Mail and Packages During Boot Camp
Before mail reaches recruits, Marine postal clerks work tirelessly Monday through Saturday to get it sorted and ensure it is delivered to recruits in training the same day. To ensure recruit mail arrives in a timely manner, Marine postal clerks stress the importance proper packaging and providing an address that includes the recruit's full name, his or her full unit name, a post office box, and a return address.
—USMC photos by Corporal David Bessey, 2014.
Obtaining your Marine's mailing address
You may begin writing to your recruit as soon as you receive his/her address. You may receive the address in one of three ways:
- From his/her Recruiter
- From the form letter your recruit will send you from MCRD, or
- From Sandboxx, a for-profit company, as a text message.
When you get your recruit's platoon number and address from one of these three sources, you can start sending letters.
It is always possible that a platoon number or address may change. Accept that as a possibility and start writing to your recruit.
Though your recruit may move from one location to another during boot camp, you will always use the same mailing address for him or her (see the text box below for exceptions).
The first letter you receive from your recruit will be a form letter. This letter should arrive in your mail box in approximately 10-14 days after they leave. The form letter should include your recruit's mailing address.
Click here to see a sample boot camp address from an official USMC website. The published addresses are subject to change and are intended as a guide only. Please use the address that your recruit sends you.
If you do not get the form letter in 10-14 days of your recruit's departure, contact his or her recruiter. The recruiter should be able to provide you with your recruit's mailing address and platoon number. If you have to contact the recruiter, ask him or her to pull up your recruit on the Marine Online Locator (MOL).
NOTE: Recruits can ask that mailing addresses not be given out, including to family members. Though this is rare, the recruiter, must honor this request.
NO CARE PACKAGES
Please, resist sending anything but letters. While you may be tempted to send additional items, your Recruit will thank you for not sending anything else. Unless you are specifically asked to send something to your recruit, don't do it.
Addressing Your Letters
Address your letters to "Rct. Last name, First name." Your son or daughter is NOT a Marine yet. DO NOT put any other rank other than Rct.—which means "Recruit"—and refer to him or her as such when addressing the envelope. Doing otherwise will cause unnecessary attention at mail call and you don't want to do that. Do NOT put your recruit's social security number on the envelope.
Mail From Your Recruit
For information regarding mail and letters from recruits, please click here...
Mail arrives at the Recruit Depot Monday through Saturday. Depending on the training schedule, there may be a few days delay getting the mail into you recruit's hand, with the posssibly of further delays in your recruit having an opportunity to open and read his or her mail. Don't despair, as training comes first. Your recruit's mail will never be held for disciplinary reasons.
Write Motivational Letters to Your Recruit
Your Recruit may be homesick. Very, very homesick. Write lots of letters and then write some more. Keep them upbeat. Send a small photo or two. DO NOT decorate the outside of the envelope with drawings, stickers, or write any text other than the address and your return address (and no spritz of perfume either). This will cause unnecessary attention from the Drill Instructor during mail call.
Exceptions to Mailing Addresses
- PCP: Physical Conditioning Platooon
- MRP: Medical Rehabilitation Platoon
Though your recruit may move from one location to another during boot camp, you will always use the same mailing address for him or her.
The first exception to this rule would be if your recruit is assigned to the Physical Conditioning Platoon (PCP), his or her address will be the PCP until assigned to a regular platoon.
The second exception to this rule would be if your recruit is sent to the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon (MRP) for an extended period. MRP is for recruits who become wounded, ill, or injured.
Getting ready to write your recruit? See what "Gunny Says..." about letters to recruits below. He has critical tidbits to share and you'll be glad you had the opportunity to absorb his input before you pick up a pen.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have been a nation at war for almost eight years; most of your sons and daughters were in elementary school during the September 11th attacks. With that being said, I commend you as parents for supporting your son's (or daughter's) decision to become a United States Marine.
But, after all, it is HIS decision that brought him here. As parents, the "support" you give is often counterproductive to your recruit. Recruit training is an institution with rules, structure, and discipline. COMMITMENT is what it takes to complete recruit training. Intestinal fortitude. Drive. And focus.
Letters are the best way to show support for your recruit. Not junk food, not birthday presents, not gag gifts. But in those letters please ensure you convey the right message: You support his decision, he CAN and WILL get through it, and, as a man, must accomplish his goal of becoming a United States Marine.
Do NOT emphasize that "you always have a home to come back to" or "we'll still love you even if you don't make it" because failure is NOT an option. Am I saying to kick them out of house and home if they don't succeed? No. I'm saying redirection is a better support tool than empathy.
The focus of your letters should be about his training, his challenges, the friends he's made, his goals in training, etc. Do NOT ramble on about everything he's missing. It will only make him miss it more. Do NOT dwell on the "hardship" he's going through. Focus on the quantifiable aspects of recruit training. You can pick those up in his letters.
Emotions will run high. He will have his ups and downs. Simply take note, redirect, and carry on smartly.
Your sons are the next generation of war fighters VOLUNTEERING to defend our nation, and others, in this age of terrorism and oppression across the world. They will become tougher, both in body and mind, as training progresses. Expect it. Welcome it. Revel in it.
Marines are Marines because we are ALL basic rifleman, regardless of our contracts, religious beliefs, or upbringing, capable of fighting in every clime and place where we can take a gun. It's our legacy as warriors first that separates us from every other branch of service in the world.
Make no mistake about it; your sons and daughters are the future of this nation. Treat every letter you write like communist propaganda. Think very carefully what you WANT to convey, then proof read to make sure it's the message you ARE conveying.
-United States Marine and Series Gunnery Sergeant, 2009