Eight Great Ideas When Writing Letters to Recruits at Basic Training

When our loved ones are away at Boot Camp or Basic Military Training, we want to show our love and support by keeping a steady stream of letters (or emails if you use Write2Them) coming their way.  I know the whole idea of a blank piece of paper or an empty email with only the TO and From fields filled in is intimidating, but don’t be afraid..your Airman, Soldier, Guardsman, Sailor or Marine will be so happy to hear from you!

If you’re committed to writing letters to your loved one at basic training every day, as many of our customers are, or you simply want to send just one letter a week, this article is for you.

The most important thing is simply to write to your loved one at Basic Training and keep your letters positive.  You don’t have to write long letters; short little notes or random thoughts that come to you throughout the day are perfect.

You don’t have to be creative to get a short note out to your loved one. Remember all news from home is new to them!

Here are eight more ideas that you might put in your letter (or email) to your son, daughter, grandchild or spouse while they are at Basic Training.

1)      Updates on their hometown sports teams (high school, college and pros) will give you plenty of ‘newsy’ items to share!  Most national and local newspapers publish their papers on the Internet and many times you can simply ‘copy and paste’ the text.

2)      Stories about your day, what the dog did, what brothers and sisters are doing.

3)      Photos of family members and pets (no nude photos, please); we don’t want our recruits getting in trouble.

4)      Art work from young children in the household.

5)      Send jokes…no one needs a smile more than someone going through boot camp or  basic training.  I like Knock Knock jokes because they are either so corny that you smile, groan and shake your head or you smile and chuckle because they are amazingly clever. Either way your loved one should be smiling!

You can find a nice selection of Knock Knock jokes at http://www.knock-knock-joke.com/ or http://knockknockjokes4u.wordpress.com that are rated P-PG, no need to get your Soldier, Guardsman, Sailor, Airmen or Marine in trouble.

6)      Bible quotes and  other motivational quotes and stories (I’ll be putting together some suggestions in a later Blog)

7)      Each day you probably receive at least one forwarded email from your friends with the latest in cute animal photos or funny cartoons.

8)     ALWAYS tell them how PROUD you are of them and their decision to serve our country, how much you LOVE and CARE about them and how much you are looking forward to GRADUATION DAY when you can give them a big hug!

The bottom line is write to them and encourage other family members and friends to write too! When their name is called at Mail Call, they will be excited to get their “Letter from Home”.

34 thoughts on “Eight Great Ideas When Writing Letters to Recruits at Basic Training

    1. Susan,

      I haven’t heard about recruits being punished for too much mail. By using Project Write2Them, your loved one can many emails each day from family and friends but because we compile all those emails into a daily multi-page letter, they get one envelope with lots of support and news from back home! Easy to read and store in their lockers making it easy to keep their locker organized for inspections too!

      If you hear of a recruit not getting letters from home, please contact me about our “Every name at Mail Call” so we can get some mail out them.


    2. I have had several family members/ friends go through basic. I write them a letter a day and include a couple pages out of the Hobbit. They can’t have a book but over the course of the 2 months in basic they can get a book page by page.

      1. Brian,

        Nice idea to give them something to read and look forward to with each letter! Thanks for sharing.

        While I have seen family members send pages from books or news articles to their loved ones through Write2Them.
        This time of year image captures of Sport standings are the popular inclusion in the Write2Them letters on Monday mornings!

        Thankfully the trainees can bring a Bible or other important religious book to basic training.
        We also have two blogs with some Bible verses ready to go into your letters.


    3. Depending on the guy in charge, they may be forced to do a certain amount of push ups for each letter they get. My friend just got done with basic, and his didn’t make them. Though if the address was incorrect, then they had too.
      However they all are willing to do the push-ups for the letters. He said he cried tears of joy the first time he got mail. It’s a very appreciated thing to get.

  1. Can the letter be printed from your computer or does it have to be written in ink? Can the ink for the letter be any color? I know the envelope can not.

    1. Gaylene,

      Yes you could send newspaper clippings but they are just more pieces of paper that your loved one needs to keep organized.
      The drill instructor or training instructor may be looking out for this type of information.
      With Project Write2Them, the newsclippings are incorporated into the letter itself as a photo so it doesn’t attract as much attention.
      Novena cards are cards with a picture of a Saint or Virgin Mary and a prayer on the other side.

      When you use Project Write2Them to stay in touch, you are able to send emails and photos to your loved one many times a day. You can add other family members and friends to the account too. Each morning all the emails that came in for your loved one are processed, printed and sent out to your loved one.


  2. My granddaughter left 21 days ago to Ftjackson for basic training.I haven’t missed one day . I send little novena cards and articles in the local paper.She loves receiving them.

    1. My son is also at Fort Jackson. Echo Company, First Platoon. He arrived there June 5th. Miss him more every day

    2. Eleanornotar,
      What are novena cards? I posted this question July 9 but my question still is saying “your comment is awaiting moderation” Do you know if they can receive a thinking of you card through the regular mail?

  3. My boyfriend left to the US Air Force on the may 16 2017…. can i send him a card? My letter is a full sheet are they gonna reject it?

  4. I am wondering if it’s possible to send letters to kids in basic training? Like I would like to become a pen pal to someone who isn’t receiving any letters, they go through a lot in basic training and I want to offer support to anyone who isn’t receiving any from anyone, is there a way to do that?

    1. Karen,
      Thank you for your interest in providing support to those at basic training. We are working on getting this set up.
      Currently we only allow current or former account holders to send letters.
      We’ll keep you posted.
      Best regards,

  5. I’m new at al this and i’m not the best writer but how would or do I start off a letter to a boy in army basic bootcamp. Him and I are not particularly close. We both went to high school together and we graduated last year but the last few months we were getting closer and then he left about three weeks ago. His brother just gave me his address and I have till tomorrow to send a letter out. I think about him all the time and have so much to say but now that it’s time to write it out I have nothing. I’m stuck. Please help me out? I don’t know how to start off the letter or anything.

    1. Hi Jacqui,

      I would simply state that you just got his mailing address from his brother and that you’ve been thinking about him.

      Just tell him what’s going on back home! Are the flowers blooming yet? Do you still have snow on the ground? What going on with your local high school spring sports teams (lacrosse, baseball, tennis etc)? What you are doing, or going to do this summer?
      Do you have a cat or dog that does funny stuff?

      Honestly Jacqui, I think he’ll be thrilled that you took the time to send him a note. Everyone loves to hear their name called at Mail Call!

      Be sure to tell him how proud you are of his decision to serve and that you know that he’s busy and tired at the end of the day of training, but that you’d love to hear from him. Be sure to put your mailing address in the letter as well as on the envelope.

      Good luck and happy writing!

      Just don’t use colored paper,

      1. Hi Helen,

        Why not use colored paper? Is there a rule against this? I know my son’s fiancé has colored paper but we haven’t sent mail yet. He arrived at Camp May 3rd so we still ahave time to change it if we need to!

        Thanks for the encouragement!

      2. Gina,
        The reason we use white paper and white envelopes and recommend that you do is that it ‘flys under the radar’. Colored paper and decorated envelopes definitely catch the attention of the drill instructors and says “this is a girlfriend (or mom) letter that potentially has something that might be interesting for the entire group and your son may be asked to read it out loud.

        Good luck to your son!

    1. Hi Mercedes, my 18 yr old brother is currently at boot camp and it would be amazing if you can also send some words of encouragement, much appreciated…God Bless you.
      Here’s his info:
      RCT Matos, Juan
      2nd BN, F CO
      P.O. Box 16245
      Parris Island, SC

    1. Yes, we definitely have family and friends living overseas use the service to stay in touch with their loved ones here in the states.
      You can use the Write2Them service to write to anyone. They do not have to be in training at basic training.


    1. Anita,
      There are a couple of Navy support pages on Facebook. I would suggest Proud Navy Moms and Navy for Moms.
      The Great Lakes Naval Training Center has good information for new Navy families.
      Don’t forget that they stream the Boot Camp graduation ceremony on the site, in case you are not able to make it out there!
      Good luck,

  6. I send a little “Note Card” to my grandson who is in basic training at Camp Pendleton every day, and I have not missed a day since I received his address. I made a little template on my computer and I use this cute little card stock called “Brown Bag”. The front of the card is “Today’s Feature” which always is some kind of ‘screen shot’ photo, and the inside is my little note. My 92 y/o father who is in an Assisted Living Residence also enjoys getting mail so I attached a template for him and all I do is “duplicate” for his “Note Card” – sometimes I just have to change a few words around is all. There have been a few days that I have come close to meeting the mail person at the mail box pickup, and I always get it done. I love it because it feels like I am doing something for someone I love so dearly.

    1. I love this!! I have about two weeks worth of letters saved up for my son in bootcamp, but I’m running out of ideas. This is perfect!

  7. My son left for Cape May, New Jersey US Coast Guard basic training on Tuesday, August 12th. Today is Saturday, the 16th & we have not received word from him about his specific recruit company. If I mail him a letter will he receive it without that information in the address? Is is a usual thing for it to take several days before they have their address?

    1. Hi Emily,

      Did you get a safe arrival call from him? Every service is a bit different, but you should hear from soon either with a call or a letter giving you his address.
      To answer your question, it is not unusual at all; though frustrating since you want to get a letter out to him as soon as possible. Depending on the branch of service and the time of year, some recruits may wait a week or two in a in processing unit before being assigned to their final training unit.
      Hang in there, Mom!

    2. Hi Emily ,
      My son has been in the Coast Guard for 4 years now . I remember boot camp like it was yesterday ..if you are on Facebook they have a coast guard moms page, it’s wonderful + very helpful !! Best of luck to you … Trust me the anticipation gets better .. Hang in there + welcome Coastie Mom ⚓️⚓️

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