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Writing Letters During Basic Training and AIT

I hope you thoroughly enjoy holding a pen in your hand as this is your new lifeline to your Army soldier as an Army wife.

One piece of advice – write to him every day.

My husband repeatedly told me that letters were like gold. It is their only tie to home or the outside world. After the first week or so, the letters were starting to feel forced. So I just started telling him about my day at work. I also would send him jokes and copies of emails. Each Sunday, I would send him the “ESPN update” with all of the scores. As long as they get letters, they couldn’t care less what they are about. It used to bore him to tears to hear about my job when he was home, but at basic he was thrilled so long as it meant he was getting mail.

On writing not so positive letters…

One thing that there are contradicting opinions about among Army wives is if all of your letters should be completely positive. While I agree that you should try to keep them as positive as possible, don’t cover up your true feelings either. If your car breaks down or the air conditioner at your home quits working, don’t tell him about it if you can help it as there’s not a thing he can do about it. But when it comes to your feelings, letting him know that you miss him and that you have a really hard day once in a while is okay. Once during basic, I wrote my husband a very long letter about how hard the separation was and my feelings surrounding it. I did warn him in the letter that I was feeling depressed and if it was going to bother him not to read past a certain point. After I mailed it, I felt horrible because I thought I was being selfish. But I received the sweetest letter in return with his reassurance. He later told me he was glad that I sent it. Don’t make your husband feel that you can’t function without him but it is nice for him to know that it is harder without him around and he is missed. You don’t want him to think you’re just living it up without him around.

Don’t slack off just because basic is over!

When my husband was in OSUT, basic ended when he came home for two weeks for Christmas Exodus. Once they returned, they were in the AIT phase. My husband told me that their mail decreased dramatically after the Christmas break. Don’t let this be the case with your soldier! I still continued to write every day.

Mail call…

They typically only have mail call a couple of times a week. Because of this, make sure you date or number each letter so he can read them in sequence. If you’re writing every day, he should be getting several at a time! During my husband’s AIT, they had mail call one day and he asked one of the guys to get his for him because he was shining his boots. The guys came back up in a few minutes and said they only had 10 letters to pass out and 5 of them belonged to my husband. But he said he was thrilled!

Many drill sergeants will have the soldiers do push ups in order to get their mail. Some moms and wives have emailed me to tell me they feel horrible that they are causing their soldiers to have to do some many push ups. Well, no need to fret. First, I’m sure your soldier is thrilled to do his push-ups if it means he’s getting mail. Second, he is going to have to do push-ups regardless all during his training so it may as well be for something positive. If he’s not getting mail and therefore not having to do push-ups during mail call, I can promise you the DS will find another excuse for him to get down and push!

So go out shopping and invest in a nice pen, a roll of stamps and a pack of paper. Your husband will never be so happy you decided to spend money!

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

{ 232 comments… add one }
  • Anna green May 13, 2015, 10:50 am

    I have a calendar wrote up on a piece of paper if I send my fiancé that will I get him in trouble? He is always asking for the date in his letters so I guess he doesn’t have a way of knowing. I don’t want to send him this if it will get him in trouble.

    • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 10:16 am

      A calendar on a piece of paper shouldn’t be a problem – just don’t send an actual calendar.

  • Martha May 27, 2015, 10:25 pm

    So my boyfriend is in basic training at Fort Benning and I barely got to write him his first letter. When I wrote him one today, I noticed that I forgot to write the platoon number on it. Will he still get my letter?

    • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 9:58 am

      Hard to say – some have made it without the proper address while others haven’t.

  • Mary Sciupider July 9, 2015, 9:48 am

    my soldier just went in a week ago. I received a letter from him but he put his return address as
    ft benning, ga no return address – should I still try to send him a letter with that address on it or should I wait until he sends me his real address with platoon number, etc?

    • Stacey Abler July 19, 2015, 9:06 pm

      If that’s all it said, it will never make it to him. You’ll need the full address. He may have sent the letter before he knew the address (from reception, etc).

  • Ajaula Murphy September 12, 2015, 11:41 am

    My boyfriend left for basic on September 9th. he’s in the army. he was in reception for a few days then he had to turn his phone in . he said to wait for a letter from him to get the address then he sent me his address but it’s confusing. i wanna write him first but i don’t want to put the wrong info … any suggestions ?

    • Bailey Crawford September 26, 2015, 7:19 pm

      Write, write, write! Hey everything ready except for his mailing address and once he sends you the address send all of the letters at once. That’s what I did and he thanked me for it.

  • Kari September 24, 2015, 11:48 am

    My boyfriend wants to join the Army in 2016 and wants to get engaged before he leaves. In order to move with hi, when he gets stationed, do we have to be already married? He does not to prolong the wait if I cant go with him. Please help, we are trying to plan so we don’t have to be away from one another.

    • Forever_in_lovee January 19, 2016, 9:29 pm

      Yes you have to be married

    • Savannah February 10, 2016, 11:55 am

      Hi Kari, you have to be married before AIT school, which is after basic training, in order to be put on his orders to be able to move with him.

  • Tay September 30, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Hi! My boyfriend went into basic on the 21st of September and I got a letter from him yesterday.
    I’ve been writing him everyday since he posted his address the day after he reached basic.
    About how long until he starts receiving letters at Fort Jackson?

  • Paige October 2, 2015, 7:12 pm

    I have been writing but I know I forgot to write which platoon he is in on the back of the letter a couple times. Will he still receive my letters?

  • Megan Henderson October 4, 2015, 1:07 am

    Is there a limit to how long the letters can be during basic training or can they be as long as we want?

    • Stacey Abler October 8, 2015, 10:07 am

      No limit but keep in mind his free time is limited to be able to read them and write back.

  • Anna Pharr October 11, 2015, 3:11 pm

    So I have someone who is really special to me that recently went to BCT about three weeks ago, and I have been writing to him weekly ever since he publicized his address. Since I don’t really consider myself a person of great significance in his life (even though I want to be), I’m afraid to write him more than weekly because I wonder if he really wants to hear from me. Should I write to him more anyways?

    Also, I thought about sending him a card with a voice recording. Is this acceptable in BCT (the last thing I want to do is penalize him)? If not, will there be an opportunity to use this method later on down the road? Or is this an all-around no-go?

    I am so glad I found this website though. It has been very informative and helpful! Keep up the good work! ^_^

  • Elisabeth October 24, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. My boyfriend left almost a month ago for Basic and it’s been hell not hearing from him. It was nice to read your suggestions and see that I had already done some of them! Can’t wait to get his letter with his address so I can send my (huge) stack of letters. Really appreciated this article.

  • Ceirra Phifer October 27, 2015, 12:01 am

    hey i just received my boyfriend’s letters in the mail .. i was a little confused because it had his rank his last name fort benning GA then it said no return address.. idk if it will still get sent. it didnt even have his platoon so idk what i should do ? if i send the letter will he even get it ??

  • Lena November 11, 2015, 2:45 pm

    Can I send paper, envelopes, stamps, and pens to my husband? I didn’t even think about giving him any of that stuff before he left. Should I send them or can he get the materials there?

  • Danielle November 20, 2015, 3:32 pm

    Hi, I just got the call from my husband in BCT Ft. Jackson he has been there for 5 days … he called with the address… however the format of the address is missing something. I think like (3-13) part… i have the 3rd Platoon and the company name and that is is.
    is that all I need… I called and they wont have the info at the reception desk until Monday but he is having a hard time and could really use the letters… sooner? The format is off … however i dont want to put the entire address on this site…
    HELP !!

  • Milena November 22, 2015, 8:14 pm

    Hello, my boyfriend is in BCT right now and he called me to give me his address but I’m from Brazil and I thought that the address is a little bit confusing.
    Do you know the structure for BCT address?
    He said something like BCO Period 795th and other numbers and periods but I’m lost and I wanna send him letters asap.

  • Anabel Moreno November 23, 2015, 10:58 am

    Hello ,today is the day my boyfriend gets shipped of to basic training in Missouri ,would know how long until he gets his first phone call ,and also are pictures allowed to be sent ?
    -Thank you

  • Anna A December 22, 2015, 4:06 am

    Is it strictly letters? I wanted to send him a funny Christmas card I found from one of his favorite movies!

  • Jess H January 3, 2016, 2:28 am

    My boyfriend wrote to me about a week ago and I’ve been sending letters a lot. I realized today that I wrote BB as his dorm instead of what it actually was. Everything else was right. I sent my first one on 12/28 and I haven’t gotten it back. Do you think he got it?

  • Maria Thurston January 25, 2016, 2:34 pm

    My boyfriend is in AIT now. But when he was home for Christmas leave he told me he didn’t know what he wanted and he hardly talked to me at all. Is this normal?

  • Candice Burnett February 2, 2016, 12:23 pm

    My husband has been gone to fort banning since Jan. 4 the he started basic Jan. 15th he’s wrote me a couple of times but I don’t have an address. How long does it take to get the commander letter in the mail its driving me crazy.

  • Tameshia Shears March 8, 2016, 11:48 pm

    What if his letter say no return on the envelope what does that mean

  • Tristen March 18, 2016, 8:19 pm

    Hi! Four years ago, my friend got sent off to basic training. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen him but we talked and realized we still had feelings for each other. I’m able to communicate with him now but I want to send him letters to make it more personal. I have no idea how to go about doing it. I only know what base he’s at. I don’t know the address or his rank or anything that would help him receive my letters. There’s so much I want to put in my letter but I don’t want it to get lost in the mail… help!

  • Hawa Gaye April 7, 2016, 8:28 pm

    My boyfriend just left for basic training on the 27th of March and he was scheduled to leave Sunday but when we went to his recruiting office his Sargent told him that he’s actually leaving Tuesday but he ended up leaving on Sunday after all and I didn’t get the chance to say bye or get his location to send letters and now idk how to get that information

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:41 pm

      Ugh, that sucks that he left without getting to say good-bye! He should be able to send you information (hopefully you have it by now) with his mailing address once he gets there. He wouldn’t have had it before he left.

  • Leanna VanWassenhove April 18, 2016, 11:42 pm

    My boyfriend just recently left for basic training. I’m waiting for his letter so I can get his address but I’ve already started to write to him every day. I’m putting all the letters from each week together. Letters from Monday -Sunday together in one envelope and the next week in another etc. just to make it easier for him to keep track of them in order. My question is if it’s ok that I stapled the pages. I know the letters may get checked for security reasons, but the staples are metal, will they wand it? Should I take the staples out. I’m just worried I’m new at this haha

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:30 pm

      You shouldn’t have to worry about the staples. I would recommend not sending fat envelopes though, just because they’re more likely to open it to ensure it doesn’t contain contraband.

  • CHERIF April 25, 2016, 7:08 am

    My fiancé went to training 2 weeks ago I want to know if is possible to send her letter by DHL or UPS since I’m in overseas at the moment.

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:24 pm

      If someone has to sign for it, he’s unlikely to receive it…or at least not in a timely manner.

  • Clyee May 23, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Hi! My friend is going to his basic training soon. We are wondering if we can write letters in a language other than English (i.e. foreign language)? Or at least contain some words or sentences in other language… (since we are not originally from US and it would be easier for use to communicate in our mother tongue). Will their sergeant check each letter?

    Thank you in advance for answering my question!

  • Candy May 26, 2016, 1:22 am

    I sent my boyfriend a drawing and made it all nice. Will he get in trouble for a drawing?

  • Hannah June 13, 2016, 8:37 am

    Hi, my boyfriend recently got to basic at fort benning. We received the letter from the commander with how to address the envelopes to mail him, however we did not get his roster number. I mailed a letter without the roster number, being told it would be okay. But now I am having anxiety about him getting in trouble because of my mistake and being too impatient for him to write first. I don’t understand why we would receive a letter to write him, but yet not have all the correct information.

  • Claire April 12, 2017, 3:45 pm

    Are you allowed to say the words “I love you” in your letter, as long as it’s limited to one time in the letter, like at the end?

    • Stacey Abler June 19, 2017, 10:15 pm

      You can say whatever you want in the letter. 🙂 Just know that while it probably won’t be, there’s always the possibility that it *could* be read.

  • Jay April 26, 2017, 1:19 pm

    My husband left for bootcamp on Monday I sent out letters already but after I sent it I realized that I didn’t write recruit on the envelope just his name! Is that gonna be a problem?

  • Steph May 6, 2017, 10:11 pm

    Hi, my fiancé is at Fort Sill, he’s been there for two weeks and I have received one letter from him that was written during reception week. My question is how often do they usually get time to write? Is it weekly, daily, etc? I just am curious about how often I’ll get letters from him so that I don’t get my hopes up about getting letters everyday. Thanks!

  • Angelina June 16, 2017, 10:50 pm

    Do they read the shoulders mail before giving it to them?

  • trudy crozier June 27, 2017, 10:13 pm

    my grandson left for basic training in s.c. june 1, we have not heard from him, we were very close, he lived with us for years, how can we get a mailing address/ thankyou

    • Stacey Abler July 8, 2017, 1:32 pm

      Hi, you should receive a letter from him with his address. Have you still not heard from him?

  • Becka July 9, 2017, 3:24 am

    My son went to basic at Fort Benning July 5th…. how long before I know an address to write to him?

  • LINDA GRITTEN September 3, 2017, 3:21 pm


  • Shannon K. September 11, 2017, 10:31 pm

    My boyfriend is in basic training at fort benning. I forgot to put the red dot at the bottom left hand corner of the envelopes. Does this mean he wont get my letters? Or will they just mail them back and make me put it?

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