Recruit Mail – Prohibited Items

Each week, parents, families and friends send 100′s of letters from the Sandboxx app to recruits at basic training and boot camp. Here is a list from the USMC of what not to send. Let us know if you think there is anything missing from this list.

What not to send:

  • Medication of any kind (prescription or nonprescription). This includes common over-the-counter medicine like aspirin, cough drops and topical creams. (All necessary medications will be prescribed by medical personnel during recruit training.)
  • Vitamins, minerals and bulk-sized protein- or carbohydrate-based supplements. (Exception: individually wrapped, shelf-stable, single-portion-sized, protein- or carbohydrate-based supplements, such as energy bars or gels, are permitted. However, they either must be consumed during free time on the date received or stored as community property for recruits to consume at a later date immediately following physical training events.)
  • Tobacco products or paraphernalia
  • Any alcoholic or intoxicating substances, including alcoholic drinks, mouthwash, cough medicine and all performance enhancing supplements.
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Combustibles, matches, lighters, or any flammable materials
  • Gum
  • Weapons
  • Ammunition
  • Gambling devices (including playing cards and dice)
  • Hygiene products, toiletries
  • Pornographic materials
  • Prophylactics (condoms)
  • Magazines and newspapers (with the exception of recruiter handouts and religious material)
  • Subversive literature
  • All electrical or battery-operated devices must have batteries removed (except for watches).
  • Any items already prohibited by the U.S. Postal Service or shipping companies.

Note: Drill instructors or training staff may also prohibit other items not listed that they deem inappropriate. If you are sending food, recruits will only be allowed to keep it after one day if it is in sealed packets such as nutrition bars.

Send mail straight from your phone with the Sandboxx app. We’ll also include a stamped, addressed return envelope with writing paper so that your recruit can reply faster.

How the World Commemorated D-Day

The 71st Anniversary of the Normandy landings took place this Saturday, June 6th.

On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British).

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The number of American casualties has risen in recent years following more accurate research from the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation. They have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have verified 2,499 American D-Day fatalities and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413 dead (much higher than the traditional figure of 2,500 dead).

So how did the world commemorate the brave soldiers who took down Hitler’s Nazi forces?

Europe

Around 150 British veterans gathered in Normandy to commemorate the D-day landings.

Former services personnel, now in their late 80s and 90s, crossed the Channel to return to the beaches, cemeteries and villages of northern France.

Former troops attended a Royal British Legion-organised service at Bayeux cathedral on Saturday, where they were told by the Rev Patrick Irwin, the Royal British Legion chaplain to Normandy: “Your historic achievements will remain as one of the defining moments in the history of the last century.”

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United States

Here at home, many memorials took place across the country. One of the largest commemorations took place in Bedford, VA.

In 1944, the town of Bedford, then about 3,200 residents, suffered the nation’s most severe D-day losses relative to the size of the town.

In 1996, Congress warranted the establishment of a National D-day Memorial in Bedford; after significant planning and fundraising, it was dedicated June 6, 2001, by President George W. Bush.

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Canada

“They’re old men now, those few who survive — men who stormed ashore on Juno Beach, 71 years ago amid a clatter of enemy machine gun fire and the roar of 88-mm artillery shells,” said George McLellan, past president of Allan MacDonald Memorial branch 15 Royal Canadian Legion in New Waterford.

“But not all who took part in D-Day would live to grow old, become grandfathers and look back on a victory vital to the overthrow of Nazi Germany.”

McLellan said Canadians have an obligation to mark the anniversary of D-Day.

This they did in ceremonies across Canada. Below, Royal Navy veteran Denis Garrod, 89, salutes during a D-Day Service on Friday June 5, 2015 at Confederation Square in Peterborough, Ont.

Top 5 Tips for a Smooth Permanent Change of Station Transition

Molly Hassenfratz, military wife, full-time professional and expecting mother

20170214_101122Summertime – it’s one of the busiest
Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
times of the year. There are plenty of stories and tips to go around on how to
survive, and if your military family has experienced even one PCS I’m sure you’ve experienced some form of the good, the bad and the ugly that it
brings.

 

I’m currently in the midst of my
5th PCS in nine years, but this one is a bit different as I’m
pregnant, my husband is out to sea and I’m still working full-time.  Based on this extra chaotic PCS experience, I
would like to share with you five priorities that I have identified in order to
keep my head above water, my hair attached to my head and my wine fridge from
depleting (ok, well this isn’t too hard since I’m pregnant, but if I wasn’t
this might be different):

1)     Embrace
Organized Chaos:
No
matter how organized one can be (and many know just how organized I am) when it
comes to PCS-ing, there is always some form of chaos. My advice? Just embrace
it because it’s not going away.  The best thing I’ve learned to do is make
lists
. As you keep crossing to-dos off, more will be added but having a
list will keep it manageable. In fact, make 2 lists – to-dos for your current
location and to-dos for your new location.

2) 
Wait, What? You’re Having a Baby
While Moving?!?! Que Sera, Sera
– I’ll be 36 weeks pregnant when we officially make the move from
Connecticut to Virginia.  Not the best
timing especially as I don’t want to deliver a baby on I-95 in the midst of
summer beach traffic. Despite the headaches I’ve been dealing with in switching
medical coverage, I’ve come to the realization that what will be will be. It’ll
work out some way some how. This surely isn’t the first time a military spouse
has moved while pregnant. What I have decided as we get closer to both moving
day and my due date simultaneously, is that I won’t be taking NO for an answer
from my new health providers. I’m not going to settle for, “you need to have an
intake appointment” or “it’ll be three week before we can’t get you in for an
appointment”. “YES, you will,” will be my response because surely no one is
really going to want to deal with a 9-month pregnant lady and her raging
hormones – are they?!

3)
Hello…..Husband?: Have you ever PCS’d or planned one
when your husband is deployed or underway? I’ve done both, and this, of course,
adds additional stress. One key tip for getting through this while on your own
is to have multiple Powers of Attorneys (POA). It’s helpful to have special POA
if you are handling the household goods (HHGs), securing a rental property or
renting your own property for specific financial matters and more. Another tip,
figure out your game plan before your
spouse leaves
. This way, if you aren’t able to be in communication you have
already made key decisions.  Of course,
road bumps may pop up along the way, but if you have an initial plan this will
help guide you. While I have mainly made all the important decisions with this
PCS, Sandboxx has allowed me to share each big step with my husband as easily
as a text message, especially since carving out time to bring a letter to the
post office is just not fathomable at this point!

4)  
Finding
a Rental 101 – Prioritize:
If you don’t choose to live on base, finding a
rental property that meets all of your needs can be quite challenging. Some of
my favorite sites to search for rentals are militarybyowner.com and ahrn.com. My best advice here is to
PRIORITIZE. Figure out what is the most important and what you can potentially
live without. Remember, it’s a rental, not your life-long dream house. For us,
the biggest priority is location. We don’t want to be too far out, yet not so
close that it doesn’t feel like an escape when my husband comes home. The
second priority is a rental that accepts our pet pony 1-year-old 90 lb.
Bernese Mountain Dog. Having a garage and/or fenced-in backyard rounds out our
top priorities. But beware, rentals can go quickly (as I
have learned in just the past three weeks), so try not to set your heart on any
one in particular. Instead, have a solid list of choices that are all at least
acceptable. Remember to do your research and try to see it in person, as we all
know pictures and descriptions can be deceiving. Finally, be flexible and
prepared to pounce on a property when the opportunity presents itself.

5)  
“Dog-Gone” It! When it comes to moving with a pet, DO YOUR RESEARCH.  If you need to fly your animal, check with
the airline to see what the restrictions
and policies are
.
The size of the animal makes a huge difference when it comes to flying, as some
plane cargo doors aren’t large enough for a dog crate to get through (i.e.: we
had a German Shepherd whose crate was the size of a NYC apartment – he had to
fly out of a major city due to his crate size.) If you anticipate you may be
heading overseas, check out quarantine
policies
in
advance. Even if you don’t have orders yet but there is a possibility, get the
process started. This will save you time and save you from having to arrange a
place for your pet to stay until they’re able to travel without being
quarantined. Just remember, as hard as a move is on you, it can be just as hard
on your pet who is used to a certain routine.

PCS can be emotionally and
physically draining for any military family, especially with a loved one away
on duty. Sandboxx can keep you connected to your loved ones in times when
family support is most important. Click
here
to
learn how to use Sandboxx to send a physical letter with the click of a button
on your iPhone.

Molly
Hassenfratz is busy preparing for her upcoming move to Virginia, with her
husband of nine years, Karl, and their Bernese Mountain Dog, Bogart. She also
works remotely in the hospitality industry for a Resort Casino out of Reno, NV.
They have previously been stationed in Annapolis, MD; Charleston, SC; Pearl
Harbor, HI; Monterey, CA; and Groton, CT. They are expecting their first child
this July and excited for all the new adventures that await.  

5 Basic Training Fitness Tips from an Armed Forces Boxing Champ

James “Spider” Webb is a three time All-Army and Armed Forces Boxing Champion, 2000 Olympics Alternate and Former World-Ranked Pro with a record of 22 wins, 3 losses and 20 knock-outs.

James “Spider” Webb

When it comes to fitness training and motivation, James has shown repeatedly that he walks the walk. Team Sandboxx asked him for his top five fitness and motivation tips for those of you preparing for boot camp.

1. Crawl before you walk
Getting into shape doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t start off like you’re training for the Olympics. For example, if you are just starting to run or jog. Start off jogging until out of breath, then walk at a semi brisk pace. Once you can breath again start jogging and repeat. Eventually you will make it further and further; then you will complete the whole run without walking and work on getting your time down.

2. The early bird gets the worm
James found it best to jog first thing in the morning because your stomach is empty meaning that there will be less chance of cramps. Getting up and getting the heart pumping usually gives you more energy throughout the day. The most important thing is that it’s done and out of the way. The old saying of “I’ll do it later”, usually means that you won’t do it later. You should also get into the habit of knocking out a few sets off push ups and set ups after your jog. After your training you should stretch to cut down on soreness and injuries.

3. Consistency
Consistency is key. If you start then stop every few weeks, you are fighting a losing battle. Get a schedule and stick to it!

4. Discipline
Discipline and consistency are tightly tied together. Discipline is the key to all aspects of life. Military life requires even more discipline, so start to build it now. Set that alarm clock and get up. There is an old commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts, where the baker gets up through all circumstances and says “time to make the donuts”. James said that he tells himself that every morning. You have to find whatever motivation works for you.

5. Attitude
Your attitude determines your altitude – having a positive attitude toward your fitness goals makes it a lot easier. You’re already having to get up early and deal with soreness, so why make it worse with a bad attitude? In life your attitude towards everything will determine the outcome, so be positive, be strong and get fit.

For more advice, and to keep in touch with family and friends when at boot camp or deployed, download the Sandboxx app free.

 

10 Final Tips Before Taking The ASVAB

So you’re about to take the ASVAB and you want to do really well. To make sure that you nail the exam, we have put together a last minute ASVAB exam technique guide.

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1. The Day Before the
Exam

If you are feeling nervous or worried the day
before the exam, meet up with friends or work out. It’s important to get a good
night’s sleep before the exam so that you’ll have a clear head and give
yourself the best chance of getting good results.

2. Know where you’re
going

Make sure to arrive at the exam hall well before
the exam. You do not need the unnecessary stress of getting delayed in traffic
or not being able to find the exam location. If possible, visit the location in
advance so that you can concentrate on your exam on the day. Obviously if you
are sitting the exam at your school this will not be a issue.

3. Ask Questions

Follow the instructions of the invigilators. If you
are uncertain of anything, do not be afraid to ask questions. They are there to
help you.

4. Know which exam
format you’re taking

As you probably know, the ASVAB can be taken in a
pencil or computer format. The format you are taking will depend on the
location of your exam. Each of these exams requires a different strategy and
has different rules.

Advice for the Pen and Paper (P&P) ASVAB

· You can skip questions and return to them with the
P&P exam. If you find a question particularly difficult, skip it and come
back to it at the end.

· If you run out of time, guess the remainder of the
questions.

· Make sure you completely erase incorrect answers
and only mark one answer.

· Throughout the exam, make sure that you are
answering the correct question. Unfortunately there are always a handful of
people who get to the end of the exam and realise they skipped a question and
have been filling the wrong answers.

Advice for the Computer
(CAT) ASVAB

· Once you have answered a question, you are not
allowed to return to that question again. Make sure that you answer it
correctly.

· The computer-based test uses adaptive testing. This
means that if you answer a question correctly then the next question is more
difficult. If you answer a question incorrectly then the next question is
easier. Just answer the question and don’t worry if it seems more difficult or
easier.

5. Read the questions

Once you sit down to
take the exam, read and listen to the instructions carefully. These will differ
depending on the type of the exam. With the CAT ASVAB for example, the keyboard
will have only a few keys that you need to use. Pressing an invalid key may disqualify your results and you may have to
return another day to resit the exam.

6.
Guess

Since
points are not deducted for incorrect answers – guess, but make an educational
guess. When taking a P&P format test, read through the questions, first,
and then answer the ones that are easiest for you, first. If there is time
remaining for the tougher questions, you should guess. With the CAT-ASVAB you
only get one question at a time, so you can’t leave the tougher questions to
guess at the end.

Some
tips on how guess with the best chance of success:

· Eliminate answers that are obviously wrong.

· If you can’t eliminate any answers, then always
guess the same letter. Statistically this will increase the probably of
guessing correctly.

7. Time

You
should know how long to spend on each question before going into the exam. Bring
a watch with you and make sure that you do not spend too much time on any
individual question.

If
there is time remaining at the end of the exam review your answers. You will
not be allowed leave a P&P ASVAB until everyone has finished.

8.
Focus on your own Exam

Don’t waste any time
and energy looking to see what others are doing. People often get worried that
others have 5 questions answered while you are finishing your second. Eyes down
and stick to your strategy. You want your complete focus and attention on your
exam.

9.
Don’t look back

Once you finish a
question, just concentrate on the next one. This is easier to do with the
CAT-ASVAB because you can’t return to a question that you have answered. Don’t
waste any time wondering if it was right or wrong – your attention will be
better spent trying to get this one correct.

10.
Don’t Stress

You can re-sit the ASVAB
if you don’t get the score that you need. Although it’s better to get it done
the first time, it is not the end of the world if something goes wrong on the
day. Everyone will think the worst after the exam. Like one recruit said , “I took my ASVAB
a few weeks ago and was freaking out.  I didn’t even want to open my
scores till my recruiter made me open it, I was surprised on how well I
did. ” Use the nervous energy and adrenaline to your advantage.

Best of luck from Team
Sandboxx
!

 

Sandboxx is the military
app for service members, their families and friends. It was founded by two
veterans – Major General Ray Smith & Sgt. Sam Meek. Download Sandboxx here.

Serving From the Homefront

Aliyah Meehan, Director of Family Affairs

Heroes come in many forms. To some, it’s in the form of a fictional character in a movie or comic book; to others it’s their favorite sports player. To my children, their hero is their Dad. When they were little, my daughter would ask, “Did you have to wear a cape today Daddy?”

He proudly wears the uniform of a United States service member. I have witnessed him doing so since we were teenagers. The thought still brings tears to my eyes. His job? To protect and serve our great country.

Service members like my husband are often what we think of when we picture a military hero, but our military would not be what it is today without the millions of behind-the-scene heroes. These people, despite the lack of a cape or formal uniform, graciously give back to our nation through donations, community service and kind words of encouragement to our troops.

Military Spouses

I am one of over 650,000 military spouses in the United States. While we may not be on the front lines, as a community we are always doing what we can to support our troops. There are truly endless opportunities for a military spouse to get involved. Online support groups, neighbors helping neighbors, holiday ‘get togethers’, organizations and celebrating each other’s lives are all reasons why being part of the military lifestyle is so fulfilling! My advice to any new military spouse is to find the group that is of most interest to them and really get involved. Not only have I been able to give back through being involved with our Unit Families and Exceptional Family Member Programs, I’ve made lifelong friends in the process. Not to mention, these groups were part of my awesome support system when my husband was gone for long periods of time.

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As a military spouse, I am thankful for all the opportunities I have to serve my country in my own way, but as I mentioned, these quiet heroes can be anyone. That’s why I’m sharing some ways for ALL members of the community to serve our troops from the homefront.  

Businesses

It’s widely known that big corporations like United Airlines, Coca-Cola and the NFL are major supporters of the military.  One of my personal favorite corporate support programs is Bank of America’s Military Spouse Program. But your company doesn’t have to be a big multi-million dollar business to give back. If you own a business of your own, think about ways that you can get your employees or customers to give back. What about a percentage-off night at your restaurant where proceeds go to The Navy Relief Society or Red Cross? Or better yet, volunteer some hours or hold an event with a great military organizing such as Hope for the Warriors or Wounded Warriors. Ultimately, no matter how big or small, all contributions are appreciated and acknowledged within our community.

Any Patriot 

Want to give back individually? There really are hundreds of ways to support the military, veterans and their families. While donating money is often the go-to method, I would suggest getting more involved and taking a hands-on approach. Below are some of my favorite organizations to get involved in:

• Armed Services Blood Program – Donate blood that will be sent to areas of need around the world.

• The Walter Reed Society – This organization helps provide for the needs of many returning injured service members and their families.

• Soldiers’ Angels – Support group that aids wounded soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, and phone calls, etc.

• Operation Child Care – Provides childcare services for the families of Reserve and National Guard members.

Finally, simple words of encouragement to men and women serving overseas is hands down the best and easiest way to support our troops and serve from the homefront. Mail Call is still the highest source of morale for our troops who are away from home and a simple thank you can brighten any service member’s day and never goes unappreciated.

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Sandboxx allows you to send service members a physical letter as easily as you
would send a text message. No paper, no stamps and no trips to the post office. Don’t know anyone in the military? We’ve got you covered there too. Simply choose to “Send a Letter” and we will send your message to a service member in need of encouragement. Have other ideas and suggestions about how to serve on the homefront? Let’s continue the conversation on

Twitter @Sandboxx

To all who give back and support our troops daily, we thank you!

Aliyah

Sandboxx & Boatbound Partner to get Veterans out on the Water for Memorial Day

Team Sandboxx are delighted to partner with Boatbound in order to provide Veterans with some time on the water in California & Florida on Memorial Day. All you have to do is download the Sandboxx app and let us what location you would like to go boating in. Happy Sailing!

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More Details:

Sandboxx, a first of its kind comprehensive communications and lifestyle platform for our active military, veterans and their friends and families today launched an exclusive partnership with Boatbound, the nation’s fastest growing peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace in the United States, to celebrate our Veterans this Memorial Day, with a complimentary day of boating.

With Memorial Day on the horizon, it is a great opportunity to thank the men and women who have served our country. There are currently 23 million living veterans. And for the first time, through Sandboxx, these vets, are able to reconnect with their peers. Sandboxx’s partnership with Boatbound will enable Veterans to not only reconnect after decades, but will also provide them the opportunity to do so aboard a beautiful boat.

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“We at Sandboxx are excited to partner with the folks at Boatbound in what we hope will be the first of many future Memorial Day events to get our service members and their families out on the water. Boatbound offers a fantastic platform for boat owners around the country to participate in giving back to our service members.” said Sam Meek, Marine Corps Veteran and Founder of Sandboxx.

“Memorial Day weekend kicks off the busy summer boating season, and we wanted to start off by honoring our military men and women.” Boatbound’s community of owners are donating their time and vessels to join us in paying tribute to our Veterans.

Through our Memorial Day promotion, Sandboxx members will receive access to a complimentary day on the water aboard participating boats in San Francisco and Miami.

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“We are passionate about growing the boating community and supporting our Veterans through Boatbound and could not think of a better partner than Sandboxx to make it happen. As we continue to expand the Boatbound brand, we believe in honoring and celebrating those who made our seas safe to enjoy.” said Aaron Hall, Founder of Boatbound.

Registering on Boatbound is free for both boat owners and renters. Boatbound allows boat owners to rent their boat to pre-screen, qualified renters, helping offset the cost of boat ownership. Boat owners decide who can rent their boat and they also set the price and availability of the rental. Renters can find any type of boat, rigged the way they want it, at any price, anywhere in the United States.

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TOP 5 REASONS I LOVE MY MILITARY SPOUSE

Herrick Ross, Marine Corps Veteran

In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, May 8th, we asked Herrick Ross, a member of Team Sandboxx and 22-year Marine Corps veteran to share the top five reasons why he loves his military spouse. We recommend you grab a tissue…. 🙂

Being a military spouse is by no means a task for the faint hearted. For all the training that service members do, there is no specialized training to prepare the spouse for what’s to come. However, they are tested every day that their service member is on active duty. While some may rise to the challenge faster than others, there is no doubt that regardless of generation or military service, each military spouse is considered a force multiplier for their service member.

My military spouse and I met while I was trying to recruit her to join the Marine Corps. She said no and that was the beginning of my sales pitch. I dazzled her with my Marine Corps Dress Blues and when she allowed me to escort her to a Marine Corps Ball in Atlanta Georgia, she was sold. The power of the uniform swayed her to commit, however it is the fellowship with the military community that convinced her to stay. A seasoned spouse would tell anyone looking to join the military spouses club to be ready for some very hard times like deployments, career stagnation and worldwide travel. If you are able to handle these factors, you will be truly rewarded by your service member with gratitude and support beyond any like you’ve experienced before. It is for that very reason that I’ve fashioned the top five reasons I love my military spouse.

Number 5:  She looks AMAZING in a ball gown and still captures my breath with her eyes.

Number 4:  She does not get offended when I add hot sauce to my dinner because she understands that years of eating MREs has given me an acquired tastes for the spicy stuff.

Number 3:  She has given me two retirement plans called daughters and shows them by example how a strong woman can be a wife, mother and independent.

Number 2:  She’s great with my finances because every toy I want, she finds us a way to get it….yeah 65inch LED smart TV.

Number 1: No matter where on Earth I may be deployed, I know she’s there when I get back. She’s where I call home.

I love my military spouse and even though she’s not in uniform, she is my Commander in Chief.

About Herrick

Herrick Ross is a 22-year veteran of the Marine Corps and currently resides in the DC region.  He and his wife have been Married 13 years.

Feeling the love? Let’s continue the conversation! Share all the reasons why you love your military spouse on Sandboxx today.

Growing up Military – A Look into the Life of a Military Child

We all know the saying – “you never really know someone until you’ve walked a day in their shoes. This proverb might ring most true to the child born into a military family. The unique experiences of a military child are incomparable to the average American childhood. Since April is the official Month of the Military Child, we decided to sit down with Grace and Macy Rupp to learn about their experiences growing up as the child of Colonel Rupp, a recently retired F/18 Marine Corps Fighter Pilot and siblings to Liz, a 1st Lt. in the Army.

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What is most people’s reaction when you tell them about your childhood?

Grace: Whenever people realize that I am a child of a service member their first questions usually revolve around moving. By the time I graduated high school my family had moved across the country eight times (honestly a small number of moves compared to most military families). For the majority of my life I have lived in San Diego, Japan, Annapolis, Washington DC and now Scotland. Looking back on all the moves, I would love to say that each one got easier or that I grew accustomed to saying goodbye to friends and family, but in actuality, as I got older it seemed to get harder. With that being said, however, moving exposed me to parts and peoples of the United States and world that I might not have ever been able to see or experience.

What was it like moving so often and how did you adjust?

Macy: My family and I met plenty of challenges moving around and when my dad would deploy, but I’m now so thankful for the experiences I had. Deployments and moves are often an inevitable part of military life. You never really “get used to it” because every move is different, no matter where you go. I found moving more difficult the older I got. The older you are, the more intimate friendships you are able to form, making moving more and more difficult. I got used to boxes and moving trucks, sure. But I never got used to saying goodbye to friends.

Have you remained friends with the people you’ve met along the way?

Macy: My friends and I were able to stay close thanks to email and phone calls, as well as snail mail. I have to say, receiving hand written letters from 3000 miles away is awesome and super artsy, so my friends and I still write letters to each other. Staying in touch can be difficult, but now with social media, it’s pretty easy. And Sandboxx makes it really convenient to stay in touch with family and friends who are active service members, like my sister Liz.

How did you stay in touch with your Dad when he was deployed?

Grace: I would love to sugar coat deployment but it doesn’t get easier, you only get used to it. When my dad was gone, really no matter the location, we were limited to weekly phone calls and emails, if that, and the seemingly non-existent and ever lagging use of video teleconferencing. New technologies obviously make life easier to communicate with those who are off the grid, but daily life gets in the way on both ends. That’s what makes Sandboxx different. You can send a letter straight from your phone no matter where you are or the time of day. Ultimately though, getting through the length and number of days can seem like pulling teeth, but keep going and stay busy. Distractions made life significantly easier.

How did you cope with the difficulties of a chaotic lifestyle, and what advice do you have for other kids with the same situation?

Grace: Life goes on even when your loved one is away, so keep doing the things you love to do – my mom was excellent at keeping my sisters and I busy with dance lessons, sports practices, chasing after our new puppy and just being kids. The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for families during deployments, but keep celebrating and be grateful for your family members that are with you! For me, enjoying the small moments with my family – driving and singing in the car, countless family dinners and simply being around each other – has been far more meaningful and memorable than any holiday. I would recommend cherishing the time you do have together, whatever the circumstance, instead of holding onto holidays past.

Macy: Middle school was definitely one of the hardest times in my life. Kids were mean to me, simply because I was new. It took me a really long time to figure out why they were so mean to me, and it wasn’t really until high school that I figured it out. Kids were  really just mean because I was wise beyond my years and had more life experiences. They had lived in the same house and had the same friends their entire lives. As a military child I got to grow up traveling across the US and even outside of North America. If you’re also a military child, my advice to you is this: you’ve had experiences that most people in the world have not and ultimately won’t. That means that you have a special set of beliefs and strengths that set you apart from others. These qualities make you awesome. Accept that and embrace it!

Have a deployed Father, Mother, Sibling or Friend?

Stay in touch with your deployed loved ones through Sandboxx! Our Mailboxx feature allows you to communicate and send letters to service members off the grid as easy as you would send a text. Click here to see how it works!

We want to wish a happy Month of the Military Child to all the sons and daughters of America’s service members. We want you to know that we all appreciate your sacrifices and service to our nation. You have the love and support of the entire military community.

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“Sometimes people leave you, half way through the wood. Do not let it grieve you, no one leaves for good. You are not alone. No one is alone.” – Into the Woods

About Macy and Grace Rupp

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Macy Margaret Rupp is originally from San Diego, California. She currently attends Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. When she’s not busy doing homework, you can find her playing the guitar, taking care of her family pets or designing lighting schemes for live theatre and concerts.

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Grace Rupp is a student of International Relations at the University of St Andrews Scotland. When she isn’t reading or writing, she spends most of her time planning her next travel-filled holiday, volunteering or teaching ballet. Time spent away from university largely includes enjoying the sights and sounds of Washington DC, teaching more ballet and loving every minute with her family, friends and pets.