September 21, 2005 , Detroit -

To help kick-off the holiday donation drive for Operation Gratitude, an all-new 2006 Jeep® Commander dove 1,200 feet from a Sikorsky helicopter accompanied by seven skydivers. The Jeep brand will expand its partnership with Operation Gratitude by making the nearly 2,800 Jeep dealerships nationwide official “drop zone” locations for Operation Gratitude, a national non-profit organization that collects comfort items and letters of appreciation from the American public and ships them to service members overseas.

“Today, the new seven-passenger Jeep Commander showcased its legendary ‘go-anywhere, do-anything’ capability by traveling through unusual conditions to help Operation Gratitude as it arrives in dealerships across the country,” said  Jeff Bell, Vice President – Jeep, Chrysler Group. “The Jeep brand’s military heritage goes back more than 65 years, so it’s only natural that our dealers would expand our relationship with Operation Gratitude to help our service men and women around the world.”

In order to reach troops in time for the holidays, Operation Gratitude will begin collecting donations at Jeep dealerships immediately. Consumers are encouraged to drop off items ranging from packs of gum to tuna salad kits and from CDs to DVDs. For a complete list of needed items, consumers can visit or

“Through our expanded partnership, the Jeep brand and its dealers have made it possible for every American across the country to participate in Operation Gratitude's effort to express thanks and appreciation to the troops,” said Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude. “With the Jeep brand’s help, we hope to reach our goal of sending more than 30,000 packages to the troops this holiday season.”

See It to Believe It
As the first seven-passenger vehicle to be introduced to the Jeep lineup, the all-new Jeep Commander demonstrated its ability to navigate uncharted paths and maneuver extreme conditions by dropping from a soaring helicopter.  

From an altitude of 1,200 feet, it took approximately 30 seconds for the Jeep Commander to touch ground after being released from the Sikorsky helicopter. Seven skydivers with Operation Gratitude and Jeep banners accompanied the Jeep Commander's descent. A stunt like this has never been executed before outside of military operations.

No modifications were made to the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander production model.

“Only an event this large and this spectacular could help celebrate a partnership like the one that exists between Jeep and Operation Gratitude,” said Bell. “The next six to eight weeks is a critical time for Operation Gratitude to collect and assemble goods in order for troops to receive care packages in time for the holidays.”

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that sends care packages and letters to individually named U.S. troops deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Korea and onto military ships all over the world.

This organization was founded in March 2003 by Carolyn Blashek to support U.S. Troops serving in some of the world’s harshest locations and is funded entirely by private donations and staffed exclusively by volunteers. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and to express to all troops the appreciation and support of the American people. For safety and security, the assembling of packages occurs at the California Army National Guard, 746th QM BN Armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude has delivered more than 71,000 packages to American troops stationed overseas.

To learn more about Operation Gratitude, visit

About Jeep Commander
The 2006 Jeep Commander expands and strengthens the Jeep lineup, which consists of Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The introduction of the Jeep Commander signals the Jeep brand’s commitment to remain the leader in the SUV market, a market that Jeep invented more than 60 years ago.

The Jeep Commander is designed to meet the needs and expectations of Jeep buyers. Unlike other SUVs on the road today, the Jeep Commander is the first seven-passenger 4x4 that is Jeep Trail Rated®, and it is the only SUV in its class to offer a choice of two V-8 engines.

The Jeep Commander includes the highest level of safety and security technology and features ever offered on a Chrysler Group vehicle. Introduced for the first time on the Jeep Commander, standard side-curtain air bags with a roll detection system deploy airbags in certain rollover and side-impact situations.  Additionally, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) are standard on Jeep Commander.