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Communication During Basic Training

Your Army soldier has just left and if I had to guess, any mention of the Army or anything patriotic right now brings instant tears to your eyes. Don’t worry, it’s to be expected. When my husband first left, I could see a flag waving in the breeze on the way to work and be in tears. It was somewhat out of sadness but also out of the enormous pride that I felt that my husband had volunteered to serve his country.

The Bad News

I’ll go ahead and hit you with some bad news right off the bat. It could be a little while before you hear from him. By a little while, I mean as much as two to three weeks. My husband was able to call as soon as he arrived at Fort Benning but I missed the phone call. All he had time to say was his address. Thankfully, I received a standardized letter in the mail a few days later with the address because I would have never figured it out from his phone message.

Missing Phone Calls

Speaking of phone messages, I was absolutely devastated when I missed his phone call. In fact, I missed the first three phone calls he made. He called the second time when I was out. After that one, I decided I was never leaving the house on the weekend again. The following weekend, I stayed home all day Saturday and Sunday, jumping each time the phone rang only to be disappointed. On Sunday night about 8:45 p.m., I left to go to the post office to mail his letter. I was gone a total of ten minutes and…you guessed it! When I returned, the message light was blinking. I was beside myself. Not only had I missed his call, but he sounded sick and he was all but begging me to send him mail on the message. The problem was I had been writing daily at that point for two weeks. It killed me to think that not only could he not get me on the phone but he didn’t think I had been writing to him either.

From that point on, if I ever left the house my cell phone was glued to me. The next weekend, I received a call on my cell phone with a number from Denver, Colorado. I almost didn’t answer it but then decided to and it was him. It was showing up as Denver because of being on a pay phone. He was sick, very sick actually, and was able to talk for only about three minutes. But that was the best three-minute conversation I had ever had. I was in the mall when he called and I’m sure the folks around me thought someone was calling to tell me I had won the lottery!

Moral of this story:

  • Always be around a phone of some kind that your husband knows to call you on. You can add call forwarding to your home phone for only a few dollars a month and it is WELL worth it. Trust me, miss one phone call and you’ll be adding it too!
  • No matter how strange the phone number looks on caller ID, answer it!
  • Make sure he has long distance phone cards. Sam’s Club has very good deals on phone cards. I sent my husband off with a 600 minute card. I’d rather him have way too many minutes than not enough. If he didn’t take one with him, put one in your next letter to him. It’s well worth the expense.

Please remember that phone calls do not come very often. I generally talked to him every other weekend for about 5-10 minutes. It’s not much and you never realize how short that really is until it’s the first time you’ve talked to him in two weeks. After basic, it is more likely they will earn a pass. This is their free time to do with as they please (but they can’t leave Sand Hill). Many head to the Recreation Center and eat to the point of being sick – all of those goodies they haven’t been allowed to have. My husband always headed for the closest pay phone. During one of his passes, I talked to him three hours. Needless to say, I was a very happy Army wife that day. Your main communication during his training will be letters.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • dave oddo November 1, 2010, 12:05 pm

    I’m desperately trying to find out how I can get a message to someone in army boot camp. We lost our 27 year old nephew last night and his girlfriend is in boot camp. How can I reach her or get a message to her? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Stacey November 5, 2010, 1:10 pm

      I’m so sorry about your loss. You can contact the Red Cross to get a message to her.

    • Daisha Drummer July 1, 2014, 11:56 am

      American red cross will get the message to her. All you need is her social security Number.

  • Kristen February 19, 2011, 2:27 am

    My boyfriend will be leaving for Basic in a month and a half or so… I’m so proud of him. I’m just worried. Will I really not have any contact with him for the first few weeks? I’ve heard horror stories… I’m personally new to all of this, and it’s really a lot to take on. What’s the best things to send? I plan on writing him a letter a day, but what about care packages? What’s allowable or needed? Any recommendations? And what about letting others know I’m NOT single? Just because I don’t have a ring yet doesn’t mean I want to be bothered by every other man and their brother… Any help would be appreciated. <3

    • Stacey March 3, 2011, 5:46 pm

      Send letters as often as you can. As for packages, don’t send those unless he tells you he can have them. This seems to vary by post and by drill sergeant. Some will allow them but the great majority will not.

      • Kristen March 4, 2011, 8:01 am

        Thank you so much. 🙂 I’ll take that to heart. We’re counting down together as we wait for him to leave. It’s exciting, but nerve racking…

  • Seleste July 29, 2011, 3:55 am

    Thank you for writing this! My boyfriend does not leave until late January. Even though i will be in school, i plan on writing as much as i can. Also the phone card sounds like a great idea

    I was wondering if you have any gift ideas that i could do before he leaves?

  • MSgt Army Husband October 25, 2011, 8:39 pm

    My wife just left for the Army a week ago. She stated week one of BCT 5 days ago and I was expecting to hear from her by now, but I guess I cant expect them to get phone privilages so quickly. I have been in the Air Force for 17 years. My mom said I wasnt able to call at all when I was in boot camp. I have written her everyday and just want to be able to mail her the letters. I didnt expect it to be this tough for me, I dont like not knowing how she is doing. And I want to send her my words of encouragment.
    I thank everyone talking about writing even though they will have to “push” for their mail. I was worried about writing too much and her getting discouraged about getting mail.

    • Donyelle January 16, 2016, 5:54 am

      My boyfriend left 3 weeks ago. I’ve been writing letters and I have not yet get one back. I’m scared that he has forgotten about me and it stresses me out. I need help. I really don’t want to think negative as if he left me for someone else. This is my first time going through something like this and it’s overwhelming. But I’m proud and supportive of him.

  • perla July 9, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Hey my boyfriend has two weeks in basic training how long does it take to receive the first letter from him ?
    I really want to know :/

  • janet scalzo July 18, 2012, 2:21 pm

    My grandson Nick left for boot camp early Monday morning. The 16 of July. I wanted to know how to get his address so I can start writing to him. I know how important letters are to our soliders.
    I have asked his mother to forward my address to him. We don’t have a good relationship and I don’t want him to think I don’t want to write. If any one can help me I would be so grateful. We lost Nick’s father, my son, 3 years ago and it’s been very hard for him.
    Thank you for your help.
    Janet scalzo

    • Stacey July 18, 2012, 7:36 pm

      Where he is at basic training?

      • janet scalzo July 18, 2012, 7:49 pm

        Hi Stacy,

        Thank you o much for getting back to me. He went to Fort Sill, OK
        Any thing you can help me with would ease my mind.

        Thank you,
        Janet

      • janet scalzo July 19, 2012, 6:08 pm

        Hi Stacey,

        I just wanted to let you know I got an email from a family member , who suggested I contact his recruiter.
        I did and he said as soon as he finds out where Nick, will be he will send me his address.

        Thanks again for your email.
        Janet scalzo

  • Harley August 7, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Hi Stacy, my name is Harley and I am married to a new recruit, Christian. He leaves November 20th, and I’m so nervous. I don’t understand a lot of what I’m hearing and reading from different sources. I just want to know what to do. What do I have to get in order? What is expected of me? How does everyone else handle this? Lastly, why does he need a phone card?

    Thank you so much,
    Harley

  • Carly August 27, 2012, 12:46 pm

    My boyfriend just left for basic training two weeks ago at Ft. Sill. I received calls from him while he was in reception as well as two letters. He started basic a week ago and called his mom to give her the address of where we can send letters but got cut off, and now I have yet to hear from him. I have been writing letters daily and am just wondering if anyone knows how I can figure out his mailing address so I can send them.
    Thanks!

  • Melissa August 31, 2012, 1:27 pm

    A close friend of ours went to basic training almost 3 weeks ago and we are in the same situation. Address was written down incorrectly by younger sibling and now we have no way to send the many letters that we have written. We don’t want her to feel like no one is thinking of her. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • Malavika September 7, 2012, 1:47 am

    Hi,
    My friend joined for basic training this august at Ft. Lenardwood.
    And I just wanted to clarify something…… Is there any way to communicate with him I dont think I can send him letters a I stay in Dubai..
    And I dont know how I can call him ….
    Please help

  • Chelsea September 8, 2012, 3:00 pm

    My husband just enlisted and I’m honestly very concerned about missing his phone calls while his is in basic because I am at work and I was hoping for some advice on what to do or how to handle it.

  • Amanda kumm October 17, 2012, 5:32 pm

    My fiancé has been at boot camp at Fort Jackson for a week now. She called once while in reception and that is all I heard. I haven’t got any address info, so I looked up the number for the Fort’s installation operations center and the gentlemen was very helpful in telling which company she was in and her address. Just know that if you call they need 48 hours after day 1 of Basic for their computers to update. This last week has been incredibly hard as we have not gone more than one night away from each other in 3.5 years. The no communication is the worst, but I just try to keep myself busy and try not to think about it too much, I know, easier said than done!! I have wrote 16 letters in the last week, and I am writtinh at least one everyday! Good luck to everyone!

    • Ashley November 21, 2012, 1:26 am

      Omgosh Amanda!!!!! Thank you!!!! You have helped me with your comment on here since my boyfriend is at Fort Jackson and I dont know his address. Do I need anything other than his full name when I call the installion operations center? Hope you answer back soon. Thank you so much!!!! You don’t know how happy I am right now. God Bless!

  • yise October 23, 2012, 8:10 am

    I really would like to know how long it takes to recive a letter.

  • June November 17, 2012, 9:56 pm

    I wont to writ to my graddaughter but I don’t have her rank or her company assignment or her class No. I know she is at Fort Leonardwood , and I have the address to the fort , but thats all. how to I get a letter without the rest??

  • Ashley November 21, 2012, 1:23 am

    Hi everybody,

    I am an army girlfriend and I need help because I am stressing so much. My boyfriend left for Fort Jackson November 6, and it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to him. I’m anxious to get his next phone call because he forgot to tell me what his battalion and company is so I can send him his letters. So far I still haven’t been able to send him his letters and I feel like the worst girlfriend ever! I have reached out to his mom, and I am hoping that she will say she received his full address. But… what if she hasn’t? Does any one know if there is another way I may be able to find out his address? I’m so sad and stressed about this issue. Help PLEASE!

  • Ana January 3, 2013, 2:58 am

    I really enjoy this article. My husband just left on New years day 2013. On top of that i am expecting our second child and and due march 31st. I was wondering when can I write to him even if he doesn’t write to me first. He is at fort Benning, and i know if it’s a first child they will pull you out of basic training to be there for the birth of the child but what about second child? Will he be able to make it? Or if i go into labor early and i contact red Cross will he be there or just finish off. To be honest i want him to stay and finish of his training because i know that’s what he wants. Any advice please let me know. Thanks

  • Marilyn January 17, 2013, 6:44 pm

    Thank you all for posting, I somehow felt that I was in this alone. We’ve been married for three years and he left almost a week ago. This is the longest that we’ve ever been apart and he did call a few times and I missed a few times, very disheartening to miss his calls right now. I am still waiting for his address and information.

  • Jacinta June 14, 2013, 11:09 am

    My husband has been at basic for 18 days at fort Jackson and he said he’s not receiving Andy mail from me but I’ve sent out 15 letters is there a reason for that?

  • Hannah September 30, 2013, 12:28 am

    Hi. My boyfriend left September 20, 2013 for basic training. He called his brother and his dad and they said it would be around 2 months by the time he got to write a letter. That is mainly because he is such a lone wolf, he keeps to his self mainly. He told me it was already going to be a chore having to write everyone a letter and not to expect it to be a every two day thing. I am used to the way he is, that doesnt bother me. What bothers me is that I have to wait 2 months to get his address. His birthday is October 15 and I want to send him his birthday card and the letter I wrote. I dont want him to not have it on his birthday and I dont want him to get it AFTER his birthday. On the Fort Leonard Wood base page it says you can contact a soldier during and off duty. I dont want to call and get him in trouble, but is there any way I can call just to ask for the address of my soldier so I can send him his mail? Its killing me that I have to wait so long just to send him letters. I promised I wouldnt send too many because I dont want to embarass him. I usually text him like 30 times a day. LOL. SO I want to keep myself at bay, but I miss him and I would feel so much better if I could just have his address. I’m just clueless right now and it really sucks!!!!! So If someone can help. Please do!! 🙂 Thank you.

    • Michelle June 26, 2014, 11:10 am

      My guy is at fort Leonard wood now. It’s been almost 3 weeks since he left and I’ve yet to hear from him. I’ve been worried. Written him daily, but I have no idea where to send it and how to write out the envelope to him.

  • Michelle June 26, 2014, 11:06 am

    My …. We’ll I don’t exactly know what our relationship status is. (We were discussing dating before he left, but I still don’t know where we stand.) We’ve known each other for about 6 years. He left for basic training almost 4 weeks ago. He got my address a few days before he left. As week 4 approaches, I have still not heard from him. Is this normal? I have written him daily since the day he left. (June 9). But I’m beginning to worry. He didn’t give anyone any address to the base he was at because he wanted to get used to everything before he was flooded with letters. So I don’t know where to send anything. But I’m missing him and I still write him on a daily basis.

  • Daisha Drummer July 1, 2014, 1:49 pm

    I am new to this. My husband just left to basic training today and I am 9 months pregnant. And it’s hard for me to go through this with out him. I really need a lot of support.

  • Krystal August 30, 2014, 2:08 pm

    My husband is enlisting next month, we have a two year old son. I’m so lost about this entire process, when does BAH start? His paychecks? How do I figure out all the housing stuff once he gets out of basic and ait? How long is basic and ait? When will we find out where he will be going for basic? What about when we find out where he’ll be posted and we move? What paperwork is necessary to apply for housing? Is on base or off base better? I have a thousand questions that I can’t get answered 🙁 I don’t want him to enlist until I know what’s going on but it seems I won’t be able to find out what’s going on until he enlists!

    • Stacey Abler September 1, 2014, 9:16 pm

      He will start getting paid when he starts basic training – this will include BAH. There will be a delay of his check after he starts, just as it would be if he started a civilian job. When he gets his first check depends on when he starts in the pay cycle. Basic is 10 weeks and AIT is dependent on his chosen MOS (job). He should know where he’s going and for how long before he signs. It’s possible he could have basic and AIT combined into one (for instance, if he chose infantry). Towards the end of his training, he will receive orders for his first permanent duty station. At that time, you’ll know where he’s going and you will be able to set up housing, etc. On post vs off post is a matter of opinion – we always lived off but I know plenty who prefer to live on post.

  • Brook September 4, 2014, 5:41 am

    My fiance left yesterday for Fort Jackson.. he got there this morning around 1 am. He was able to call me to say goodbye but I slept through the call.. :'( Does anyone know when I’ll be able to receive a letter from him or another phone call? I have no idea what the address is either..

    • Stacey Abler September 5, 2014, 7:26 pm

      It depends on when he actually starts basic. While he’s in reception, he should still be able to get in a few phone calls. After that, it’s going to be up to the drill sergeants. Letters typically take a few weeks before they start showing up.

  • Brittany September 13, 2014, 1:36 pm

    My husbands is in North Carolina (fort Jackson) I miss him it’s been 3 weeks , after reception (1 week) he called to tell me he was starting basic and he would no longer have his phone he didn’t give a address just said he loved me and had to go it was a 30 sec phone call how can I get his address? Should I just wait for his letter? When should I expect that?

    • Stacey Abler September 23, 2014, 8:43 pm

      You should be getting a letter any day now. It generally takes a few weeks after starting basic.

  • Faye Grant September 15, 2014, 3:01 am

    What’s the address to fort benning ? My husband has been gone and we’ve had no contact I miss him so much

    • Stacey Abler September 23, 2014, 8:42 pm

      It depends on his unit. You should get a letter soon. Hang in there!

  • Cindy September 23, 2014, 12:00 am

    Thank you so much for writing this! I know I’m super late but this has been so helpful for me. I’m 17 and my boyfriend is off at basic in south Carolina. I was just clueless about everything and this website really helped me. I’m just worried because I started writing him two weeks ago and he says he hasn’t received any letters. Why is that?

    • FB December 10, 2014, 11:48 pm

      My boyfriend is in basic training right now (South Carolina too, he’s in fort Jackson) , one time he didn’t receive anything for two weeks, I guess they hold them sometimes but they receive letters every sunday. One time he got to call me and told me he sent 3 letters and I didn’t get anything for 2 weeks as well, then I started receiving one after the other.. So i don’t really know why that happens.. But they take long sometimes -.-

  • Lisa Clampit June 20, 2015, 12:50 pm

    My son has been in basic three weeks but it feels like a lifetime ago since he left! I have wrote a letter and mailed it from the post office everyday and he hasn’t recieved any mail. And it makes me sad to know I’ve wrote, mailed stamps etc for nothing.

  • Joelle June 22, 2015, 11:21 pm

    I am not an Army Wife, but an aunt who’s nephew has been at Ft Jackson, in the Army Reserves basic training now for roughly four weeks. My sister hasn’t received a letter or call with his address. We know it’s important to send letters, and I’m concerned we should be writing, but have been waiting to hear the address from him when maybe we didn’t need to.

    Please advise what to do

    Thank you

    Concerned Aunt who wants to support sister and her son

    • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 9:18 am

      Unfortunately, he would be the best person to give you the correct address. You could probably find a basic training address for Ft Jackson online, but you really need the one that is specifically for him with his roster number, etc to ensure it gets to him. She hasn’t heard from him at all?

  • Rina July 1, 2015, 8:45 pm

    Hey, my boyfriend left 2 days ago to basic training in fort benning. I really don’t know how to deal with it.. Any advice, I’ve been depressed for a while now. Any advice on what I should do ?

    • Stacey Abler July 19, 2015, 9:18 pm

      Staying busy is important – it will make the time go by faster for you. Enroll in a class, volunteer, ask for more hours at work, plan a get together with friends, spend time with family, learn a hobby, get involved in your church – there’s plenty of things to do to keep you busy.

  • Lauren Smith July 23, 2015, 10:35 pm

    My boyfriend has been at Fort Benning now for a little over a month, and I definitely have had my good days and bad days. In the beginning it was so hard, I couldn’t think about anything else. I miss him a lot, but for about the last 3 weeks I’ve gotten a letter about everyday. That makes everything a lot easier, especially now that I only have four weeks left of him being gone. It feels so good knowing I’ve made it this far and so proud of him for sticking it out, which just made me focus on how excited I am for him to come home.

  • Dina Brinkley March 30, 2016, 3:22 pm

    Hi! Our son left yesterday for Fort Benning for Basic Training. We were told we would get a phone call the day he arrived. We haven’t heard from him and I am worried because we weren’t told for him to take a calling card. Will he still be able to call us? Sorry I am just a nervous mom!

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:49 pm

      I’m sorry I’m just now seeing this. I’m sure you’ve heard from him by now. Do you mind commenting back and letting everyone know how communication has been? It’s been a long time since my husband was in basic so I’m sure things have changed. 🙂

  • Esther April 29, 2016, 2:27 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Not sure if it will help for her to know. They only allow leave if it’s immediate family (parents, grandparents, siblings). My sister passed away right after my son started BCT & he still doesn’t know. We decided he couldn’t come anyway & knowing would probably do him more harm than good. Hope all goes well with her training, & again…my sincere condolences.

  • Paula April 30, 2016, 7:34 pm

    I have an important question to ask the US Army, just wondering if you could email me then I can tell you my question. It is personal and I do not want the world to know. Please so if someone in the military could do that it would be great. Thank you.

  • sonam May 12, 2016, 11:07 pm

    i am so glad that i read you message because just today my husband called me who is in bct at fort sill. he said he was txting me his adress so that it will be easy for me and we talk abt other things for few mins after that he had to hung up his phone.. the bad news is only half adress came through txt and the other half did not came through at all i was soo sad.. but now i am soo glad that they will ALSO mail the address.. thank god…thank you..

  • David Mark Grossman May 17, 2016, 5:51 pm

    My wife just called me from boot camp 2 weeks ago and it sounded like she was reading a script, I was in the middle of mowing the lawn so I couldn’t write down what she said. How do I get her battalion and everything so I can write her. I thought I heard her say they will send me a letter but it’s been 2 weeks and still nothing. How can I find out her info so I can write her?

    • Stacey Abler May 21, 2016, 8:25 pm

      You should receive a package with the information – or a letter from her with the return address you can use. I’ve seen recent estimates of up to 4 weeks to get the letter.

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