What to write when sending Letters to basic training

Whether joining the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard recruits going through basic training always look forward to mail call. Mail call is the one connection recruits have to friends, family, loved ones, and the rest of the outside world. It helps recruits stay in positive spirits, motivates them, and helps them be successful through out boot camp. As your responsibility to support your recruit through their journey it can sometimes be difficult to come up with what to write when sending Letters to basic training.


As they face new challenges on their military journey, we must show our support and gratitude. Sending frequent letters is a powerful way to bring love and laughter to our loved ones that can have a lasting impact. – Army Mom Strong

We are frequently asked, “What should I write about when I send mail to my son/daughter/friend/etc. at basic training?” Recruits in basic training are kept extremely busy and often times have little down time. When they do receive downtime it is usually spent preparing for the next day. Because of this many recruits do not always write frequently back home. Not receiving mail from your recruit does not mean that they aren’t getting your Letters. As their support system we know how much you want to write to them but understand that sometimes it is hard to know what to write especially when you aren’t receiving letters back from them.

To help you become a basic training Letter expert we’ve put together a list of some topics for you to write about when sending Letters to basic training. If you use the Sandboxx app to send Letters we’ve also included picture suggestions that you can add in your Letter as well.

I am the target text.

1. Just say hi.

No need to overthink this one.  A post card, a single page of stationary, or better yet a Sandboxx Letter, all have plenty of space to simply tell your recruit that you’re thinking of them. More times then not recruits are happy to know that you thought of them and that they aren’t alone on this journey.

Something like the following would work great:

“Hi Bobby!  Just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you.  Keep up the great work.  You rock!”

Sandboxx photo suggestion: a quick snapshot of you, the letter sender – selfies welcome. Start sending Letters now with the  Sandboxx app.

2. Share some encouragement.

Basic training is designed to completely break down recruits and build them back up into a warrior. Training is physically and mentally demanding and will cause a lot of recruits to doubt themselves, question why they are there, and make them feel hopeless. As their support system you have the opportunity to constantly give them the encouragement and motivation they need to get through the day.

Try something like this:

“Hey Natalie, I know some days can be tough and you miss home a lot.  Just remember that I/we support you, and I know you can do it!”

Sandboxx photo suggestion: a motivational quote. You can find a lot of our motivational quotes on our Sandboxx Instagram or on our Sandboxx Facebook where we post weekly Monday Motivation quotes.

3. Tell him/her that you’re proud of them.

This can go a long way.  Reading how proud you are of what they are doing will give recruits inner strength to keep pushing forward. Instructors at basic training are not there to tell recruits that they are proud of them (that only happens at the end of basic training), as their support system this is where you can step in. It doesn’t have to be over the top, just something genuine to let them know how proud you are of everything they are accomplishing, not everyone can do what they are doing.

Use this as a starting point:

“Thinking of you today, and just wanted you to know how proud of you I am. What you are doing is amazing.”

Sandboxx photo suggestion: Something patriotic (the American flag, a bald eagle, etc.)  Even better would be a selfie of you giving a big smile and a thumb’s up!

4. Sports scores, local news, family activities.

Your recruit is being completely disconnected from the outside world. Sometimes it is nice to escape the realities of basic training and read about their favorite sports team, the odd neighbors next door, or just what has been happening with the family.

Here’s an example:

“Hey bud, I know you didn’t see it, but the Lions won the Super Bowl.  I never thought that would happen!  Also, they’re building a new high school gym here.  It’s gonna be nice. Sam and I are taking a trip to see Chad this weekend. We’ll send some pics. Keep rockin’ it there at basic.  See you soon.”

Sandboxx photo suggestion: a picture of the winning goal, a photo of the new gym, or pics of the family/group of friends.

5. “Can’t wait for you to graduate!”

Graduation day for your recruit seems like a distant future event.  So, remind them of the light at the end of the tunnel.  If you know you’ll be there when they finish, tell them you can’t wait to see them in their fancy new uniform.  This will be a big help to keep your service member working hard to reach their goal.

Try this out:

“Hey girl, can’t believe it’s only a few weeks until you graduate. Thank god, because we need to do a movie night.  Keep it up, you’re almost there.  See you soon!”

Sandboxx photo suggestion: a pic of your calendar with graduation date circled.

Your recruit will face a lot of hard days and struggle to keep moving forward. Your constant support and positive words will be what keeps your recruit going and help them stay confident so that they can succeed. Your Letters to basic training don’t need to be long and they don’t need to be fancy.  What’s important is that you’re sending mail to support them through this journey. One thing to keep in mind when you are writing letters to basic training is to try your best to keep your Letters positive.  Try to avoid sending Letters to them that contain any negativity. It is 100% ok to let your recruit know that you miss them, are having a tough day, etc. but try to avoid letting them know they’re absence is effecting you in a negative way. We promise your recruit did not join the military to leave you behind and make you sad.

You are on your way to becoming an expert Letter writer and we can’t wait till you receive your first Letter back from your recruit. Have a recruit currently at basic training? Download the Sandboxx app and start sending Letters. Not sure how Sandboxx works read our article on how my Sandboxx Letter is delivered.


Author: Brian at Sandboxx

I have long-standing military roots through my family, as my grandfather served in the Army as a pediatrician. Since then, I’ve become more actively involved with the military community thanks to my fiancé and partner of over six years, who is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, where he serves as a pediatric cardiologist. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Sandboxx team so that I can give back to such an important community and group of people.

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