Some people might have interpreted his message as disheartening, but not the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Image via KTBS-TV

Image source: KTBS-TV

“Hope you make it. Gavin.”

That’s the message members of the unit, deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan, found amid the myriad well-wishing cards from kids back home in America. As KTBS-TV reported, the unit adopted it as an unofficial slogan, putting it on coffee cups, posters and patches.

Image via KTBS-TV

Image source: KTBS-TV

The troops who adopted the slogan soon decided they wanted to meet the author, and with a little help from the Shreveport Times, they found him last week: Gavin Brint, 8 years old.

Image via KTBS-TV

Gavin Brint, center, meets the troops he inspired over the Internet. (Image source: KTBS-TV)

Gavin connected with the unit over the Internet, and the troops told him how his simple — and accidentally darkly funny — message had given them a boost.

Image via KTBS-TV

Image source: KTBS-TV

“I’m always getting on to him, and I tell him, you’re being a little too blunt,” said Gavin’s dad, Wes Brint. “So it’s really neat that these four words have meant so much to y’all, but as my wife said, you guys are the real heroes.”

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter