Writing to your Trainee

Writing Ideas
Ideas for letter writing to military personnel.

Writing to your trainee while in basic training can serve as a lifeline, connecting recruits to their support systems during a time of intense transformation. Each letter becomes a cherished thread of communication, weaving through the rigors of training and offering a glimpse of familiarity amidst the unfamiliarity of military life. For the sender, the act of putting pen to paper is a cathartic release, a way to process the pride the sender feels for their loved one away at training as well as the challenges of their physical absence. For the recipient, receiving those letters is like winning the lottery: a letter in basic training provides a sense of pride and purpose. Through hand-written letters, bonds are strengthened and distances bridged; the journey through basic training becomes not just a solitary endeavor, but a shared experience between those back home and those marching forward in uniform.

The writing ideas mentioned below were put together by a series of Air Force mothers over several years of writing to their trainees. I hope you find encouragement through these ideas for your letter-writing journey. I know I’ve become a sort of ‘letter-writing enthusiast;’ my friends love receiving my letters, as do many other military mamas out there.

Questionnaire: These are the easiest to prepare and send! Simply send questions you are super curious about.

  1. Today is week_______ (date).
  2. I love the weather. TRUE FALSE
  3. In our bunk, I sleep on the (circle one) TOP BOTTOM
  4. My number locker is ____. My bunk number is ____.
  5. My bunkmate’s name is_______________.
  6. My bed is made so tight that the quarter hits the ceiling. TRUE FALSE

**Keep in mind that you should only ask approximately 10 questions because your trainee’s day is jam-packed and they most likely don’t have time to complete a lengthy questionnaire.

Run-On Letter: Want to crack a smile from your trainee? Forget the rules, just write, and write with only commas to separate your thoughts, or use no punctuation at all!

Writing Idea Run On Letter
Example of a Run On Letter

Jokes: A chuckle a day keeps the training blues away! Add a few jokes in your letters to keep you smiling as well as your trainee.

Spiral Letter: Around and around and around we go! Don’t have time for the handmade version? Some websites can do the hard work for you. Just search for them on Google!

Spiral Letter Writing Idea
Example of a Spiral Letter

Letters from pets: Our pets miss their trainee a whole bunch too – their pup, goldfish, or even gerbil! Why not write a letter as if it is from their pet? This is a guaranteed reminder of all the love back home. Don’t forget to include a picture.

Hand-Drawn Pictures: If your trainee has siblings at home, include them in the letter-writing marathon. Ask them to draw pictures that remind them of their big brother/sister. These are as needed as an actual hug from home.

Say it with pictures: They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Say It With Pics
Say It With Pics

These are just a few fun ideas to help you on your letter-writing adventure to your trainee. I must admit, my son’s favorite letters were those where I wrote to him as if I was speaking to him: I told him about my day-to-day activities (and added a little pun here and there), the weather (they do not have access to the internet), and activities going on in your town (new festivals in our area or restaurants), and most importantly, tell them how much you love and care for them. Remain upbeat and remember that they are likely missing you just as much as you are missing them while they are training.


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