,300 newspapers via Universal Press Syndicate.

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