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What You Can and Can’t Send to Your Soldier in Training

When your soldier is in training, there is actually a very short list of the things that you can send to him and a VERY long list of what you cannot. Read on to make sure he doesn’t have to do extra push-ups on your account.

You CAN send him:

Letters – You can and should send him lots of letters while he is in training. You can send cards as well as letters. Many soldiers will tell you that any communication from Army wives, family and friends is like gold when they are in training. Do your best to keep your letters positive. Do not decorate the outside of the envelope in any way. No cute sayings, drawings of hearts, etc. He will have to pay in the form of extra push-ups and ridicule if you do this.

Pictures – They are allowed to have pictures with them at training. However, do keep in mind that they have limited space. He doesn’t need the entire photo album, just a few pictures will do. You may want to be sure you are sending him copies rather than originals just in case something happens to them. Also, be careful of the content of your pictures. If it is one you don’t want everyone to see, don’t send it!

Jokes, sports scores, etc. – While you don’t need to send him the entire newspaper, it is perfectly acceptable to send clippings from the paper or print-outs of ESPN from the net. He will also enjoy comics or some humorous jokes. Just don’t send anything lewd. NOTE: In August 2005, I received an email from the wife of a soldier at basic at Ft Benning and she said their DS did NOT allow them to have newspaper clippings. This just shows how much it can vary from DS to DS – be sure to check with your soldier first!

Phone cards – He is allowed to have a phone card with him. Its best to just include this with one of your letters. If at all possible, it is much easier if you give him one before he leaves. If you send a card later, it will be best to insert it in a greeting card as it will be more difficult to detect.

Stamps, envelopes and paper – Whenever I wrote to my husband, I would include a SASE and a few sheets of paper. Since I wrote every day, he never ran out. We found this method to be easier than him taking everything with him in the beginning.

If it is not mentioned above, he can’t have it. Do not send packages to him. There are stories floating around about the soldier who received a package from home full of baked goods (enough to last for several weeks) and the DS allowed him to have the package. He then forced him to eat every thing that was in it at one sitting! Don’t do this to your soldier.

Some Army girlfriends, Army fiancées or Army wives of a soldier may decide to send a pair of sexy panties to their soldier. Well, let me tell you a little story and you’ll think twice before doing it. One girl decided to do this and the DS opened the envelope. He then hung the girl’s panties in the window of the hallway of the barracks so the guys would see the panties each day when they passed by. On graduation day, the DS found the girlfriend of the soldier, handed her panties back to her and told her she had inspired many men during their training. Don’t be this girl!

I hope these tips have helped you in deciding what you can and cannot send your soldier during training. Please keep in mind this is only for training. If he is deployed, the list of what he can and cannot receive is different.

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

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Sara June 25, 2010, 12:13 am

    Thank you. I’ve found so many of your articles helpful. It’s going to be a hard 9 weeks, but with websites like this, I should be able to make it through semi-sane.

  • YGUARAYA August 12, 2010, 2:33 pm


    • Stacey August 12, 2010, 8:19 pm

      He should be able to give you his mailing address for overseas. Ask him for the address – he is the only one who can give it to you.

      • Barb kalpinski April 17, 2017, 4:07 pm

        Thanks for the list my grandson just went into army boot camp last week. Just got his address don’t understand it can you help?

        • Barb kalpinski April 17, 2017, 4:20 pm

          Where can I or what kind of phone card can I send my grandson

  • Sam September 14, 2010, 12:40 am

    Thank you for this! My brother left last month and the last thing i wanna do is get him in trouble

  • Bill September 17, 2011, 3:40 am

    Hello, I have a cousin that is going into army basic training soon. I was thinking about making him a regular dog tag that said “I love you.” Would he be able to wear that with his other tags? If not could he at least keep it in his trunk? Thank you for the help.

    • Stacey October 11, 2011, 9:13 pm

      Probably not but it could be a nice gift for after graduation.

  • Bonna November 16, 2011, 4:19 pm

    this web site has been so helpful. My son has enlisted and will be going to basics soon. It is helpful to know what I can do and what i cannot. If any of you know what fast food places that are on post at Ft. Sills. His dad and i were thinking for christmas we could get a bouch of gift cards since after basics he will be spending another 10 weeks there for training.
    thanks for your help.

  • Elyssa February 18, 2012, 12:41 pm

    My husband left for basic a few weeks back and in a few weeks he will be celebrating his birthday. I wanted to get him a recordable birthday card with our kids’ voice on it for his birthday. Do you think that would be appropriate? The last thing I want him to be is in trouble on his birthday!

  • Angie May 2, 2012, 2:32 pm

    My husband left for basic on April 30, 2012 to Fort Leonardwood. I can’t wait to hear from him. He hasn’t called for that 30 seconds yet. He also told me I shouldn’t send him pictures, but it looks like I can. Thank you so much for the information. I’ve been reading countless articles.

  • Guard Mom June 4, 2012, 11:02 am

    Thanks for the informative article! One thing I would like to add….a friend of mine wished her son a Happy Birthday on Facebook while he was away at Basic Training. His DS saw it and made him do extra PT, telling him his Mom told on him.

  • mandi July 6, 2012, 2:25 pm

    I’m not allowed to send my boyfriend comics. :/

  • colleen August 23, 2012, 7:25 pm

    Are there certain letter SIZES that cannot be sent? like can they be the longer ones, or do they have to be the smaller ones? i’m not sure, and ive looked it up. i know no decorations or anything on the outside, but i couldnt figure out if the envelope size made a difference? help please?

  • Danielle January 22, 2013, 9:14 pm

    I made him a personalized calendar to help count down the days left of basic. There’s pictures of his friends and family from back home. There is one more “risqué” picture of myself in a corset and shorts but you can’t see my face. It’s only one picture out of 12 months of pictures, lol, but I just don’t want to get him in trouble. Think it will be ok to send?

  • Kat March 13, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Thank you for this info. My boyfriend left for Fort Knox three months ago…. I want to send him a letter but I don’t know how to adress it. Do you know where? and what should I NOT put in the letter?

  • Linda November 10, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Glad someone has info posted. The individual bases do not give you a lot of info and the soldiers in training do not have a lot of time to write or call

  • Dannyelle Fulcer February 27, 2014, 9:59 pm

    thank you so much i couldn’t find anything that said what to send AND not to send lol thanks so much my bf is in basic at ft benning so this helped a lot

  • shelley June 22, 2014, 12:05 pm

    How to you calculate when the graduation will be, our daughter is in basic at fort Jackson.

    • Stacey Abler June 23, 2014, 11:30 am

      Do you know when she started basic (not just when she arrived)? It’s 10 weeks from the time she starts.

  • Kacey November 9, 2014, 6:04 pm

    First off I would like to say thank you so much for this post, it really helped to clarify what is the absolute most safest things to send. My boyfriend left for basic November 3 and I just received the address Saturday night to mail him at.
    I just have one question. If he didn’t leave with any paper, envelopes or stamps is there a way for him to write back without me sending any with it? I just sent out a letter and wasn’t sure if he would have anything to respond with.

  • Ella November 26, 2014, 10:11 pm

    Hi! i put some hearts on a couple of envelopes but i didn’t it could get my boyfriend into trouble!! the holidays are almost here and i don’t have a clue of wich would be a good present choice for an army soldier!! I want something he could use and take everywhere, something handy!! can you please please help me out and give me some ideas!! thanks!

  • Aida March 2, 2015, 7:06 pm

    my daughter ask me to send her a care package shampoo deodorant toothpaste tooth brush what else can I send her she’s at basic training at ft leonardwood 3rd PLT can I send her cough lozens she said her throat hurts

  • tina June 11, 2015, 8:10 pm

    What happens if you send a sexual letter or a letter that you’re explaining to him how bad it is at home but saying no need to worry. He asked how things were at home so I told him. Will he get in trouble or will they just throw it away?

    • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 9:39 am

      They shouldn’t read your mail – the only time they would open it is if it feels like there’s something else in the envelope with the letter.

  • Cheyenne August 30, 2015, 10:35 pm

    Am I allowed to send my guy a picture of me in a regular bathing suit? I’ve asked around but I keep getting mixed answers, I don’t want to get him in trouble…

    • Stacey Abler August 31, 2015, 9:45 am

      Just be sure you’re okay with everyone seeing it in the event it gets passed around.

  • Julie October 26, 2015, 9:28 am

    My recruit asked me go send toiletries and laundry detergent, but now I read that it’s not allowed.
    Can you please verify?

  • josa November 12, 2015, 7:16 am

    Hi my boyfriend is in AIT right now and his birthday will be this coming Feb but he’ll still be in the army. Am I allowed to send him a package? I’ll put brand new shoes, clothes and toiletries. Can I send him those? And if I can send toiletries, is there a specific size for each one? Thanks!

  • chloe' January 25, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Hello, does anyone still get on here?

  • Marisa Juarez June 7, 2017, 10:29 pm

    Hi, my husband is in basic training and in a few weeks it will be fathers day. I was wondering if I am allowed to send him a voice recorder with a message from our daughters?

    • Stacey Abler June 19, 2017, 10:04 pm

      I’m sorry I missed answering this. Generally the guide is to only send letters/cards/pictures and not anything that would be in a package. That’s such a sweet idea. I’m curious if you sent it and how it turned out?

  • Nana Yaw September 15, 2017, 6:29 pm

    My girlfriend wrote me to send her a sugar free cough drop. You think she can get in trouble if I do? Please get back to me

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