Five Do’s and Don’t’s When Writing to Someone at Basic Training or Boot Camp

So now your son or daughter, boyfriend or girlfriend, brother, sister or friend has headed off to Basic Training or Boot Camp. These next 8 to 10 weeks, or in the case of Marines 13 weeks will be some of the most challenging times for them and you.

Away from home, parents, loved ones, buddies and friends and surrounded by strangers (the other recruits) and non-smiling TI (Technical Instructors) or DI (Drill Instructors), the questions are… How do you stay in touch with them? How often should  you write? What should you say to help through the training until you can see them again at graduation?

Here are 5 simple Do’s and Don’t’s.

The DO’s.

  1. Simply write often to your soldier, sailor, airman, marine and guardsman.
    Remember …The best time of the day for these recruits will be ‘Mail Call’ ….especially when their name is called out!
  2. You don’t have to write a long letter; short upbeat notes from home can be just as effective.
  3. Send them photos, news about their favorite sports team or what’s going on at home.
  4. Use plain white envelopes, don’t decorate or scent the envelopes; this can get the Technical Instructor or Drill Instructors attention… usually not a good thing.
  5. Do tell them that you’re proud of them and that you’re looking forward to seeing them at Graduation or when they return home from training for a visit.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t send money; they don’t have much spare time or access to shopping and all money is logged in and locked up. This more work for the Instructors and trouble for your recruit. I made this mistake myself!
  2. Don’t send pornography or ‘pin-up’ or nude photos, off-color or racist jokes or comics. These items can get your soldier, sailor, marine, airman or guardsman in serious trouble.
  3. Don’t send packages of goodies. Basic is not the time for ‘Care Packages”.
  4. Don’t complain about not being able to talk to them or about how lonely you are.
    They are worried about doing well in training, may be homesick  and wish they could talk more often to you. Hearing that you’re upset is another worry for them.
  5. Don’t send bad news…almost anything can wait until they have completed training.  Of course, in the event of family illness or death, you should contact the American Red Cross who will get in touch with your loved ones training commanders.

Services like Write2Them can make it easier for you and their friends to stay in touch while your loved one is at Basic Training or Boot Camp by letting you send email with attachments such as photos or newspaper articles, sport team updates, jokes, funny or inspirational stories, favorite quotes or Bible verses.  You can find more information about the Write2Them service at

349 thoughts on “Five Do’s and Don’t’s When Writing to Someone at Basic Training or Boot Camp

  1. Can you send postcards? Everything says don’t make the envelopes fancy, but what about simple post cards. I often travel and would love to send my friends post cards while they are in training, but don’t want to cause them extras stress or attention.

    1. Chels,

      Interesting question…you can be sure that the messages will definitely be read aloud! It may get them extra attention, but I am sure that hearing from you will keep the spirits up, so I wouldn’t worry to much. Ask in a letter if it is an issue. Otherwise, just like everything you send to someone at basic training make sure the images and messages are in good taste and PG so your Friend doesn’t get in trouble.

      Thanks for asking such a great question!


  2. what happens if you send mail but they have already gone on to their EIT training be the time it arrives?

    1. Rebecca,
      If they are leaving basic training, they may not be allowed to provide a forwarding address for mail.
      The letters eventually make their way back to you (or us if you are using Write2Them).

    2. Rebecca,

      With the volume of mail at the training locations, they normally will not allow the trainees to put in a change of address or forward mail request.
      In the event your loved one receives mail or packages after they have left basic training, they are marked RTS – Return to Sender. Depending on the location, this can take between 2-4 weeks.

      At Project Write2Them, we always contact the account holder about returned mail as soon as we receive it.


    3. just time your last letter for week 7they will get it by week 8 then no more till you get the address of their new command.

  3. Hi,
    I know this is completely off topic, but my boyfriend left for his basic at Ft. Benning a week ago and I am finding it hard to cope with this. We used to live together, so I find it very weird to go back home from work. Fortunately, he is still in “Reception” till 7/6 and he had some phone privilege time so he called me and I’ve been able to talk to him for about 5-10 minutes every other day (3 times in the last week). He ships off on 7/6 and the thought that worries me the most is I am able to talk to him now (if not everyday, every other day), what is going to happen when the only kind of communication is letters. I know many of you have already gone through this and I just want some advice.
    The day he left was so overwhelming for me. I know everyone says “stay strong and you will be okay”, but its been a week and I don’t see it getting better- Does it ever get better? I also do not have a lot of friends here as I moved to Boston 1 year 8 months ago and I think its harder when you have no one to talk to about the things that make you sad/depressed.
    Any advice on how to cope with this will be appreciated!

    1. And he left last night. I got a 14- second cal from today saying that he was safe and he reached the platoon. I didn’t his platoon number or anything. But, he would mail the information to me. How long will this take to reach me? please help

      1. Hi Helen,
        Thank you for your response. I couldn’t hear him at all when he called me, all i heard was “I am safe and I am at the platoon”. I’m not sure when I will get his information (address..) to post my letters as my understanding is that the army sends out a package with all the information about the soldier, is that right?. Can I contact someone for the RN?

    2. you dont have to have alot of friends there are many wives like you who are going thru the same thing,u have to adjust for a while u will get letters,they dont have alot of time tocall look up your local bluestar moms organization they will help you get thru it,training doesnt last forever,when you two look back you will probably laugh at it,remember long distances makes the heart grow fonder and your love will definatly get stroger by the time he gets home,i have a niece n navy bootcamp right now i just wrote 2 letters of encouragement she is feeling down and homesick but i got to talk to her b4 she left and am sending letters to her so she will overcome the homesick guys have chose to be a military family and there will be times when you have to hold down the fort till he returns,remember he cant protect our country and bring in a check from home. it does definatly get easier somewhat but you have to find a support group and u can find one through the command there are always wives and husbands at home who do this and all ive heard is it was a godsend and helped them get through, the longer the wait as much as it sucks the better the private time you will have when he walks thru the door i guarantee you that good luck.

      1. Jerry,

        Great advice to Alisha! November is Military Family Appreciation Month.

        Thank you to all the spouses ‘holding down the fort’ while their loved one is at training or

        Helen and Project Write2Them team

  4. My boyfriend is in basic training at Fort Jackson and we told each other that we would send letters. He told me to send one every other day. I was wondering if him getting so much mail would get him into trouble. I don’t mind writing to him that much, I just don’t want to cause any issues. Also, I just dropped off my first letter to him at the post office today. I wanted to know how long it would take to get a letter back from him, knowing he would write back as soon as he could.

    Thank you

    1. Madison,
      I wouldn’t worry about him getting too many letters. They will help keep him going. We have lots of families who have sent letters every day during basic training and because Write2Them letters can have letters from several family members and friends, the trainee has lots to read in each letter.

      Well, I don’t know precisely where you are located but I would say somewhere between 2-4 days. That’s why we encourage people to always be sending a letter out so one is always coming in.

      I am sure that he’ll try to write back as soon as he can, but remember he’ll be very tired at the end of a day of training and it may take a couple of days to finish a letter and get it mailed back to you.

      Good luck to you both!

      1. My daughter’s boyfriend got in trouble for receiving 11 letters on one day. Every Drill Instructor is different about what is acceptable.

      2. Gaylene,
        I am sorry to hear that your daughter’s boyfriend got in trouble for receiving too much mail.
        That’s just another good reason to use Write2Them! Each morning we process all the email that come in for your loved one and combine them into a multi-page letter. So they get lots of mail each day, but since it comes in one envelope as a multi-page letter it doesn’t attract as much attention as 11 different envelopes coming in. Also, Write2Them letters are easy to keep neat and together to store in the foot lockers.
        Good luck to your daughter’s boyfriend.

    2. let me tell you the military doesnt have a limit on mail and i can absolutly tell you that getting mail is the pinnacle of his day i know for a fact,put a little perfume on them and he will go nuts when he gets them and when hes training he may just rub some off on him so you can be with him all me send the mail as much as you can,i did 2 west=pac’s in the navy out to sea for 6 months and when i got mail call and i got a letter it was awesome,the bad part is is when they have mail call and he dont get one it could bum him out all day.good luck!

      1. Jerry,

        Thanks for all your input! I know that many parents, spouses and friends will find them really helpful!

        We know how important mail call is to those at training and that’s why we try to make it as easy as possible for family and friends back home to right.

        Thank you for your service to our country!

        Helen and the Project Write2Them team.

  5. Hi Helen,

    Great article! Thank you! My fiance is currently going through basic training, and I agree all of these things! One little caveat– I see #4 on your “Don’t’s” quite often, and it is a little unfair in my opinion. I don’t think it is healthy for you or your soldier to hide your vulnerabilities. I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way; I just want to clarify for other people’s sake. I completely agree that you shouldn’t complain constantly, but letting your soldier know that you miss him and that life isn’t as great without him with you is, in my opinion, completely healthy and makes him feel wanted/needed at the end of the day. I think the appropriate way to address your feelings is to say something like, “I miss you so much, and it is really hard here without you. But I am SO proud of everything you are doing, and we are going to come out of this so strong and with you fulfilling your dreams!” Just qualify your sad statement with a positive one.

    A lot of people expect an army wife/girlfriend (or other close friend/family member) to be this completely selfless, stoic rock, devoid of emotions and sacrificial in all respects to their soldier. Maybe that is why so many military relationships don’t last. After all, frank communication is essential to a healthy relationship. My advice would be to stay positive in your letters to your soldier-in-training, but don’t completely mask your emotions and vulnerability. You’re a human being too!

    1. Cassie,

      Great insights about good communication being the key for healthy relationships. Long distance relationships are always more challenging and divorce especially among young military couples is common.

      I absolutely agree with you that should tell your loved one how much you miss them and how much you look forward to graduation or family weekend or their return home when you’ll see them again. There are instances however when the anxiety and loneliness from the person back home expressed continually in letters to the trainee/recruit becomes a distraction and burden on them.
      There are some wonderful support groups through Facebook and in many communities. Many Army training units have a Facebook page where you will be in touch with other families, see photos of the unit and get good information. The Air Force Wingmoms group offers Facebook closed groups for each Training Squadron.
      Navy for Moms is great group for Navy moms and there are support groups throughout the training pipeline and assignments. and are two excellent resources for Recruit and Marine parents. They also have a Facebook page.

      We encourage anyone who is experiencing anxiety, loneliness and the ‘blues’ to speak with a medical professional and/or clergy or pastor about their situation.

      Thanks again for sharing such great insights!


  6. My nephew left last week for basic and called late last night to give me his address. I am afraid i will not list the information correctly on the envelope so i would like some advice. The info is
    Private Johnson
    First Platoon
    C Company, 3-60th Infantry
    8500 Marian Ave
    Fort Jackson, SC 29207
    I’m sure they are abbreviations on some of this but not sure.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Katie,
      I am sure that your nephew will really enjoy getting letters from you!
      The address format is:
      PVT Last Name, First Name MI (If you have a roster number RN for your nephew add that too)
      I would put the Platoon information and the Company and Infantry info on the same line. For example:
      C CO 3-60th INF 1st PLT


  7. Hi, may I ask. I live outside USA. If my boyfriend sends me a letter from Fort Benning, will I still be able to receive it? I don’t really know since I haven’t received one letter from him yet. Thanks!

    1. Dear Pvt,
      International mail simply takes longer to be delivered, so your boyfriend’s letter to you is probably somewhere in the postal system. He may not have much time to get to the post office and he may be unsure of the correct amount of postage.
      We have many overseas families and friends using Project Write2Them service to stay in touch with their loved ones during basic training and boot camp. They know that their letters are getting processed every morning, Monday-Saturday and getting to their loved ones quickly.
      I hope you hear from your soldier at Ft. Benning soon.

  8. So, I already messed up on a couple of these. I sent my fiancée a letter on paper scented with my perfume (his sister-in-law did this for his brother and it was okay, so I had no clue it was bad). 😦 Plus, I said that I was proud of him for being so brave. How bad, exactly is this for him. I don’t want to get him in trouble. 😦 Help! I am panicking!!!!

    1. Persephone,
      Well, please don’t panic. Once you’ve sent the letter, it’s gone.
      Hopefully he didn’t get too much extra attention for the perfumed envelope and the color.
      I simply would just keep writing to him and not add the perfume anymore!


  9. Pls I would like to know if this address is correct
    Dco 31st ENBN PLT 3
    6221 Iowa ave,fort Leonard wood
    Mo 65473

  10. – I have a question, my Fiancé just left for basic in South Carolina what’s the address for me to write him a letter? Cause I don’t want to put something wrong..

  11. My nephew is in basic training in Fort Benning, GA. His birthday is coming up next month. I know I cannot send certain things to him, but was wondering if I might enclose a book of 20 postage stamps in his birthday card. Thought this small gift might be of help to him.

    1. Margarette,

      Every training location has their own set of rules. I would suggest sending the card minus the stamps and ask him if it would be ok to send the stamps in your next letter.


  12. My boyfriend is in Army basic and his mom suggested I send him a picture but specified that it must be wallet size or he’ll get in trouble. What are the dimensions for that? I have heard different things and don’t want to get him in trouble.

    1. Jennifer,
      Thanks for asking such a great question.
      I think of a wallet size photo as being approximately 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches, but I haven’t heard of specific photo size requirements for any unit, but drill or training instructors may have specific requirements for their platoons.
      Please remember that they don’t have a lot of room to store personal items and lots of loose bits of paper or photos can make a mess which could affect them passing inspections. I suggest just one or two photos no larger than 4×6.
      Also, make sure the photo is in good taste so that it doesn’t get him in trouble.
      With our service at Write2Them, the photos are part of the letter so everything stays together nicely and the photos print in a good size and full color.
      Good luck to you and boyfriend!

    2. Back in 2014 during my basic I received a 8×10 photo of my girlfriend. My drill made me run an extra mile (total was 4 that day) and that’s really it other than throwing the picture away after ripping it. Please, save your s.o. some trouble and send wallet size which is 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. He will be happy to receive it and limit it to one or 2 during his basic that way his “stockpile” isn’t trashed. Remember to keep them 100% appropriate or you will cause very drastic punishments to come to your s.o. Please take caution as well as the photo cannot have any writing on the back, only the letter may have writing on it. Thanks for being so cautious, I’m sure your s.o. will appreciate it!

  13. My boyfriend’s mom suggested I send him a picture, he’s in basic. She said it has to be wallet size or he can get in trouble, what are the dimensions of that? I’ve heard different things and just don’t want him I’m trouble.

    1. Jennifer,
      I don’t think there are hard and fast rules about the size of photos, but they don’t have a lot of room in their boot camp lockers and they have to keep them really neat, so they don’t need a lot of loose photos and papers.
      A wallet size photo is 2×3 inches, but I think you can safely send a 4×6 too.
      Remember to keep your photos PG or PG-13 so he doesn’t get in trouble.

  14. Hello, So I sent my friend some jokes about ISIS and the army that I found online (she loves inappropriate jokes but I’m afraid that they will get her in trouble). What happens if they don’t like what is in the letter? What happens if inappropriate materials are sent? Do we both get in trouble if they are meant to be jokes?

    1. Tanisha,

      I am sure that your friend enjoyed your letter and the jokes. Usually letters are not read by the Drill Instructors, so these might just slip right by.
      Letters are personal communication. Don’t worry …remember ISIS is the enemy!


  15. My boyfriend has been in basic training for two weeks now and I have received my first letter but all that was on the envelope was his name and Fort Benning Ga. I know that there is suppose to be more than that on the envelope such as his rank and rooster number due to his brother writing letters home while he was in basic training. What am I suppose to do to make sure he receives my letters since he didn’t put anymore information on the envelope than just his name and Fort Benning GA?

    1. Samantha!

      My fiancee is also at Fort Benning. Their first set of letters did not have the exact address, as they hadn’t had one assigned yet. The next one you get should have the full address so you can get started on sending. This is what they told me and his mother. 🙂 Yo may already have gotten another letter since then, but I hope this helps.

  16. My friend left to Navy bootcamp in Great Lakes, Chicago in November 23,2016 anyone know when he should be back? After graduation will he come home or will his family have to take his phone to him ? How does all this works?

  17. Hi this may be a really weird question but Lately I have been thinking about marriage nonstop. How I want to spend the rest of my life with him and be with him after schooling. Would it be a bad idea to include these thoughts in a letter that I wrote to him in basics?

    1. My boyfriend graduated from basic training in August from ft. Jackson. For me the first week he was gone was extremely hard, and it bothered me that I couldn’t understand what he was going through. I also don’t have very many friends, but the time he was in basic did go by fast for me after the first week and a half. I believe it’s because I stayed very busy with my job and making sure that I wrote him everyday or every other day. If you keep yourself busy that will help a lot. That’s what worked for me 🙂

    1. Kathy,
      No it doesn’t matter whether you hand write or type your letters to your loved one at basic training.
      The important thing is to write as often as possible, so your support and encouragement keep them strong.

    2. Kathy,
      No, it doesn’t matter at all. The most important thing to send lots of positive and encouraging letters to support and motivate your loved one during basic training. It doesn’t matter whether you hand write or type your letter, all that matters is that your loved one hear their name called at mail call and knows that someone back home loves and cares about them!

  18. I have the information to write my friend but I’m not sure what to write on the envelope here is the info 👇 do I just wrote it on the like that

    1-31FA/BV, CN
    BTRY, 3 TLT
    5955 Rothwell st
    Fortsill, Oklahoma 73503-4482

    1. Brianna,
      You did a great job getting all those bits of information.

      The address should be:
      PVT Last Name, First Name MI (if you have the RN or roster number, add it)
      1-31 FA (I am not sure about BV) C BTRY, 3 PLT
      5955 Rothwell St
      Ft. Sill, OK 73503-4482

      When he sends you a letter, double check on the address.

      Happy Thanksgiving!


      1. Sorry I don’t know how to add a regular comment but my brother went to basic training at lackland afb and I can’t think of anything to write him… Any suggestions?

  19. Hello I cannot find answers anywhere else and I have some serious concerns. I sent my boyfriend a letter in the beginning of November and didn’t receive one back and it could be because it was beast week but I timed how long it takes mail to get to him so I sent it so he could get it after. Now I think I’m being ignored. I saw that he was on Facebook but he did not bother to message me and it hurts. I don’t now how this works and if I actually am being ignored. I missed his graduation but he understands that I do not have thousands to spend on tickets so he said it will be fine he will just see me during the holidays or something. On the day after his graduation I missed a phone call he made to me from his sister’s phone and I have the WORST anxiety because it’s a no no and frowned upon. By the time I got the message it was too late but I seen his Facebook so does he have access to talk to me? I hope I didn’t disappoint him with the phone call I cannot sleep or eat with this much regret on my mind. He said he wouldn’t forget about me but I’m feeling invisible. Graduation was 5 days ago btw and I can’t calm myself down I am lost. A few people said he has another week to go and will get his phone back next Monday on the way to tech school is that true ?

    1. Shelby,
      First, take a deep a breathe. I am not sure which training location your boyfriend graduated from, but in general, they have very little access to phones during basic training. They are tired after a full day of training and so they don’t write to any one very much. During graduation weekend, they have access to their phones and the Internet, which is why you probably saw him post on Facebook and why he tried to reach by phone.
      After graduation, if they are at Lackland after BMT graduation, they have another week of training with limited access to their phones.
      Things get much better once they get to Tech School, so hang in there!

  20. HI, I’m really scared right now b/c I realized I shoudn’t have put lipstick all over my so’s basic training letters and now I am really, really, really scared? will he get in trouble???

    1. Hello Lyd, I was at basic in 2014 and I’ll answer your question! Generally, during “Mail Call”, as we call it, the “Drill’s” will glance over letters and generally don’t pay too much attention to them. Yes the drill may have poked fun at your boyfriend due to lipstick possibly being conceived as “mushy” “cute” and whatever else, but worse case scenario, He gets a funny nickname. One of our pvt’s had his girlfriend send him lipstick and he got the nickname “red lip” and during his graduation we all chanted that. It made his time a little funner he said and he also stated that every time he was called “red lips” he would think of home and his girlfriend and it would make him sad for a moment. Hope i helped ease some concern!

      1. Sgt. Stokes,
        Thanks for your insight!
        The DI’s will look for ‘training’ moments throughout boot camp because that’s their job; to take civilians and turn them into Soldiers, Marines and Airman.

  21. My friend let for basic a few days ago to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and told me to write him first, but he didn’t give me any address and I know he doesn’t have mine. Do I just address the letter to the military base or is there a specific address I need to find?

    1. Hannah,

      Unfortunately, you do need the specific address. They get so much mail at Lackland.
      I suggest that you contact your friend’s family who will receive the address information from him directly or from the Command.

      Good luck!


  22. Hi!

    My boyfriend leaves in 9 days to fort Jackson for basic training. I was told that it would be helpful to send him paper, envelopes and stamps in order for him to send letters home. I was going to print out some address labels and put it all in a box for him to have during the period of his stay. If I send a package, will he be able to receive it? If not, will he have access to these things while he is there in order to send letters home?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Caisey,

      I would send him off to Ft. Jackson with some paper, envelopes, stamps etc. for those first few letters.
      He will have time to go the PX (Post Exchange – think Walmart or Target) and purchase items when he gets there.
      I would not send him any packages until you hear from him that he can receive a package. If he requests certain items, only send those items nothing extra even though you will want too.

      Good luck to your boyfriend!

      Also, look at signing up for Project Write2Them service to make it easy for you to get your letters to him!


  23. My boyfriend has been in basics for about a month now, but I haven’t gotten any mil from him yet….he told me he’s been writing when they got phone time but that was 3weeks ago and I haven’t heard from him since. I’m pretty sure my mom has been throwing away my letters (I don’t know why I thought she liked him, and she won’t admit it) saying that they must be getting lost in the mail or something. That’s not the case because me and him triple checked the address.

    Is there a way for me to call someone to get the information needed to address letters to him? I don’t have his moms phone number.

    1. Dear K.H.

      I hope you have heard from your boyfriend by now!
      Sometimes they are just so tired after a day of training that they simply don’t have much energy to write.
      I would suggest contacting his Recruiter. If you contact me at, I may be able to help.


      1. I have heard from him thank you! My mom was throwing the letters away and finally admitted it and gave me one😊. I followed your tips when I wrote back, you were right he asked for pictures and for lots of letters because he gets bored. Thank you!

  24. My boyfriend is leaving for marine corps boot camp in about week. It’s obvious not to send porn or any inappropriate photos, but would he get a lot of attention from his DIs if my letters were really mushy (lots of I love you’s ect.) I just don’t want to cause him any unnecessary stress so if someone could offer some experience here that would be great. Thank you in advance!

    1. Lacey,

      I would say that 99.9% of the time the contents of communications between the trainee and their loved one are completely private. Drill Instructors/Training Instructors don’t read the letters you send. I suppose if they noticed colored paper, decorations, lots of hearts and xoxo’s, they might call out your boyfriend.

      Does anyone else have any thoughts or advice for Lacey?

      Enjoy these days before he leaves for boot camp!


  25. my son went into the Navy, there is only one boot camp for the navy, when I called to get the address I was told they didn’t know. So I went online and found the address myself. Is it common practice for Recruiters to tell you they don’t know where your son went?

    1. Dawn,
      While you can find the address for each Ship and Division on the Great Lakes Naval Training Center website, you may not which Ship he has been assigned too.
      It can take a few days before the Recruiters get the address information for your son.

      Best regards,

  26. So my boyfriend left for basic yesterday we where able to talk up until the moment he got on base… I haven’t met his family yet and I did give him my address to put in his wallet how soon should I look forward to seeing a letter to him he’s at ft Jackson

    1. my boyfriend is at ft jackson as well! it took about a week and a half for his parents to get a letter, and 2 weeks for me to. i hope that helps. and if you need anything, just ask 🙂

      1. If i gave my friend my adress and he told me he would write in two weeks do i just wait for him to write and then send it back to the return adress? I have never wrote letters before haha and I do not have any of his info only he has my addy. Thanks!!

      2. Yes, Nicole, that’s what you have to do is wait until you get his address!
        Then you can sign up for Project Write2Them’s service and then you can just send emails and we’ll take care of printing the emails and photos and mailing them out for you.
        You might even get your friend’s family to sign up for the account and add you as one of the FRIENDS.
        We turn emails in letters every day except Sunday!

  27. My bestfriend is in basic training& I wanted to know it would be okay to print out funny pictures and send them to her? Just to make her smile.

    1. Cat,
      Are you thinking of getting a large envelope and address a couple of letters?
      Large envelopes may get some attention as the Drill Instructors are looking for magazines.
      If you can put a couple of letters in a regular size envelope then there should be no issues.

  28. When I wrote to my boyfriend, i put pvt first name, last name on accident for about 15 letters. When I think its suppose to be pvt. Last name, first. Will he still get my letters? He got a few a few weeks ago but none lately

    1. Tami,
      I really don’t think that the order of the name would affect the mail delivery significantly.
      If he has confirmed that he received some of the letters you’ve sent and the address on his envelope matches the addresses you have been sending to, I wouldn’t worry about it.


      1. Fudge knuckles!!!! My mom sent my fiancée one in a yellow envelope. But, his mom said it was okay, as it was okay for her first Son. What do I do!? Also, refer to my previous comment…. 😦

  29. My friend left for marine Bootcamp much earlier than expected and I was out of town when he left so I never got to give him my address. We had talked about sending letters but we thought we had a few weeks to figure things out. We didn’t get a real goodbye just texting so I’m not sure if I should write him or not. I know none of his other friends are writing him and I see that you mentioned it could really impact their experience for the better. Is there anyway I could write him before receiving an address? Seeing as he doesn’t know my address he won’t have anywhere to send the form to.

    1. Jess,
      That’s really nice that you want to write to your friend.
      I suggest contacting his parents and seeing if they will give you his address.
      I am sure that your friend will really enjoy your letters!

  30. Hi Helen!

    My package was delivered to Fort Sill on 8/1. In addition, I received a letter from my soldier on 8/7 stating that she has not received any of my packages or letters. Is this normal?? How long can it take? Its 8/11 now and I’m hoping her next letter says she received it, but I didnt think it would take this long to get to her, especially if it was delivered 6 days before her letter to me.


    1. Zain,

      I am sorry I didn’t respond sooner; we’ve been very busy.

      Most trainees can’t get any packages during basic training. Did you ask her in one of your letters if she could receive a package before you send it out to her? It’s possible that because you sent a package that they are holding it until graduation.

      Zain, I am not sure exactly when you started sending her letters because you’re not using the Write2Them service, so I can’t tell you if it’s a normal time span. We usually tell people 2-3 days depending on the location. During the summer months, the training locations are in full swing with many trainees receiving mail, so there may be some delays at Ft. Sill.

      Did you check the address on her letter with the address you have been using on your letters to her?

      Improperly or misaddressed mail certainly will delay a letter.

      I hope by the time you’ve read this that she’s received all of your letters and that package you sent.

  31. Hey.. I have a question my bf left to boot camp 15 days ago. I mailed him some letters the first and second week..Do y’all think he got them already?.. I still haven’t gotten one from him yet! Thank you.

    1. Hey, my boyfriend leaves for bootcamp tomorrow… and I’ve talked to his mom, and she told me that the first like two-three weeks, they’ll be settling in and start training, so they won’t have as much free time for right now. However, I don’t know if it’ll be the same for every branch. My boyfriend’s mom was in the Navy and he’s joining the Marines so I guess it all depends on their DI.

      I hope this helped somehow! 🙂

      1. Maria,
        Thanks for sharing the information.
        Those first weeks of training are very difficult and at the end of the day your boyfriend and the other recruits or trainees will be very tired!
        That means, don’t expect a lot of letters from him :-(, but you keep writing lots of letters to him. Hearing his name called at Mail Call will definitely brighten his day and keep him going during those long hot days of boot camp!


  32. Hi Helen,

    Firstly, thank you for this wonderful and informative website.

    My girlfriend was shipped off to basic training in Fort Sill on July 19th. Today we received our first letter from her! I’ve been writing her letters every day since the 19th, so I’ve got so many that I still was unable to send out (since we had no address till now!).

    So, my question is: can I send one of those 11×15 big yellow envelopes with all of my letters in there at once? I was planning on individually enveloping each of the letters, then putting all of those envelopes [along with some pictures] into the bigger yellow envelope.

    Thank you again and hope to hear from you soon,


    1. Zain,
      Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you’re finding the blog helpful.
      It’s really neat thing that you’ve been writing to her all along. I know she’ll love getting those letters from you.

      I don’t think you should send all the letters in a large envelope.
      I am sure the drill instructor will closely monitor the contents of an envelope that large, because he or she will be looking for
      items that shouldn’t be sent to trainees during boot camp.
      Just put the letters in normal size white envelope and mail them. Also don’t send too many loose pictures.
      They have to keep every neat and organized in their foot lockers.
      The last thing that need is a lot of different size pieces of paper to keep together.

      That one of the great things about our Write2Them letters all the photos just print right out in the letter in full color.
      Easy to keep neat and organized as the letter folds and goes right back into the envelope.

      Keep writing to her…she needs to hear your encouraging word of support!

      Best regards,

      1. Thank you for such a quick response! I will definitely heed your advice.

        Actually, the main reason I wanted to send the large envelope is because I had a 11×14 collage made with our pictures, including her family’s pictures. So it would be my letters plus the collage that would go in the envelope. This particular envelope is the one from the USPS, if that matters.

        Should I still send it ?


      2. Zain,

        The photo collage sounds wonderful! I am not sure that she will have room for it during boot camp.
        That might be an awesome gift for her graduation before she heads off to her tech or advance training school.
        Maybe one of our ARMY families could advise Zain better about the size of the collage. Does anyone have any experience with this?


      3. Helen,

        Do you think if I send the larger envelope that she will still receive it? I have about 10 letters + the 1 collage to send to her , which wont fit in a regular envelope. I am okay with them inspecting it, as long as my partner receives it without any delay!

        We just got her letter with address today!!! Can’t wait to send it to her with the fastest shipping possible haha

        Thank you,

  33. My best friend just went to boot camp for the marines, she wrote me a letter and I just got it yesterday. She seemed really down, and the only thing that seemed to be upbeat in the short letter she wrote was that she was excited to see me in a couple months. I’m worried about her, I wanna send her a few pictures of how much my dogs grew, and write her lots but I’m afraid she will get in trouble. Do you think sending a photo of my puppies would be ok? I wanna cheer her up.

    1. Krista,

      We have families that send photos all the time to their Recruits at Parris Island and MCRD San Diego.
      Your friend needs her girlfriends back home to keep her up-to-date on everything that’s going on. You can bet that she misses you and that she’s working extremely hard.
      I am always in awe of our Marines!

      Photos of family, dogs/cats, and most anything are fine. Just remember that part of the training is having to keep everything very well organized which includes photos and letters. All the photos attached to Project Write2Them letters are printed in full color…from your phone medium size is perfect.

      Yes. Send the photos…it will definitely cheer her up!


  34. can you help me obtain the address to write my son letters? hes at fort sill in Oklahoma city doing basic training for the army national guard

    1. John,
      Once you get the address, I can give you some advice on the formatting, but unfortunately I don’t have access to the address.
      Perhaps her family has received it already, I suggest asking them.


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