What to Write to Marine in Boot Camp: Dos and Don’t of Letters to Recruits

Letters from their loved ones are probably the only things most recruits look forward to each day. It keeps them going and lifts their spirits if they’ve had a bad day. Letter writing may not be everyone’s strong suit, especially now when we’re accustomed to Facebook, Twitter, and emails. But if you’ve seen off your son, brother, or husband on the Marine Boot Camp, know that communication will be kind of old-school throughout the time that they are away. So what to write to Marine in Boot Camp?

Get your pencil and paper ready, and get down to writing. In short, write generously, and keep it positive; read on to learn all the dos and don’ts of writing letters to your recruit. Just have a look at what you recruit has to endure below:

Photo by DVIDSHUB from Flickr

Tips On What To Write To Marine In Boot Camp

When a loved one is at the Marine Boot Camp, the primary purpose of a letter is to share your love and support. Don’t let these letters intimidate you even if it’s your first time writing. Anything positive, motivational, funny, or informative is an excellent addition to your message. 

Here are some tips to get you started on your letters to your son, daughter, spouse, boyfriend, or anyone who’s away on a Marine Boot Camp. Once you’ve written and sent away the first few letters, you’ll see that it’ll start coming naturally to you, and writing won’t be a hassle at all.

Keep the letters positive.

An essential element in your letter should be its positivity. You don’t want to make your soldier gloomy or homesick. Distracting them from work by sharing negative thoughts isn’t a good idea at all. Keep your letters positive and skip, including troubling information, as far as possible.

Update them on news that interests them

At the Boot Camp, they might not be receiving much of the news they crave. An update on their favorite sports team, highlights of a match they were looking forward to watching may interest them more than you would realize. You don’t even need to be creative when including these. Just copy all the exciting bits from the local newspaper to add to your letter. 

Happening of the day

Stories from home are always a treat for someone who’s away. They might already be homesick, and these stories will give them something to hold on to until the time they’re back. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary to be included in the letter. Simple happenings that are a part of your routine can be enough to grab the attention of your loved one. What were brothers and sisters fighting over today? Did the baby learn anything new in the last couple of days? Anything new in the garden, have the plants started blooming already? 

Add a joke or two

All they need amidst their strict routine is a simple reason to smile! Including a short joke or two will uplift their mood, especially if their day wasn’t going too good so far. You’ll find plenty of laughs to choose from on the internet. Pick something short and funny, and just copy-paste it to your letter. 

Include pictures with captions

Add a picture or two and add captions at the back so that they know what’s happening. Random photos of the family and pets are great to make their day. However, remember that the envelopes may have to be opened in front of others, so only send appropriate photos. If you are in love with the US Marine Corps, you will love these awe-inspiring gifts for Marines here.

Motivate them

Military recruits need a little motivation to keep them going, sometimes lots of it if they’ve had a tough day. Even if you don’t know what’s going on in their routine, it shouldn’t hurt to add a few motivational words in your letter. Let them know that they will get through this and that they have your support till the end. Include motivational quotes that sound fitting to the situation.  

Here are some big phrases to keep them going:

  • You’re tough!
  • You’ve got this.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I know you’ll do it.
  • You can do it, and you will!
  • Believe in yourself, just like I believe in you.
  • Just be strong.
  • Show them what you’re made of!
  • You’ll get through this.
  • Just a few more days before you’re back home. 

These phrases may not seem important to you, but they can work wonders for your recruit. Short, crisp sentences are easier to remember and repeat for them, especially when they’re going through a tough time. Include a couple of these naturally in your letter to give your recruit a potent weapon to fight off hardships. 

Share your love

Whether it’s your spouse, child, grandchild, or sibling that you’re sending the letter to, “I love you” will never get old. Even if they already know it, sometimes all they want to read is that you love them and you’ve got their back. Be expressive and share your love in a positive tone. “I miss you”, “I can’t spend another day without you,” “Just come back” won’t do! Instead, “I love you,” I’m so proud of you for joining the military” “Your service to the country comes first, but I can’t wait to see you on your graduation day and give you a big bear hug”.   

Include a countdown

You can also include a countdown at the end of each letter. “Halfway there already!” “Just a week to go!” It will keep reminding them that the days will pass, and they’ll be home soon, sharing stories over homemade dinner. Not only will it keep them going, but it will also keep you positive if you’re finding it difficult without your loved one. 

Photo by Don O’Brien from Flickr

Dos and Don’ts for Marine moms

Moms are emotional; they can sometimes get carried away, especially when writing letters. It’s completely natural since no one can love like a mother. However, when a loved one is away, especially on a Marine Boot Camp, it’s better to keep it a little composed. Share only what will keep them positive and motivated. Here are some simple dos and don’t for what to write to Marine in boot camp:

Do send letters regularly. Recruits look forward to their mail every day. It’s something that keeps them going through tough times.Don’t write anything negative. Keep it positive. Depressing letters can distract them from their duties. 
Do include everything that makes the letter interesting to your son or daughter – a cutting from their favorite comic section in the newspaper, an exciting update on the local happening. Don’t include sentences that will make them homesick. Saying, “You missed this,” and “Everyone was there except you” might not create too much of a positive impact. 
Do express your support. Tell them that they have your love and support no matter what. Tell them that they have your back in everything they do. Let them know that joining the military was a great decision, and you support it. Don’t overstress on missing them. Saying “I miss you” is alright, but don’t dwell on it. Also, accompany it with stuff like, “Your work comes first,” “Don’t worry about home; everything is excellent here.” Make sure that your recruit understands that they can focus on their work.
Do keep them posted about everyone in the family, but again, only positive information. “Your sister got an interview call today, let’s see what happens”. “Dad is busy with that new project”. Don’t write anything on the envelope. The envelope may pass through multiple hands before reaching your son/daughter. Stickers or notes on the outside of the envelope may embarrass the recruit in front of their colleagues. 
Do encourage others to send letters too. The recruit will also love hearing from other members of the family and friends. Don’t force them to send replies to your letters. Let them know that you understand they are busy, and it’s okay if they don’t send a response to each letter. 


What’s most important is that your loved one gets a positive letter from back home every once in a while. You don’t have to be big on words to be able to send them your love. By now, you’ll hopefully have enough ideas about what to write to Marine in boot camp. So what are you waiting for? Get busy writing. Your Marine may already be waiting impatiently to hear from you. 

Once you’re through with a couple of letters, you’ll find yourself more confident with words. It will come naturally to you, and you’ll see that writing letters aren’t that big of a deal, after all! It’s soon going to be their graduation time and here you can also find an awesome gift for your Marine graduating boot camp

Thank you for reading this. I would love to hear from you, and although I tried to cover everything, please feel free to comment if I’ve missed anything. I would like this to become a resource for everyone who has a loved one in the boot camp.

Featured image by Autum from Flickr

5 thoughts on “What to Write to Marine in Boot Camp: Dos and Don’t of Letters to Recruits

  1. Christine Muehe says:

    Thank you so much. My son leaves in 3 months for bootcamp. I’m trying to learn as much as I can to prepare myself for how to handle it. Thanks again. I appreciate the helpful advice.

  2. Desiree says:

    Thank you my daughter leaves for boot camp on Feb 6 . This will help so much .

  3. Maureen Bozek says:

    Thank you so much for this information!! My son leaves to San Diego for boot camp August 1st, 2023! I’m kind of a wreck!! I want to do everything right! Do you have any suggestions for stationary? Thanks again for this useful knowledge when our brains are quite over come with sadness! It helps!

    • James says:

      Don’t worry. Everything is going to work out well.
      For the stationary, I’d recommend customizable stationary sets from Amazon. These would make for a wonderful gift that is practical.

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