Let’s get down to Basics – Part Two

July 15, 2008 · Filed Under Basic Training, Care Packages, Military Parents 

Mail (from home type, multiple)

Mail call is the highlight of the day – and the more mail the better. BUT, and this is a big but, there are rules about what can be sent. Letters, cards, pictures, those are fine. Funny cards can lift the spirits; newspaper articles or the funnies, or the local paper are great. NO Pornography, NO food, NO candy, NO alcohol or other contraband. The packages will be opened, and your recruit will pay the price. Extra PT (physical training) can result, and the heartbreak of watching the drill instructor EATING those goodies in front of the unit, is really adding insult to injury…Things like cough drops are allowed, and in fact are a good idea to send – all those recruits from other parts of the country – all those germs, lots of physical activity and lack of sleep, means their immunity system is down, and they ALL get colds. (But that’s tomorrow’s topic)

SSM: The Army son’s unit also had a contest to see which soldier received the most mail and received the most pictures from home — and our son’s friends certainly got into the spirit of it as he won the most mail and the most pictures contests… However, no food could be sent and the Sgt.s confiscated any food… opening the packages in front of the unit — home baked goods they kept for themselves and destroyed all the rest.  If a recruit received food (or other contraband — alcohol, cigarettes, porn, etc.) the recruit was “smoked” (severe physical training to the point of barfing).

LAW – my son’s request was for cough drops but he loved the cards – I’d send a couple a week, as did his girlfriend at the time. My husband told me – NO food… I so wanted to send a box of cookies, but we knew the rules. Mail call was so important! Any encouraging news, or news about the dogs, the neighbours, old friends, any news at all. But telling him how proud we were of him, really helped him get through it.

SSM: My advice to parents is to remember the military (mom’s) mantra: “no news is good news ’cause bad news travels fast” and to just keep writing those letters, sending funny cards and getting as many of their friends and family to do the same!! Your son or daughter will be sore, tired, depressed, home sick… and they need all the support they can get — even if you don’t hear back from them! They haven’t forgotten you and will call just as soon as they can!

From Lela: [my son] told me that it was heartbreaking to see packages with food destroyed or eaten by the DI’s when they were soooooo hungry.  He did send me a note asking for vitamins and sore throat drops.  He also asked for bug spray to try to combat the sand fleas.  According to him, it didn’t work.  Mostly, he wanted pictures of the family to attach to the inside of his “cover” or hat.  He said it really helped to have them there as a reminder of who he was and why he was going thru hell.  He did tell me that the cards and letters from the family were a real boost, even though he didn’t reply to most of them …. he chose sleep.

Please let us know what your recruit wanted – any good ideas for new parents?  What did your recruit ask you for specifically?


2 Responses to “Let’s get down to Basics – Part Two”

  1. stacy lee on July 16th, 2008 10:10 am

    I wrote a letter six days a week, and on the 7th, I had just a plain piece of paper that I wrote something silly or non-important that took place each and every day and that was for the 7th day. Pictures after pictures were sent…My son actually was called the U.S. Postal Service at one time and was given extra PT for getting so much mail from Mom, but he said to keep it coming that he did not care how many push-up he had to do, as it was worth it.

    When he came home after basic, he came home with two zip-lock bags full of all those letters and cards that I had sent him. I had just figured that he had thrown them away. To this day he still has all those letters, and yes I still have the few that he sent me as well.

  2. Maura van der Linden on August 4th, 2008 2:15 am

    I have a tidbit, too, but I’m not sure how universal it is.

    My son told me that any cards or mail that came with Purple Heart stamps on it would also get the recipient smoked. they call these Enemy Kill Markers….

    I stuck with Liberty or flag stamps.

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