Some simple tips for you Poolees in regards to your mail while in boot camp. The following issues are the most common problems when it comes to mail, so learn from the mistakes of others and prepare yourself BEFORE you ship out.

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  • You will be allowed to buy stamps, paper and all that crap once in boot camp. You can have stamps sent to you and you can take your own stamps with you. Just understand you will be able to buy your own stuff once in boot camp.
  • You are not guaranteed time to read and write letters each night. During your “free time” you may have many things to do and mail is not always high on that list. It varies from platoon to platoon and from person to person and it also depends on what part of training you are in. During your first week of boot camp you do not write letters. Your first opportunity to write home is usually 5-6 days from when you leave to boot camp.
  • If you don’t know how to properly write the address info on the outside of an envelope, ask someone to show you or look online for an example. I would explain it to you, but it is only gonna confuse you. And don’t forget to put a stamp on your envelope. What I am saying here is that if you do not know how to send mail (write, address letters, stamps), then learn before you go.
  • Sundays is the day that you will have the most time to read and write letters since this is the day with the most free time.
  • Many of you give out your info to everyone and anyone and you don’t realize that you wont have time to write to everyone. Do not make the mistake of telling every single person you know that you will write them, because you wont have the time. And don’t get pissed off if your “friends” don’t write you. Many of your friends will talk a good talk about how they will write you and all that crap and once in boot camp, they will come up with the lamest excuses of why they never wrote to you.
  • You shouldn’t be posting your address in a public place such as Facebook and you should avoid having just anyone write to you. You do so at your own risk.
  • Before you ship out you want to create two lists that are identical. These lists will have all of the info for those you wish to write to. You will take one list with you in either a sheet of paper or a little phone book type thing and the other list you leave with someone you trust back at home. In the event that your address book/list gets lost or ruined while in boot camp, you simply send a letter home and you tell this trusted person to send you that list that you created as a back-up. Many times in boot camp you lose your address book/paper or they may not let you keep it. So make sure you remind someone at home or a friend to hold on to that second list just in case you ask for it.
  • Unless you have everyone’s addresses memorized, you will have to write them down on a paper or phone book and you’ll take this item with you. Whether they let you keep this item is something you wont know until you arrive.
  • When you send a first letter home from boot camp, make sure you also include your exact address inside the letter itself. Many times when you send a letter home it becomes smeared or torn while in transit, or your excited friend or parent often rips open the letter and it destroys your address. So by writing your address on the outside of the envelope and also in each letter itself, this guarantees that whoever receives the letter will have two verifiable sources with your correct info. You want to do this with every letter you write. Remember, include your address in your letter also.
  • Make sure you make it perfectly clear to whoever is going to write to you to avoid any drama in the letters. You do not want any negative crap while in boot camp. Do not give your info to everyone just for the sake of being popular and cool. You would be surprised at how many people say they will write you and never do. So only give your info to those who are tight with you. Also keep in mind that once you ship, everyone suddenly wants to be your best friend, so prepare for that.
  • Make sure you make it perfectly clear to your recruiter, and to your friends and family that they are NOT to give out your info to anyone who asks for it unless you approve of it. You want to avoid the (ex) bf or gf issues, stalkers, haters, etc etc, so ensure these people don’t get your contact info. You are going to boot camp to become a Marine and not to be a pen pal. And it is only 90 days, so don’t act like you are heading off to war.
  • Tell your parents and friends that they should not expect a letter until the 2nd or 3rd week from when you leave. Your first letter to them should arrive between the 2nd and 3rd week. And tell them to stop writing to you after about the 10th week.
  • Tell your parents and friends to only send letters in regular envelopes unless you yourself requests to have something else shipped to you. Small pictures and news articles are fine as long as they are in good taste. Tell your parents and friends to NOT send you packages of any kind unless you ask for them. No cookies, no socks, nothing!! Receiving packages in boot camp may lead to you having to pay for them with sweat and pain, so you have been warned.
  • Your letters are not read by your drill instructors, but anything other than a letter will be looked over by them to ensure it is good to go.
  • They do not deny you mail and they do not hide your mail or any crap like that.
  • Tell your parents and friends that during field training you will have less time to read and write letters and that your mail may be delayed by a few days. It usually takes between 5-10 days to receive mail, but since this is the Marine Corps always expect the unexpected.
  • If for some reason you are given your boot camp address before you get to boot camp, this address is going to change. It is best if you disregard this address and it is best if you (recruit) writes home first with the correct address and this will be your correct address. I notice a lot of poolees get their supposed address before they ship and then never receive any mail because once in boot camp they end up somewhere else. So once again, the best thing for recruits to do is to write a quick letter as soon as they can with their correct address and all other addresses should be tossed out.
  • If you don’t have a lot of time to write those first few days, here is what you can do: You can just write a simple “hello” or something brief to those who are most important to you instead of waiting to write out a long letter. By doing this they will receive your address and they can begin writing to you instead of waiting for you to write a longer letter. Even if you just write a letter that says this, “This is my address, write me.”, your friends and family can begin to write to you. This is much better than waiting 2-3 weeks until you finally have the time to write them.
  • The number one reason recruits don’t receive mail is because they either give the wrong address, or whoever is writing to them doesn’t put the correct address on the envelope. Make sure you write the correct address and make sure others can read your writing. This is why when sending mail you want to include your address inside of your letters. By doing this the person you’re writing to has two locations to verify your address. I cannot stress this point enough: I write to recruits all the time and sometimes it is very hard to read their writing. When you write your address info, make sure others can read it and make sure it is correct.
  • Yes, you can write to other recruits in boot camp and you can write to anyone who is not in the United States. When sending letter out of the country, make sure you put enough stamps.
  • If you are dropped from your platoon, you will be given a new address in most cases and any old mail should be forwarded to you, but don’t expect it to arrive right away.
One final note: Not everyone in boot camp is the same. Many of us do not have a support structure and will not receive many letters if any. If you are the type who receives many letters and is filled with support, then it is in your best interest to take care of your brother while in boot camp and all throughout your USMC career. If you see one of these recruits, then share with him or her some of what is going on back home in your life. It is important you learn that you are all in this together and by supporting one another, you all will emerge much better Marines. OOH RAH!!

About Future Jarheads

We have been mentoring future Marines and Marines since 2004.
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  1. Michael Lee says:

    thx Lava

  2. Noah Liptack says:

    Thank you sir.

  3. Ashley J. says:

    Thank You Sir! This Helped a lot! I am not a Marine & Do not plan to be one, but I am a full supporter! I am only here because my boyfriend is at Boot Camp, Right now! & this answered many questions I had! God Bless!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This has been most helpful since my son leaves for bootcamp on the 20th of this month. I’m just a mom who wants to make sure I do right for my son. Semper Fi.

  5. Nindy says:

    Oohraah! Well after read your article sir, i have question. So I cant sent a letter until they sent me one? I’m not american, so i kinda dont really know the rules… Please reply, that means lot to me. Thankyou sir😊

    • Correct. Once you get a letter, that is when you will have their address and you can write them. You cannot write them until you get a letter because you dont know their address.

  6. Perla Martinez says:

    I sent my boyfriend a letter after he sent me the return address. I sent him a letter on the 3rd of August & it is now the 20th of August. I forgot to put my the return address. Does that matter? Should I be concerned at all?

  7. Emily Byrne says:

    My boyfriend went off to bootcamp the 23rd of August, it’s now the 8th of September, I still haven’t received a letter from him, is there a way that I can send him a letter without his direct address? I miss him a great deal and would love to know how he’s doing, thank you

  8. Hazel says:

    I’m going into the Airforce shortly, I believe. Do you know if the rules are similar for the other branches? I appreciate it, thank you. ^^

  9. Cris says:

    Hi, my son is on his 3rd week of bootcamp. How often do they received mail call?

    Thank you

  10. Anna says:

    Great information. Thank you for sharing. I’ll send something daily even if all it is is Hey!-we are super proud of you. I figure you can never receive too much mail guess I’ll find out in 9 weeks or so.

  11. so my son will be there for christmas was wondering if i can send a candy cane or something for the platoon?

  12. Jean says:

    My daughter has requested face wash that cannot be purchased in a store Is it okay to order online and have delivered directly to her from the vendor?

  13. Gary says:

    I just received a letter from my cousin who is in boot camp asking for some basic items, one which surprised me was body wash. Anyone send body wash before? And how much do I send?

  14. Ko says:

    Can I send a book stamp and a ziplock bag for his letters?

  15. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much! My boyfriend leaves in 6 months and I want to write letters but always get told watch what you send, say and they get to call you and give you their address and if you messed up or didnt hear them you would have to wait till they sent a letter and everything was so confusing!!! But this really helped me get ready for when he leaves. Thank you again Sir

  16. Carmen Tinsley says:

    Thanks for all the great advice on here. You really answered a lot of questions and although this isn’t the first page I’ve gone on to read up and learn what I have to for my boyfriend’s journey into the Corps this is the page that’s probably stuck with me the most. I really do admire what you added in the end about recruits in boot helping their brothers out to keep their spirits high and keep them going as well. One of the first things I read up about was he fact that my boyfriend was now going to have more brothers and sisters to look out for and to look out for him. It never occurred to me that they might not have the best support and I thank you for bringing that to my attention.
    It’s something I think I will include in my letters.
    Anyway, I was wondering if decorating the actual letter was an issue? I know that the envelopes should be plain normal without junk on it but what about the letter inside? Is that okay to decorate (not with perfume)?
    Thanks 🙂

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