1. Your Name (as you would like it to appear)
2. Where did your soldier attend basic training?
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
3. When did your soldier attend basic training (please include the year)?
May 15 2012-July 26 2012
4. How often did you hear from him (phone and letters)?
He was able to text me on the bus ride into the Fort. During the R&I week, he wrote me letters that I got at the end of that week-no return address. He called me the first Sunday for about 4 minutes…maybe not even that long. He then called me the Tuesday he was being sent to BCT-we got nearly 15 minutes! And then after training actually started we got to speak for about 4 minutes that first Sunday. And then for the next two Sundays phone calls were taken from the whole platoon because of ”issues” with behavior. During those two weeks I finally got an address…I had been writing since he left so his first batch of letters had about 16 letters!! After they got their “act” together he has been able to call me every Sunday afternoon anywhere between 1:30-7pm. We have spoken anywhere between 5 and 53 minutes. For the most part the conversations are quick-just long enough to say how much we miss each other and hear a bit about how things have been going.
5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time?
About a week for a phone call/letters.
6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address from him?
This took about two weeks.
7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him?
Since he was in BCT during the summer they really weren’t allowed anything-I thought perhaps some cough drops would be helpful (still got a cold despite the hot weather)-but he wasn’t allowed. He was able to get all he needed from the nurse etc. No candies or treats of any kind-they can’t have coffee or soda (unless they get a pass). Its all for their good. If they eat that garbage while under the intense training they are undergoing it would make them sick It may seem fun and like a really nice gesture to send treats but its not and he won’t get it anyways.
8. When did you receive information about family day and graduation?
I am just a girlfriend, so I got information from his Mom. She got information two weeks into BCT, along with an address and graduation info.
9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe.
Yes, it is the day before graduation. He is planning on spending it with his family. I won’t be able to make it to the family day or graduation due to working two jobs. I am glad that he gets it though. My soldier just wants to go back to the hotel with his family and have a quiet cup of coffee and good conversation-very understandable after all the stress! (And no coffee:)
10. Please describe the graduation ceremony.
Still a few days away, and unable to attend so I can’t comment on this one.
11. Is there a website for his unit? Did you find a place online that has pictures from his basic training?
Yes, Facebook had 3 different pages. One for his battalion, one for his company and one of a professional photographer who posts fun pictures from training outside during the week. They were nice, but could also be frustrating because you want to see more or you want to see your guy and most of the time I didn’t see him. It was more fun than not to have a visual of what he was experiencing though. It took me a while to find the page on facebook but when I found it it was a treasure!
12. Any other tips or information?
It may seem excessive, but write your man every day. It is a wind of fresh air to their souls. I never wanted my Soldier to have a mail call day (this doesn’t happen every day) and to not hear his name. In fact, I always wrote on the tab on the back of his envelopes and he said that the other guys in his Platoon were calling his name before the Drill Sargent was able to read it off the front of the envelope!! Your soldier is making a huge sacrifice to be there, making a way for you and your family, believe me-finding an hour or less a day to send words of love and encouragement is tiny compared to what he is going through. Also! Be sure to address the envelope EXACTLY as he tells you. I had to write his platoon number on the back of each envelope-I didn’t know this when I sent that first batch of letters!!! I heard that depending on the Drill Sargent your guy could pay for your mistakes in properly addressing their letters though push-ups etc. Thankfully, mine didn’t. I think it just takes a little longer for your guy to receive mis-addressed envelopes because they have to figure out where he is. Be honest in your letters. Be ready to hear about how hard and how discouraging everything is. But keep encouraging them in their decision-it does get better!! Its very hard to be apart-but it does get better!!! Its just a short season of separation and for such a great future. I am still a few days away from being reunited with my Soldier, and the anticipation and excitement I feel at seeing him for the first time is indescribable. It seems like it will take forever but it really does go quickly. You can do it girl!!