Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pizza's here! How U.S. troops in Iraq got 2,000 Chicago pies

By Louis R. Carlozo, TRIBUNE REPORTER -- Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2008 Thursday Chicago Final Edition

In Chicago, pan pizza rules. But in Iraq it's more like panned pizza, as the military serves a ketchup/sliced hot dog mutant. (At least the crust isn't a bun.)

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Evans of Elk Grove Village and teen son Kent decided to deliver, hoping to ship pan pizzas to troops for Independence Day. They did it with cash donations and help from DHL and Lou Malnati's. Here's how the mission unfolded.

2145 hours, May 30: Evans and his son are chowing down on Lou Malnati's when they hear a news report on Iraq. Kent wonders about shipping Malnati's to soldiers. Dad scribbles notes on back of a used envelope.

June 9: Evans and his son call Lou Malnati's, then deep in Taste of Chicago preparations. The Malnati family agrees to get involved and deeply discounts the pizzas.

Morning, June 8: Using military connections, Evans e-mails the office of Gen. David H. Petraeus, seeking permission to send pizzas to troops in Iraq.

Morning, June 9: Gen. Petraeus' office gives the go-ahead.

Morning, June 19: Evans cold-calls Frank Appel, chief executive of Deutsche Post World Net (parent company of DHL) to seek delivery help. E-mails travel through DHL's corporate ranks -- finally, at 2400 hours, reaching Ethan Mattern, global senior manager for U.S. military sales.

Morning, June 20: Mattern offers to help Evans, getting approval the following day for free shipping.

June 21: Evans hands out "Pizzas 4 Patriots" leaflets at shopping centers near his home, seeking donations. But there's no courier to ship the pies, as military air command can't help.

1836 hours, June 24: The Tribune and other news outlets carry an Associated Press story on the pizza effort; the 300-pizza goal swells to 2,000, following additional coverage from radio and TV stations.

1500 hours, June 27: DHL trucks arrive to pick up frozen pizzas at Lou Malnati's Northbrook headquarters.

2200 hours, June 27: DHL's 727 jet departs O'Hare International Airport with 2,000 pies. Over five days, the pizzas travel to airports in Wilmington, Ohio; New York; Bahrain; and Baghdad.

July 1: Pizzas sit in Bahrain due to a sandstorm. The heat requires repacking in dry ice that must be hand cut, a $7,000 expense.

0215 hours (Chicago time), July 2: Pizzas land in Baghdad; troops witnessing the arriving pies applaud.

1000 and 1400 hours (Baghdad time) July 4: Pizzas served to troops, each receiving one-quarter of a 9-inch pie, either cheese or spinach. In Chicago, Evans mulls more ambitious plans for an encore -- hoping to hit every U.S. soldier and enlisted person in Iraq.

- - -

Pizzas 4 Patriots: The numbers behind the deep-dish mission

$40,000: Normal charge for DHL to ship 2,000 pizzas to the Middle East

$0: What DHL actually charged for this delivery

$37,500: Normal charge for 2,000 Lou Malnati's 9-inch pizzas shipped in the U.S. Malnati's sold the pizzas to Pizza 4 Patriots below cost; the final charge will be based on the donations collected.

10,000: Pounds of pizza shipped, filling 11 pallets

8,000: Servings once pizzas are sliced in quarters

100: Hours the pizzas spent on air routes, including a one-day sandstorm holdover

8: Number of camps and bases in Iraq that got pizza

5: Flights to get pizzas from O'Hare to Baghdad

-- Louis R. Carlozo


Lynne said...

What a neat story!

EP said...

I realize this comment is woefully late, but being a fellow orthodox Catholic, I just want to add to the content of your blog.

This was the largest re-enlistment ceremony ever held in military history. The ceremony was held on the 4th of July, 2008 at Al Faw Palace, Baghdad ,Iraq . General David Petraeus officiated. This amazing story was ignored by the 'mainstream' media. For those who have been in the Al Faw Palace, you'll have a better appreciation of the number of people crammed around the rotunda supporting the re-enlisting soldiers. American men and women volunteering to stay longer in Iraq, so that when we leave, the new democracy will have a chance of surviving, is the exact opposite of what the media wants you to think about Iraq. If only a bomb had killed 5 civilians in a marketplace - now that's the kind of news the media is eager to tell you about. A pizzeria in Chicago donated 2000 pizzas that were made and shipped to Baghdad , and were delivered on the 4th. The media did report that 2000 pizzas were sent to Iraq on July 4th... The only part they left out of the report was the event for which the pizzas were sent. I can't help but wonder... What would the opinion of Americans be if they weren't getting such obviously biased 'news?' If you pass this on, we will do the work where the Media won't. link

Watch the ceremony