Category: Basic Training

Top Five Reasons a Military Snack Box Makes a Great Gift

Care Packages to APO/DPO/FPO Addresses Ship for Free

Not a day goes by that you don’t think of your loved one in the military. Whether they’re stationed overseas or on a domestic military base, being far apart can be heart-wrenching. You probably remember the emotions you felt when they first left for basic combat training, and you wrote them letters almost every day. The worry and the pride never fades, and you probably feel compelled to show your love in new ways, ways you didn’t have to consider before because your loved one is nearby.

A thoughtful way you can express your love for your military member and personal hero is by sending them a military snack box from My Hero Crate. Here are five reasons why our armed forces care packages make such great gifts.

1. Active people have strong appetites.

With your loved one taking part in physical activities every day, sometimes all day long, they are sure to get hungry. The contents of our snack boxes are military-approved, so the treats we’ll send to your soldier will be able to be appreciated and consumed. Hearty treats like nuts and beef jerky satisfy appetites until the next meal time.

2. American soldiers deserve all-American gifts.

Our armed services troops are fighting to defend our country, so it only makes sense that our snacks come from American suppliers and are fulfilled by an American company. (That’s us! We’re based in Ohio!). While we’re sure your hero would enjoy any gift you send them, there’s just something special about receiving a patriotic care package!

3. Our memories are tied to food.

Especially in the United States, we tend to tie our most-loved memories to food. Think about it. What memorable family reunion doesn’t include a potluck meal of beloved family recipes? What snacks did you enjoy when you attended a sporting event together? Our military snack boxes contain a variety of treats that are sure to remind your hero of your special times together.

4. We make care package shipping easy.

Of course, you could put together your own care package to send it to your soldier, but you have to worry about finding a suitable package, then visiting the post office to pay for postage. My Hero Crate takes care of all of it for you, which saves you time — time you could spend writing your loved one a letter or accepting their phone calls. And, you don’t need to know any special shipping guidelines, either.

5. Military snack boxes are appropriate for every occasion.

While most military bases are well-stocked with civilian snacks that your loved one can purchase, it’s way more special to receive a big box of treats because it means someone was thinking of you! Our snack boxes are a great gift for every occasion: birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or celebrating a big achievement. Or, you can send one just because; that’s why we offer our snack box subscription service! 

We created My Hero Crate because we care, and because we know you do, too. To show your military loved one that you’re thinking of them, visit our website and pick out the perfect snack box to send to them, no matter where they’re stationed. 

Three Ways to Jazz Up Your Snail Mail

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!

 

Learn more about My Hero Crate and our new snack box subscriptions. You can shop our full selection online, including our gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.

Celebrating a Deployed Soldier’s Birthday

Be Discreet, or Go All Out!

At any stage in a military member’s career, hearing from loved ones at home is comforting and motivating. But when it comes to their birthday, things can get a little more complicated depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

To simplify your decision-making about what to do for your soldier’s or recruit’s birthday, My Hero Crate is here to give you some great ideas.



Birthdays at Boot Camp

Most recruits are pretty young — fresh out of high school, or even college-age — although, of course, there are plenty that are a little older, too. Birthdays are still pretty special to them, especially as they reach landmark years: leaving their teens, or turning 21.

If your recruit’s birthday falls during their time away at boot camp, we have some bad news. Boot camp is actually not the best time to send your recruit a military care package, let alone a birthday gift. There’s a reason recruits are instructed to not bring much with them to basic combat training, and that’s because whichever branch they’ve enlisted in, be it Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard, they provide what they need to get through.

However, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t acknowledge your recruit’s birthday. Instead of a soldier care package, consider sending a heartfelt letter through the mail. Reflect on previous celebrations, talk about how proud you are of them for joining the military, and wish them happy birthday in a way that won’t bring the ire of their drill sergeant down upon them. The one thing you definitely don’t want during boot camp is special attention!

 

Birthdays After Basic Training

When your recruit graduates to soldier and their birthday comes around, finding creative ways to celebrate or send a gift to a military base is totally OK!

Some people prefer to keep it simple and follow the boot camp rules for celebrating birthdays. But if your soldier really loves their birthday, you might want to send a special Army care package, or build your own Navy gift box — or whatever branch they’re in — to send to your soldier.

If you want to keep it simple, My Hero Crate can take care of the packaging and shipping for you. Just select what type of care package you’d like to send, and your hero will receive their military care package directly from us.

If you prefer to create your own, know you will need to carefully package the contents to prevent them from being crushed, especially if you’re including anything fragile (like certain snacks). A popular item to receive is the famous cake-in-a-jar, which is a personal-sized cake baked directly inside a canning jar. Other ideas include necessities like underwear or sunblock; snacks, like chips, nuts, jerky, trail mix, or drink mixes in single-serving packages; simple games like cards or puzzle books (but not jigsaw puzzles); stationery supplies without stamps; and photos and special notes.

 

Birthdays During Deployment

It’s hard enough to be deployed to another part of the world, let alone when you’re deployed on your birthday. Just as you might send your soldier a birthday gift when they’re stateside, you also can send them a gift while they’re deployed for the domestic cost of shipping.

The United States Postal Service offers a reduced rate for military mail. You need only pay domestic postage on anything going to an APO or FPO address, as long as you have the APO/FPO/DPO and the zip code. Double-check with your soldier that you’ve written their mailing address down correctly before shipping a gift to them.

If assembling overseas-quality sturdy packaging and securing shipping just isn’t your forte, but you still want to send something special, My Hero Crate can take care of you in this situation, too! Our soldier care packages ship free 100% of the time. You’re already paying the emotional toll of having a loved one in the military; you don’t need to be nickel-and-dimed for postage, too.

 

Shop Now at My Hero Crate

Ready to send a care package and let us handle everything for you? Perfect! We’re ready to do it! Start by browsing our selection of care packages. You can even choose to sign your soldier up for a care package subscription service, and we’ll send a gift box every month!

When you place the gift box order with us, you’ll include your billing address, and your soldier’s shipping address. Then, we’ll take care of the rest. The next thing you know, you’ll get a phone call or letter thanking you for the care package full of snacks and sweet treats.

A Civilian’s Guide to Military Jargon

Understand Your Soldier’s Lingo

 

When you send your soldier-in-training to basic combat training, you’ll likely hear them say some strange phrases the next time they talk to you in person or send you a letter. If you have no idea what they’re talking about, you’re in luck! At My Hero Crate, your military care package specialist, we’ve assembled a list of military slang for your reference.

Note that this list includes slang from multiple branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. And yes, there really are that many terms that mean “push-ups”!

 

Military Slang Terms

Ate-up: Description for a service member overly concerned with following regulations to the letter, without looking at the context of the situation.

Battle rattle: Combat gear, named for the sound all the equipment makes when the soldier moves.

Beat your face: Do push-ups.

Big Voice: Loudspeakers that broadcast urgent messages on a military base.

Bird: A military helicopter.

Blue-head: a new recruit in the first weeks of boot camp, for the blue shade their scalp looks after shaving off their hair.

Bubblehead: Anyone serving on a submarine.

Bug company: In Navy boot camp, a group of recruits incapable of performing tasks correctly.

Bunk: Bed.

Cherry: A new recruit, still in basic combat training, or a new service member on their first-ever duty assignment.

Chow: Food.

CO: Commanding officer.

Cover: Military headgear of any type.

Forward-leaning rest position or Front-leaning rest: Push-up position.

Gear adrift is a gift: If you left something behind and unattended, someone can “tactically acquire” it (which is still considered larceny). Generally speaking, if you were irresponsible enough to leave something behind, it’s your fault if it comes up missing.

Geedunk: In the Navy, snack foods, or the store where snacks are sold.

Get smoked: A tough, but fast work-out used as a punishment, in the Army. Marines say they “get thrashed.”

Hit the head: Go to the restroom.

Hooah: A spirited cry in celebration of something positive, or to express Army pride.

Joe: General term for a soldier.

Mess: Meal.

MRE: Meal, ready-to-eat.

Muster: Roll call.

On your face: Do push-ups.

PT: Physical training.

PX: Post Exchange, the base’s retail store. Called Base Exchange in the Air Force.

Quarter-decking: Performing physical training in the recruit barracks as a punishment in boot camp.

Rack Out: Go to sleep.

Rainbow Flight: A brand-new group of U.S. Air Force trainees in basic training, because of the “rainbow” of civilian clothes they wear before being issued uniforms.

Sat: Satisfactory.

Soup sandwich: A way to describe anything messy, like an unkempt uniform, for example.

Unsat: Unsatisfactory.

Woobie: Poncho liner, used as a blanket.

Zero dark thirty: Literally, a half an hour past midnight. Also used in reference to an unknown time very early in the morning. Usually pronounced oh dark thirty.

 

More Than a Letter or a Phone Call

Now that you know some military slang and jargon, you’re ready to talk to your soldier-in-training or enlisted soldier! It’s so much easier to carry on a conversation with someone when you understand these military-specific phrases.

Of course, when a phone conversation or even a letter aren’t enough, there’s My Hero Crate, military care packages you can send to your favorite hero, whether at home or deployed. Each My Hero Crate features popular, assorted American snacks and is designed to show your gratitude for your special someone’s military service. You can even sign your loved one up for a subscription, and they’ll receive a new My Hero Crate each month — you can cancel at any time.

Choose from three pre-built care packages:

Order a thoughtful care package for your loved one.

Basic Combat Training Care Package Wishlist

Send a Military Care Package to Your Hero

When you dropped your son or daughter off at basic combat training, the first step in their military careers, you probably wondered what their next 10 to 16 weeks would be like. You hoped they were prepared and had everything they needed to succeed.

Now that they’re on base, you treasure the brief phone calls or quick letters you receive from them. Of course, you want to send them surprises to keep their morale up as they work hard at boot camp. But not all units allow care packages–and some put strict limitations on what can be in them.

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of items your new military member would like to and can usually receive in care packages during basic combat training. Remember that your soldier has limited space to store their possessions.

 

Clothing Items and Accessories for a Soldier Care Package

  • White calf-length socks without logos of any kind
  • Brief underwear in white (Some units allow for brown, tan, or black as well, so check with your trainee)
  • Sports bras for women (Check for specific color requirements, but usually white, brown, tan, or black are acceptable)
  • Digital watch (black watch bands only)

 

Army Care Package Hygiene Items (for Navy, Air Force, and Marines, too!)

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Unscented hair gel
  • Unscented, unflavored lip balm
  • Unscented hand lotion or body lotion
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers, without a built-in file
  • Facial tissue
  • Disposable razors for men only
  • Unscented baby wipes or flushable wipes
  • Unscented bar soap
  • Dental floss
  • Unscented stick deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Unscented laundry soap
  • Moleskin patches for blisters (available at your local drugstore)
  • Black hair ties/ponytail holders for women only
  • Lotion-style shaving cream (not in cans)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Foot powder

 

Stationery Items for Military Care Packages

  • Small address book, pre-filled out with family and friends’ mailing addresses
  • Black ink pens
  • Pencils
  • Journal
  • Black permanent marker
  • Plain white lined paper
  • Plain white envelopes (you can self-address and stamp them, if you’d like)
  • Stamps

 

Other Great Items to Include in a Care Package for Basic Combat Training

  • Religious medallions or a rosary
  • Plain black or silver combination lock
  • Cash ($50 or less)
  • Shoe inserts
  • Sugar-free menthol cough drops
  • Sewing kit
  • Tasteful personal photos
  • Bible, Quran, Torah, or other religious text
  • Icy Hot
  • Petroleum jelly

 

Prohibited Care Package Items

The military does not allow soldiers to possess certain items during basic combat training. Do not send these items, because they will be confiscated.

  • Ammunition or explosives (live or expended)
  • Cameras or other electronic items, including MP3 players, and radios
  • Food or beverages of any kind
  • Flavored cough drops
  • Flavored lip balms
  • Cosmetics of any kind
  • Scented lotions, colognes, perfume, or after-shave
  • Civilian clothes or eyeglasses
  • Hair products aside from shampoo or clear hair gel, including hair dryers or curling irons
  • Jewelry (wedding bands are approved)
  • Matches, lighters, and tobacco products
  • Weapons or sharp objects of any kind, including pointed scissors and pocket knives
  • Medications or health supplements, including eye drops
  • Braces (for knees, ankles, wrists, etc.)
  • Books or magazines
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Liquid bandage
  • Games or gambling items (including dice, playing cards, etc.)
  • Any item valued more than $50
  • Military memorabilia 

The list of prohibited items is not comprehensive, and allowed items vary by unit. A good rule of thumb is, if your soldier asks for a specific item, he or she is probably allowed that item, and it is OK to send it.

 

Choose My Hero Crate

When your soldier-in-training graduates from basic combat training and heads off to their assignment, send them a gift from My Hero Crate! Your newly-minted soldier will know you’re thinking of them as they protect and serve their country. Shop our thoughtfully-curated collection of military care packages.

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