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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

{ 191 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).

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