letters to a soldier during military training

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 ensure he doesn’t have to do extra push-ups on your account.

You CAN send him the following:

Letters – You can and should send him many 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 sports section, sending some print-outs of ESPN is perfectly acceptable.

He will also enjoy comics or some humorous jokes. Just don’t send anything lewd.

NOTE: 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 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. It’s best to include this in 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 easier than taking everything with him in the beginning.

If it is not mentioned above, he can’t have it.

Do not send packages to him.

Stories are 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 everything that was in it in 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 barracks hallway so the guys would see the panties each day when they passed by.

On graduation day, the DS found the soldier’s girlfriend, 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 decide 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.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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

  2. 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!

  3. Hi! My soldier just went off to basic training and asked me to write often. He wanted me to sent each letter with my perfume and said he wasn’t sure if he could have pictures so not to send any, just in case. This site is telling me to do the opposite…any advice on what to do for my soldier?

  4. Hi I have a quick question my boyfriend is in Army basic training and I was wondering if I could put a little piece of candy in the letters I send him. Would he be able to receive them or would they be confiscated? Thank you so much for your help!

  5. Okay so my fiance in basic training didn’t get a waffle top so I’m wondering if anyone can tell me if I can send him one???? He’s going out to in the field for 7 days in the cold at Fort Benning. Can anyone tell me if I can or can’t????

  6. i’m engaged to a man in training at fort sill. he is graduating in a month. valentines day is coming up. what should i send to him? im thinking about a card but i dont know if he can have those. please help me i love him and miss him very much.

  7. Is it Ok to send a music card!?! Because I sent him an additional letter and a music card in another envelope! That was returned to me today, and the other was received by him

  8. My Husband just recently left for his basic on his birthday April 12, it is way harder than you think it would be. He last called on the day he got there to let me know they are taking their phone away, I am still waiting for the address where I can write him, tomorrow is monday, there might be something in mail. I am so used to of being around him and talking to him all day even at work and today it’s been 4 days and i have no idea if he has eaten, slept well or if he is tired of PT. Thank you for this website, where people can talk about feeling and have other people who will understand.

  9. 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?

    1. 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?

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