Three soldiers from the National Guard, clad in Army combat uniforms, loaded box after box of cargo into a tan Humvee in Bay Shore on Sunday.
Part of a special operation, the cargo would be brought back to the armory, where it would be shipped out to soldiers overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The cargo -- boxes of Tagalongs, Thin Mints and other Girl Scout cookies -- was also inscribed with handwritten messages to its recipient with special instructions -- “Be safe” and “Come home soon!” among them.
Operation: Cookie, sponsored by the Girl Scout Council of Suffolk County, is not the typical cookie sale. Local Girl Scout troops that choose to take part send the cookies they sell to members of the armed forces with personal notes on each box, and they also take donations for the troops.
On Sunday, Troop 5, of Bay Shore, set up shop for six hours in the parking lot of the Target on Sunrise Highway. For the second year in a row, they also reached out to the Bay Shore Armory to have the soldiers join them.
“A lot of people stop to see the Army truck or take pictures with the soldiers,” said Amanda Verni, 17, of Troop 5. “A lot of people are surprised to see it here, but then they thank us for doing this.”
Verni said the troop sold about 500 boxes Sunday.
“People are really touched,” said troop member Colleen Kunz, 17. “They like that they can reach out to the soldiers.”
Staff Sgt. Armando Torres was participating in the event for the second year in a row. He said it's a good community event and goes a long way for the troops overseas.
“They love it,” he said. “It’s a little taste of home.”
Photo: National Guard soldiers from the Bay Shore armory help Girl Scouts Troop 5 sell cookies to send to troops overseas. (March 27, 2011)