artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


08 June 2010

Does anyone here write to soldiers? Whether you know them personally or not? [More:] My best friend's daughter's husband just went into the army. I love writing old-fashioned letters and all involved agreed I can write to him. He's only been gone to Basic Training a week, but since he said he won't know any news, I figured I can write about the news to him. I'll keep it clean, cheerful, and as non-controversial as possible, but are there any things I'm not allowed to write about? Is someone screening his letters?

I would also love to hear about your experiences writing to and getting letters from soldiers.
I've written to a few through, and it's been great. Though they say not to expect a response, I've always gotten at least a quick e-mail thank you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 08 June | 22:18
I'm friends with my brother on Facebook. Mostly he just sends nonsense, but that's what he would be doing if he weren't in the military, too.

I know he likes the fudge my step-mom sends him, so I guess they don't censor the sweets.
posted by aniola 08 June | 22:51
I doubt anyone is censoring letters sent to Basic Training recruits.

Thanks for that link to AnyMarine, TPS. I have been wanting to send care packages but I always forget. Now that I have a link, things will happen.
posted by Ardiril 08 June | 23:11
Yeah, I was just looking at - that TPS. And now I'm sitting here crying and being super pissed off because of all the soldiers needing tampons/soap/deodorant. Those are basic needs and why aren't huge corporations stepping up on that? UGH. It's not like the big tampon/soap/deodorant companies aren't making huge freaking amounts of money off normal consumers. You'd think they could maybe ship some stuff off to people in the military.
posted by fluffy battle kitten 08 June | 23:19
thanks, TPS. (Not that.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten 08 June | 23:19
I completely misread this question as, "Does anyone here write soldiers?" And I clicked through, because, yes, I was working on a 'barracks' scene and I am interested in how other people 'write soldiers' and oh god, I am losing my mind.

Yes, I am on deadline.
Which explains why I am online more.
I'll get back to my work now.
posted by typewriter 08 June | 23:22
Those are basic needs and why aren't huge corporations stepping up on that?

I was wondering that as well. I cringe at the thought of a military-issue tampon.
posted by Ardiril 08 June | 23:24
I used to write to a friend of the family when I was a kid while he was in the army. He was eight or nine years older than me, and loved getting letters so it didn't matter that these came from a ten-year old. Several pages full of gossip, illustrations, some sand to show him the beaches he was missing, an old joke or two, maybe a pressed flower. He dug 'em, wrote back, listed body parts he had hurt, miles he had run, ungodly hours he had to get up, and weapons he had shot during the week. His letters were very fun too.

I stopped after he failed to get a word-pun I had made up, which made me feel really self-concious about the Swedish language for a while and turned me off of writing. The pun: samlar du lump i lumpen? (accompanied by an illustration of a platoon picking up cigarette butts on a battlefield and one guy yelling "hey, this one is still lit! yay!") Lump is an old word for trash/junk so those who sold junk were called lumpsamlare, and doing a stint in the army is called "lumpen".

Can't believe I remember that! Ha! Anyway, yeah, moral of the story: I reckon writing to soldiers you should make the letters fun.
posted by dabitch 09 June | 07:51
I used to write to soldiers (way before Sept. 11 and anthrax and etc.), when you could just write to Any Soldier at an APO or FPO. Also, my stepbrothers were both in the Navy on frequent deployments, so I'd write to them, and some of their friends never got mail, so my brothers would tell me their names and I'd write to them too.

I was in college then, so I had plenty of entertaining anecdotes to share. I kept it light, told them about my daily life and asked questions about their daily routines, told them terrible groan-inducing jokes, talked about the pop culture news of the day or the music I was listening to. Once in a while I'd send a cookie package. They'd send me photos from their leave stops and sometimes I'd get phone calls from them.

Once they left the military and returned to civilian life, the letters would end, and that was fine since they had their own support networks to return to. I always had fun with the letters.
posted by initapplette 09 June | 11:04
If you buy a book from Press 53 by 6/14 (next Monday, Flag Day), they'll send the same book to an active-duty soldier for free. I have not yet placed an order through their site, but it seems like an easy way to help a little.
posted by youngergirl44 09 June | 16:56
Thanks everyone!
posted by IndigoRain 10 June | 02:45
Send 'em a bottle of clear Scope full of grain alcohol. They'll make some money and get a little relief from the shit.
posted by trondant 10 June | 03:28
Don't send candy or goodies to soldiers in basic. But they will love getting letters, cards and tame postcards. My son joined the Army, and I sent him mail 1 - 2 week in Basic. Getting mail from my son was a genuine treat.

As the parent of an enlisted soldier, I thank you for posting this, and am getting teary at the kindness here.
posted by theora55 10 June | 14:14
When I was at Parris Island, our senior DI dictated the first paragraph of our first letter home. "Sending goodies is fine and encouraged provided you send enough for a 12-man squad no more than once a week. A bag of 60 small cookies or candies is even better." The latter meant everyone got a piece, and everyone including the DIs stood at attention and had 20 seconds to eat a soft candy or cookie, or 90 seconds to suck a hard candy. This ran contrary to official US Marine Corps policy, however he was otherwise one of the strictest perfectionists I have ever encountered. Our platoon always placed first in every competition because we were too damn scared to taste his wrath for a second-place finish, usually squat-thrusts in a 2-foot deep, mud-bottom pond.
posted by Ardiril 10 June | 14:48
Keep Calm and Carry On sign generator || YAY!