Apple Store Manager Gives iPod To Soldier Who Mangled His In Afghanistan

Remember Aaron, the Marine who wrecked his 120GB iPod Classic in Afghanistan by accidentally letting it get run over by a Humvee, then slamming it in a Humvee door?

Aaron told us his story to express his amazement that even though the screen was cracked, the iPod still worked. But he got more than he bargained for when a Colorado Apple Store manager read about his plight and sent him a new iPod Classic — this one with 40 gigs of more memory. The manager writes:

My store manager [redacted] and I were moved by an article posted recently on the website entitled “Marine Declares War On iPod, Which Lives To Tell The Tale” and penned by Phil Villarreal, dated Wed. Oct. 14th 2009. Original posting here.

The article describes how a Marine named “Aaron” stationed in Afghanistan had virtually destroyed his iPod in the line of duty, and was pleasantly surprised by it’s continued operation. We’d like to honor Aaron’s declaration of support for Apple, as well as his service to his country and send Aaron a new 160gb iPod Classic! I am hoping that you or Mr. Villarreal can assist us in this task.

If at all possible, please provide Aaron’s mailing address overseas and we will send the device asap. We certainly will keep his personal information confidential. We could also obtain his address via if we were to obtain his full name (First, middle and last). However, you are not able to provide this info, may I ask if you have any suggestions on next steps for us?

We forwarded the email to Aaron, who wrote back a few days later to say his new iPod has reached his parents’ home. Maybe it’s best that the new iPod stays away from Humvees.

(Photo: ColumbusCameraOp)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Underscore_Lysdexia says:

    So…is it a 40gb iPod Classic, or a 160gb iPod Classic?

  2. angryneo says:

    It’s good to see some people still support the troops.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @angryneo: I don’t know a single person who doesn’t support the troops, other than the enemy. Disagreeing with the war =/= not supporting the troops.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Way to kill the mood guys.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @TinkishDelight: Well the points have already been hit. Personally I have a lot of disdain for the war in Iraq and the reason behind it, BUT I have the utmost respect for the armed men that fought and in some cases gave their lives in it. These men didn’t make the decision to invade Iraq but when the decision was made, they chose to support and fight for their country and they should be commended for that.

      • ovalseven says:

        @TinkishDelight: No kidding. I think people are reading too much into that original comment.

        I like to read stories like this and I support our troops, but I guess I’d better be damn careful how I express it.

    • giggitygoo says:


      This thread is exactly what’s wrong with the internet and really text messages in general. Someone types something and others, since they don’t understand the general tone or meaning of the comment, fly off the handle and over-dramatize the whole thing. Angryneo posted another comment below that clarified that he was trying to show appreciation for the support as an war vet himself. Maybe he could have expressed that better, but is a slightly ambiguous comment really enough to start whipping out the personal insults?

    • Citizen Kang says:


      The best way to support the troops is to bring them home safely and as expeditiously as possible.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @angryneo: Hey, lardbutt chicken hawk, how come you’re not out there?

    • Falcon5768 says:

      @ngryn: Y knw, y cn g t hll.

      Jst bt VRYN spprts th trps, lt f ppl DNT spprt th wrs thy r fghtng. Thr s dffrnc vn f y r t smll mndd t ndrstnd t.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Falcon5768: That’s harsh and unwarranted. There are plenty of people who misplace their anger over the war and blame the people being sent over to fight. I’m not talking about people who have legitimate reasons for being against the war, I’m talking about people who demonize the troops by calling them baby killers and all sorts of other horrible things.

        • MostlyHarmless says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: But i’ve very very rarely ever seen anyone do that. And they get promptly ignored as well.

          The way angryneo framed his comment, his intent was clearly to imply that people who are against the war also hate the troops. Which very clearly is not true.

          Falcon’s response was not the most civil one, but considering the original comment, it was certainly not unwarranted, and not very harsh either.

          • katstermonster says:

            @MostlyHarmless: I felt that implication as well, but perhaps I’m sensitive because I’m a hate-the-war-love-the-soldier type of liberal.

            Riddle me this: I was accused of not supporting the troops while I was dating a soldier during his deployment to Iraq. Mhm. Right.

            • MostlyHarmless says:

              @katstermonster: Most liberals are of the same mold when it comes to troops and wars. Except for those really far out ones who think all soldiers are evil murderers. Every group has its fringes.

              Also, dating a guy when he is deployed to Iraq. Talk about a long distance relationship.

        • oblivious87 says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: I’m pretty sure Falcon5768 had every right to be pissed off by angryneo and his stupid assumptions.

          Too many people make the assumption that anyone with a liberal way of thinking automatically think that our troops don’t deserve much of anything for defending this country, but its quite the opposite… those who are against the war want our troops to come home so we don’t keep wasting lives on something very few people understand.

          And while there is a group of those on the left who choose to think our troops are murderers of women and children (some are, but again this is a group of sick people who have no morals), this is a small group, even smaller then those conservatives who still insist that Obama isn’t their President because they don’t believe he’s a US citizen. Oh and don’t forget those who believe the US is covering up a huge conspiracy about 9/11 and Area 51 was the location where a real life alien abduction was performed!

          Truth be told, I don’t want some guy to group a lot of people into a minority because he himself is ill informed and thinks that being antiwar is the same as hating our troops!

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            @oblivious87: I only took issue with Falcon’s “go to hell” comment because one can explain his or her opinion properly without reducing to personal attack.

            • katstermonster says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: True dat.

            • Falcon5768 says:

              @pcn 3.14159265: nd

              “t’s gd t s sm ppl stll spprt th trps.”

              s nt prsnl ttck?

              ts BLTNT prsnl ttck wrppd p n czy wrppr f gnrlztn. Th ttck flt t ws ths wh dnt spprt th wr dnt spprt r trps.

              H dsrvd ll th g t hll h gt frm m. Y d t fr sggstng th sm thng n yr cmmnt.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                @Falcon5768: WTF? Where did I even say that people who don’t support the war don’t support the troops. You have every right to be annoyed, but angryneo has every right to have the perception the majority of people do not support the troops. He’s probably wrong (I say probably because I have no statistics to say definitively that he’s wrong), but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to have an opinion.

                • Falcon5768 says:

                  @pecan 3.14159265: “There are plenty of people who misplace their anger over the war and blame the people being sent over to fight.”

                  You said it in your first comment, there are not “plenty of people” Maybe a FRINGE amount, most likely the same amount on the conservative side who ALSO think the same of the troops (that wackjob funeral protesting church ring a bell?)

                  Any time you use words like plenty, many you are basically quantifying a large number, when the facts are (and you can certainly look this up so saying you cant find statistics to prove it is also disingenuous) that just about ALL americans support the troops EVEN if they dont support the war.

                  In fact many who dont support the war will even TELL you they support the troops in the fact they want them back home instead of fighting for nothing gained, like Iraq.

                  And no Angryneo has no right to have such a perception, because the fact EXIST that prove such a perception false. Thats like saying Glen Beck has the right to think net neutrality is a plot to ban free speech (yes he IS saying that) Just because you SAY something or THINK something doesn’t mean its true and doesnt mean you have the right to blather on as if you know something.

                  • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                    @Falcon5768: I made it clear that while my opinion was that the “majority” of people do indeed support the troops, I have no numbers to back this up. I was offering an opinion based on anecdotal evidence. Certainly the statistics are out there. However, I declined to be as adament about it as you are simply because I also know that without the statistics on hand, I can’t definitively say it is fact. It would be misuse of the very meaning of what “fact” is. It is accepted that my particular opinion, in context, is accurate – however, I don’t wish for it to be labeled as a fact without the proper evidence cited.

                    People have a right to express opinions and perceptions. Thoughts can’t be controlled. It doesn’t make it an educated opinion, or even a thought that is respected by others – but people can have it. You’re right, just because you say or think something doesn’t mean it’s true – but you definitely have the right to have that opinion because opinions do not equal facts. You don’t seem to be differentiating. What Glenn Beck says is what he may very well think – but it doesn’t make him accurate in what he is saying.

                    • Trai_Dep says:

                      @pecan 3.14159265: Aww, c’mon, though. Trolly Troll was trolling. It’s not as though he deserves a respectful, thoughtful reply. :)
                      It’s also irksome that he tries to hijack what is a nice, positive celebration of both companies that go Above And Beyond and our servicemen facing peril and unrivaled unpleasantness. What a rotten slug of a human to do so.

                  • nbs2 says:

                    @Falcon5768: “Just because you SAY something or THINK something doesn’t mean its true and doesnt mean you have the right to blather on as if you know something.”

                    Actually, you do.

                    • TheWillow says:

                      @nbs2: Staying out of the original topic, but you definitely do – however other people also have the right (I would suggest responsibility) to call you out if you’re being an idiot.

                      … I think many people forget the 2nd part.

                    • floraposte says:

                      @TheWillow: Yes, there’s no right to say something unopposed or unjudged.

              • MostlyHarmless says:

                @Falcon5768: Actually, it is more like a group attack, not a personal attack. Almost the opposite of it, in fact.

              • katstermonster says:

                @Falcon5768: Yeah, see, now you went from righteously indignant to downright assholeish. I was as annoyed as you were, but unlike you, I have the ability to use logic and intelligence to express my opinion. The “god to hell” was uncalled for, especially since you and I were both basing our outrage on what angryneo was IMPLYING, but not saying.

                And being obnoxious to Pecan Pi? Really? Not okay.

                @MostlyHarmless: Yeeeeeah that was….rough. Getting dumped with no warning when he was home on leave? Also rough. It’s okay, he just got engaged to some broad he’s been dating for about 6 months (I was tweeting about this), and my best friend and I have a pool going. I say he’ll be divorced within a year after the wedding, she said he’ll dump her during the engagement.

        • veg-o-matic says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Come on. This isn’t the Vietnam War. “Baby killers” is no longer de rigeur among the anti-war set.

        • mythago says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: You’re thinking of Vietnam. Who is calling the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan baby killers?

        • mxjohnson says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: I haven’t heard anybody call them that. Ever.

          I have, however, heard prominent politicians explain the quagmire as a failure of tactics, rather than strategy. Which, um, is blaming the troops. But hey, iokiyar.

  3. GreatGerm says:

    I have something in my eye…

  4. taney71 says:

    How many ipods are out there? What makes an ipod a classic?

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @taney71: It is the name of the line. The original iPod line was retroactively named the “classic” as opposed to “nano” “shuffle” “touch” etc etc.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @taney71: There’s the Shuffle, the Nano, the Touch and the Classic. The Classic is just the name of the current line of full-size iPod. We’re currently on the 6th generation of the full-size iPods.


    • Trai_Dep says:

      @taney71: Generally, a consensus is reached among taste-makers, critics and customers that elements meet functional, design and branding minimums, which that item is recognized as exceeding.
      Or, some wine-besotten guy in a toga, wearing an ivy wreath, drunkenly belches words to that effect to a large enough crowd. Before groping all the women’s breasts, stumbling down at everyone’s feet then vomiting his guts out in a huge, spreading, purple, bubbling puddle several times his circumference. Extra points for flashing his bare butt or committing sloppy, public, sexual congress with whichever comely slave is handy. Only to spring up a half-hour after purging himself, announcing, “Now who’s ready to par-tay, my fellow Romans, my fellow Countrymen?!!”

  5. ExtraCelestial says:

    How sweet! I have such a soft spot for Marines :oD

    I’m surprised that Apple store managers have the power to hand out free iPods to people that never did business with them. I would think this would only be reserved for corporate. Good on you Apple Colorado!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @TinkishDelight: I’m pretty sure Apple Colorado got ahold of someone in corporate first. Apple does do nice things for people – one iPod is pittance in comparison to a customer’s loyalty and near-universal love from the internets for their good deed.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’m pretty sure Apple corporate was hands-off on this. Obviously, they’d approve, but they give their people enough leeway to be awesome, so this is something I bet the CO store drove this.
        Damn hippies. Damn hippies ALL!

      • trujunglist says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:

        The press alone showing how durable the iPod is under extreme circumstances is enough to purchase iPods for his entire family. WAR TESTED AND SOLDIER APPROVED! APPLE IPOD: GET SOME!

    • RogerTheAlien says:

      @TinkishDelight: Thank you! We like you, too. But, I wish the title of this article actually referred to a Marine; soldiers are in the Army. Marines are in the US Marines. HUGE difference. Just ask a Marine.

  6. pb5000 says:

    Well done Apple, and Aaron, thank you for your service.

  7. angryneo says:

    Hey knuckleheads!
    I was in The War in 2003. My comment was merely expressing gratitude to those who support the troops; not taking sides on the war. You read TOO far into my comment. Nice job.

  8. QuesoHusker says:

    While I’m glad he got a nice Ipod from Apple, as an Army, officer my first thought when I read the first story is “WTF was he doing with an Ipod in a Humvee in the first place?” I would not be very understanding with one of my Soldiers if I caught one of them with an Ipod on patrol.

    • OrtizDupri says:

      @QuesoHusker: Haha I thought the same thing – heck, even having an iPod on in the motorpool or around moving vehicles would be an ass-chewing by a 1SG or CSM.

    • nbs2 says:

      @QuesoHusker: That’s a Marine for you.

    • looney82 says:

      @QuesoHusker: you haven’t been doing very many patrols lately, have you sir? it’s the norm around here for us to have an ipod/zune/mp3 player hooked into the internal comms of our strykers to listen to music while rolling through sector. we’ve never had any problem hearing the radio, maintaining situational awareness, or doing our jobs. you try driving around sector for 8-10 hours every day with nothing to keep you awake. it sucks.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @QuesoHusker: I’m unsure if the OP stated he was on active patrol at the time. Are you?

    • zomg! says:


      Those dang Humvees have so much road noise. Back in the 90’s I used a walkman just to avoid headaches.

      • RogerTheAlien says:

        @zomg!: MRAPS are now the vehicle of choice. They’re much easier to deal with, much more protected, and the need to be ever vigliant in the passenger seats is gone because the back windows don’t open, and you can’t fire from them anyway because they face inboard. So, having an iPod on isn’t a big deal.

  9. CoJeff says:

    That was a friend on mine. I forwarded the post that I read on here to my buddy who is a manger of the apple store. He thought the marine deserved a new ipod. So he located him and sent it.

  10. MisterE says:

    Thanks Aaron for your service! Please, come home safe!

  11. floraposte says:

    The picture’s genius, by the way. I bet Elf Practice is a nightmare now, though.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    Goes to show, Apple loves America.
    Microsoft? Not so much, considering the number of laptops Dell or Acer has messed up (hey, their ads tell us Microsoft = entire computer, so they gotta take the bad with the good).

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Trai_Dep: OK. Seriously.
      Ain’t it cool how Apple empowers their entire organization to go above and beyond for their customers? Shouldn’t that be the norm?

      • nstonep says:

        @Trai_Dep: What are you talking about?

        Bill Gates donates so much friggin money each year for everyone vs. steve jobs who moves to memphis to jump the transplant list and steal a liver from someone else.

        • Blackfished says:

          @nstonep: You’re coming off just as asinine as he. Don’t make such outlandish comments unless you want to find some credible source of it.

    • Blackfished says:

      @Trai_Dep: []

      I figured you’d do some research before you make outlandish statements. This is one initiative of MANY that Microsoft does in order to support the men stationed at home and overseas.


      Honestly, I see that you try to put some thought in to your statements, but to make something so naive and generalized such as this…makes me think that perhaps you simply like to troll.

      • Blackfished says:

        @Blackfished: []

        The second paragraph: Soldiers Angels’ main initiative is its Project Valour-IT. This project has provided thousands of voice-activated laptops to injured troops. It was founded in memory of SFC William Ziegenfuss who served seventeen years in the United States Army as a medic. Previously diagnosed with Cancer, Ziegenfuss was wounded in Iraq in June 2005.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Blackfished: It was an attempt to snark on Microsoft’s Anti-Apple ads where, instead of comparing operating systems’ price and functionality (where they’d lose in an honest comparison), Redmond instead takes the credit for the fact that some hardware manufacturers sell lesser products at a lesser price than Apple’s more limited (versus the world’s PC manufacturers) non-customized SKUs.
        Sorry if it offended, and of course it’s nice that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation takes some of Bill’s profits from Microsoft’s illegal monopoly to help the world. The foundation does some seriously good work.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @Trai_Dep: What “illegal monopoly” are you talking about? Because the only one that was remotely plausible is invalid since Firefox is doing great…

          It’s not a “monopoly” if the main competition is a glorified Fisher Price OS on a computer that costs twice as much.

    • angryneo says:

      @Trai_Dep: Don’t ya mean, Micro$oft?

  13. sevenwhitehorses says:

    You can’t compare Apple replacing something with Micorsoft doing it. Apple MAKES the equipment that their software is on Microsoft does NOT. It is not Microsofts fault if a computer their program on breaks but if an Apple product breaks IT IS THEIR PRODUCT that BROKE.

    As per the gift, it is nice of one individual to help another who is in a fix. Woot! to you for sending a gift especially since this fellow is in a spot where having some music would be such a great bonus!

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @sevenwhitehorses: If only Microsoft made some sort of portable device that played music in digital form, you’re saying? Then there’d be bountiful examples of Microsoft going above and beyond as Apple routinely does?
      If only… If only…

  14. Benny Gesserit says:

    Ultimately, the simple, human gestures like this one will be what saves us.

  15. CheritaChen says:

    First, yay Apple Store dude and yay Aaron. I loved his description of smashing the iPod in the door, and that he wasn’t afraid to be honest about it. Sure would be great if he could come home soon to enjoy his new iPod and his girlfriend.

    Second, was I the only one who had to read this line twice to figure it out?

    this one with 40 gigs of more memory

    While the device may have some memory, what you’re talking about is storage. As in, it stays there when the power is off. Mixing those two up is not uncommon, but throw in the awkward construction “of more” and the whole thing was like, wait, wha…?

    Seriously (bizarre poor-communication thread tangent notwithstanding), great story. I wish we heard of more cases like this.

  16. JennyDreadful says:

    So shines a good deed in a weary world.

  17. RedwoodFlyer says:

    What about the company that built the OS used by the DOD, White House, maintenance computers, design systems, parts inventory systems, etc etc?

    But yes, let’s praise the company that helps kill employees who are accused of losing an iPod..


    Meredith Vieira also supports our troups…

  18. Android8675 says:

    heh, ipod quality has been going downhill in recent years, it might of been better off keeping the older one. :)