Loved Ones in the Armed Forces Treasure Your Letters
When your soldier is deployed, or your recruit is away at basic combat training, all the branches of the military recommend sending letters to your loved one the old-fashioned way. These motivating letters help your favorite military member get through each day. Training and deployment aren’t easy times.
Depending on your soldier’s or recruit’s location and training status, you will want to take great care with what you send in the mail and how you send it. Here are three ways you can make your mail extra special without attracting attention from the drill sergeant or breaking any rules.
The Boot Camp Exception: Keep Basic Training Mail Simple
The least conspicuous mail to your recruit at boot camp can be, the better. Use plain white envelopes, and write only their address and your return address on the outside. Avoid adding stickers, doodles, or other messages to the outside of the envelope. It can be tempting to make the letter look fun and exciting, but it’s sure to catch the attention of the drill sergeant during mail call.
The best way to jazz up mail at boot camp is to include one or two small photos, or reserve drawings or motivating messages for inside the letter itself. Your recruit can open their mail away from prying eyes and be able to privately enjoy the character you’ve added to their mail.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having photos printed, then picking them up, and hoping they fit inside the envelope, you can use your home printer to add images directly to the paper you write your letter on. This also simplifies the number of items your recruit will need to keep organized in their limited storage space.
Most military bases will recommend that you not send armed forces care packages to your recruit during boot camp, unless they specifically ask for an item.
Talk About What’s Important
Instead of rambling on about all the things your military member is missing back home, especially if you have a recruit in boot camp, focus your letters on their training, their goals, and the relationships they’re building. This is much more motivating and less likely to make them feel homesick.
Similarly, deployed troops love receiving motivating letters, too. It helps them focus on the task they’ve been sent to do. It’s also only natural to want to keep your soldier updated on everything that’s happening back home. Use your best judgement on how to share those details. Remember that letters from home always stir up emotions.
Add Something Unexpected
Outside of boot camp, you can dress up letters to your soldier with less risk of attracting attention. While you might consider tossing in a small amount of confetti for flair, especially on a birthday, your soldier will be expected to clean up every piece!
Instead, you might change up the way you’re writing your letters. For example:
- Write a letter, journal-style. Work on the letter over a period of a week, dating each new section. This will provide you with chances to write a little bit or a lot each day. Hearing about your days in snippets can be comforting and show your soldier just how quickly the time is passing.
- Include newspaper clippings, magazine cut-outs, or other tidbits from your soldier’s favorite news source, or about their favorite topic. It’s especially poignant if it’s related to their hometown or somewhere special to them.
- Make your own greeting card, with your own art, out of plain cardstock. Paint, draw, color, or collage the front of it to customize it.
- Send a military-themed care package. Soldiers love receiving snacks and other items from their loved ones. If they’re deployed overseas, you can even take advantage of domestic shipping rates for base addresses. My Hero Crate is pleased to offer military care packages for all branches. Each of our carefully curated gift boxes includes American products from American distributors and comes with free shipping, making sending a special package even easier. But remember: don’t send a care package to a recruit at basic training!