About Operation Interdependence

OI’S Civilian-to-Military Delivery System®

The cornerstone of the OI Civilian-to-Military Delivery System® is the Civilian Ration ® (called C-rat ®). Designed for delivery to the frontlines, C-rats are individual quart-sized baggies that contain a personal note from a caring civilian at home and a few items such as snacks, games and personal care products. The most important part of the C-rat is the letter from a person who has never met that Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman, but takes the time to write his or her expressions of care and concern.

OI volunteers in 15 centers across the country work with schools, churches, synagogues, civic groups and corporations in their community to create the C-rats. Volunteers pack and ship 25 C-rats per large flat-rate postage box weighing no more than 15 pounds. This design accomplishes three key objectives:

  • Instead of 100 boxes reaching 100 troops, with the OI system 100 boxes reach 2,500 troops thereby streamlining delivery, conserving resources and opening up the military mail system to allow needed equipment and letters from families to be a priority delivery.
  • OI boxes easily load on to supply transports including helicopters and Humvees.
  • The plastic baggies make distribution in theater as easy as “grab and go.”


Furthermore, all shipments to the frontlines are coordinated through unit commanders
thereby ensuring military resources are not negatively impacted and boxes make it to their intended destination.

(Security restrictions forbid the general public sending items or packages to “any” service member.)

And in the spirit of the “no one left behind” creed, enough C-rats are sent so that at mail
call everyone in that unit gets a package. For many it’s the only communication from home
they receive.

Only those items that meet the strict standards set by the military and OI are sent to troops on the frontlines.

Support of Military Families and Veterans

OI is also mindful of the needs military families have at home and of veterans who served before. Approximately 25% of the items OI receives are given to family groups on military bases, VA hospitals and other veterans organizations.