Columbus Day Mail Room Closures, 2017

Below are the bases that will be closed with no mail delivery in observance of Columbus Day.

Send Your First Letter to Marine Boot Camp

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Receiving Mail at Marine OCS: What You Need to Know

What Mail at OCS Means to Your Candidate

Mail at OCS is often the highlight of the day. Many candidates enjoy receiving sports scores, newsletters, newspaper clippings, etc.: anything they would have normally kept up with at home. Family and friends are encouraged to share fun stories, summer adventures, or jokes as this keeps candidates grounded and affords a moment of escape from the stress of OCS.

Tips on Writing a Modern Love Letter to Your Recruit on Valentine’s Day

wife-wwii-letter

wwii-homecoming-kiss “The sight of that shining moon up there—the moon that shines on you, too—fills me with romance—; and even though it’s just a dream now, it’s a promise of a glorious future with one I love more than life. The darned old moon keeps shining for us, darling—and even as it now increases that inescapable loneliness, it also increases my confidence in the future. I truly love you….”

They say people that don’t talk like that anymore. Why? This quote, taken from a letter written by Pauline “Polly” Elliott to her husband Frank M. Elliot serving in Normandy during World War II, seems to come from another era entirely. What’s happened in the past 70 years that makes language like Polly’s seem so foreign? Is it possible to translate the magic of her words into our modern age of texting, abbreviations and social media?

Definitely. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner we want to offer a few tips on what to think about when you’re writing your recruit a love letter and how you can make your letters to him all the more special.

old-letter-to-soldierWriting Your Recruit a Love Letter

First, think about your audience. Would you rather your letter be public or private—a post on Facebook or Instagram or a handwritten note for his eyes-only? These days we have so many options for communication it’s hard to pick one, but it’s also important to consider how your recruit would like to hear from you. This might seem like a weird thing to think about, but everyone is different and appreciates different gestures.

Focus and Put in the Time

Second, take a breath, and devote some serious time to your letter. Our lives today are full of constant distractions, and although it might seem easy to write out a few quick sentences and be done with it, your letter will mean so much more if you sit down, clear your mind, and reflect on what you want to say and how you want to communicate your emotions. Look at Polly! Obviously you don’t need to be quite as extreme, but it’s also very clear that she didn’t write those words lightly, and that makes a huge difference.

spanish-american-war-letter-to-soldiersThink of Their Situation

Third, be mindful of your recruit’s situation. He (or she) is living a totally different life than you and there might be certain things that he wants to hear about and others that he might not. Make sure to ask him direct questions so that he has something to respond to and don’t be afraid to write him first! These guys are exhausted, both mentally and physically, and sometimes they might not have the capacity to write a fantastic letter back to you. This is OK as long as you keep the conversation going—including special memories or attaching pictures are also great ways to show how much you care.

Finally, using Sandboxx you can take all of these tips and write your recruit a love letter up until Monday at 5pm with the guarantee that it will reach him on Valentine’s Day!

If you want to see more examples of Polly’s letters to Frank check out this article in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/70-years-later-love-letters-tell-of-wwii-couples-romance-and-tragedy/2015/05/24/02bca130-ffbb-11e4-8b6c-0dcce21e223d_story.html?utm_term=.affb9253fd49

 

 

My Dad’s Letters

Military life can be both miserable and rewarding.  The reward comes from working with great people on great teams accomplishing great missions.  The misery comes from austere locations, uncomfortable situations, and separation from loved ones.

One thing that makes every aspect of military life more bearable is the ability to keep in touch with friends and family.  But many times, the only way to connect is through the mail.

importance of military mail in basic training

When I was a recruit, going through my initial military training, I got mail just like everyone else did.  It was simultaneously the best and worst time of the day:

  • Best – because it was my connection to the outside world, the world that didn’t include drill instructors and smelly recruits;
  • Worst – because there was very little time to read and enjoy the stories, jokes, and gossip sent by friends and family.

basic training recruit training boot camp mail call

It was the same for everybody.  Mail was our escape.  It was our sanity check.  It gave us hope that there was life after recruit training.

For some, mail call brought snacks that they couldn’t keep.

For others, it meant envelopes soaked in perfume or really crafty, artistic packages…which invariably led to some ‘gentle’ ridicule from the instructors.

crafty military care package

Some got great news, like the birth of a child.

Others got horrible news, like the death of a parent.

Now matter how you look at it, mail call was (and is) how recruits stayed connected with the important people and events in their lives.  And it was all the more important during the holidays.

The mail I got at basic left a lasting impact on me.

Specifically, in the letters from my dad I received something far more precious than anything I’d ever requested for a birthday or for Christmas.impact of father on son

Something more valuable than a lesson on how to throw or catch, more timeless than a lesson on fishing.

What my dad sent to me during my three months of boot camp was powerful, wonderful, mysterious.

In his letters to me my father wrote of how proud he was of the man I was becoming.  He told me how much he loved me.  He wrote about how confidently he believed that no matter what obstacles I faced in life, I could overcome and succeed.

Through his letters, my dad gave me permission to be strong, to win, to lead.  I became a better recruit, and ultimately a better warrior because of those letters.

father's impact on soldier through military mail

“My father gave me the greatest gift…he believed in me.”~Jim Valvano

Thanks for believing, Dad.  And thanks for writing.

Join the Sandboxx community here to make an impact on your service member.

Sending Letters to Boot Camp & Basic Training over the Holidays

holidays schedule impact on letters mailed to basic training boot camp recruit training

Make sure your mail gets delivered over the Holidays.

We have contacted mail rooms across the country to ensure that you can get your mail to your servicemembers as quickly and efficiently as possible during the Holidays.

holidays schedule impact on letters mailed to basic training boot camp recruit training

If you are sending mail to MCRD San Diego, MCRD Parris Island, or JBSA Lackland, check below for details on their closures. All other bases or locations are following USPS holiday hours, and may be delayed. You can find details on USPS hours here. (Please note USPS can take from 2-10 days to deliver letters during normal operations. Over the Holidays, this may double).

Keep sending mail to your loved one over the Holidays, even if you do not receive regular replies. From our experience, replies from your loved ones can take up to two weeks to get back to you as they reply via USPS.

MCRD San Diego – Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 22nd 2016 using Sandboxx will be delivered to your Recruit on Friday the 23rd. After that, the San Diego mail room will be closed until Tuesday Dec. 27th. We will resume printing letters on Monday Dec. 26th in order to get your letters to your Recruit on the 27th when the mail room re-opens.

The New Years Holiday Schedule is similar. Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 29th using Sandboxx will be delivered to your Recruit on Friday Dec. 30th. We will resume printing letters on Tuesday Jan. 3rd 2017 to get your letters to your Recruit on the 4th when the mail room reopens. If sending via USPS, please add an extra 7 days to the times above.

MCRD Parris Island – Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 22nd 2016 using Sandboxx will be delivered to your Recruit on Friday the 23rd.  After that, the Parris Island mail room will be closed until Tuesday 27 Dec. 2016. We will resume printing letters on Monday the 26th of Dec. to get the letters over the Holiday to your Recruit on the 27th when the mail room reopens.

UPDATE: The mail room at Parris Island informed us that they will not be open Friday, December 30th. This is an update to the previously published schedule.

Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday Dec. 28th (today) using Sandboxx are scheduled to be delivered before the mail room closes for New Year’s. Any letters sent after 5 p.m. today will be shipped on the 2nd to arrive when the mail room reopens on the 3rd of January.

Reminder – Sandboxx relies on FedEx and the USPS for round trip delivery. Both organizations do their best to deliver on time. While they are 99.9% reliable, their operations are put under additional pressure during the Holidays and delays can occur.

JBSA Lackland – Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 22nd 2016 using Sandboxx will be delivered to your Future Airman on Friday the 23rd.  After that, the Lackland mail room will be closed until Tuesday 27th Dec. 2016. We will resume printing letters on Monday the 26th of Dec. to get the letters over the Holiday to your Recruit on the 27th when the mail room reopens.

The New Years Holiday Schedule is similar. Letters sent before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 29th using Sandboxx will be delivered to your Future Airman on Friday Dec. 30th. We will resume printing letters on Tuesday Jan. 3rd 2017 to get your letters to your Future Airmen on the 4th when the mail room reopens. If sending via USPS, please add an extra 7 days to the times above.

Sandboxx is a mobile app that enables those in uniform and their families stay connected like never before possible. Servicemembers, veterans, reservists and recruits can use Sandboxx Units to stay in touch with all those they have or will serve with. Sandboxx Letters continues the mission by giving loved ones the ability to send physical mail to those in basic training, boot camp or on deployment. Join the Sandboxx community here.

A Letter from a Marine Recruit at Boot Camp

letter from week one of marine corps recruit training san diego

A Marine Corps Recruit wrote the following letter to his recruiter from Tempe, AZ after his first week of boot camp at MCRD San Diego.

Recruits letters from week one.jpg

 


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“Writing to my son at boot camp”

marine recruits at graduation marine corps recruit depot san diego california

Sandboxx worked perfectly for my on-the-go lifestyle. Not only do I live on my mobile phone, I travel a lot and found I didn’t like having to find mailboxes and stamps or even plan to carry them with me to mail a letter. Once I discovered Sandboxx, it became so easy to get my thoughts down wherever I was, no matter the time or place, to send to him.

USMC graduation

That was the first plus, and the second was the ability to add a picture to the letters like I was facebooking or snapchatting. I could snap a pic of a beautiful sunrise that made me think of him or a snap of his dogs that I knew would make him smile. Or a snap of where I was in a strange city wondering what he was doing and sending him positive thoughts.

I discovered Sandboxx bulk prices for 25 letters and that was a real deal (or a steal 😊 ) for me. It is hard to think it is frugal to spend more than a stamp on a letter for some, but I am very happy to pay for the convenience of knowing my letters and pictures are delivered with tracking, and he gets postage paid stationery back to me. It is a wonderful app that made me feel like I was truly communicating with my son.

Lisa – Marine Mom

Sandboxx is a mobile app that enables those in uniform and their families stay connected like never before possible. Servicemembers, veterans, reservists and recruits can use Sandboxx Units to stay in touch with all those they have or will serve with. Sandboxx Letters continues the mission by giving loved ones the ability to send physical mail to those in basic training, boot camp or on deployment. Join the Sandboxx community here.