Report: A Headbanger's Ball From New Jersey To Iraq

Kelly Heyboer of The Star-Ledger has issued the following report:

Missing home and his favorite college radio station, First Lt. Aaron Lefton sent Seton Hall University's WSOU-FM an e-mail a few months ago from Camp Liberty in Iraq.

A few weeks later, a box addressed to Lefton arrived from the South Orange campus stuffed with new CDs, T-shirts and WSOU bumper stickers. Lefton, a platoon leader from New York City, passed out some of the music to his unit and fellow troops on his base just outside of Baghdad.

"The soldiers' days are long, and it's very dangerous here, and it is comforting to know that folks back home are thinking of the soldiers," Lefton said via e-mail. "And of course it rocks to get a box of CDs from your favorite hardcore and metal station back home."

Over the last few months, Seton Hall University's student radio station has sent nearly 4,000 new CDs to troops in Iraq. Inspired by touching e-mails from homesick and bored soldiers, students at WSOU spent months soliciting hard rock and heavy metal music from record labels and shipping them overseas.

"We just made a list of record companies," said Jen O'Brien, an economics major and one of WSOU's assistant music directors. "Most of the response was really good."

Boxes of new CDs began to arrive at the campus radio station from large labels, including Atlantic and Virgin Records. Smaller local labels, including New Jersey's FMQB and Ferret Records, also responded with boxes of T-shirts, new releases and "sampler" CDs containing a few songs.

"We knew we had a lot of stuff when I had to store it in my dorm room," said Ralph Aloia, a Seton Hall junior and WSOU's assistant promotions director.

The students began shipping small boxes of CDs to individual soldiers from New Jersey and New York who had e-mailed or written WSOU looking for music. But finding an effective way to send a large shipment to the troops proved to be more difficult, the students said.

Read more at The Star-Ledger.

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