Do troops enjoy getting mail from strangers while deployed?

From church congregation to school children, hundreds of letters make their way to the Middle East each day

Do troops enjoy getting mail from strangers while deployed?

Service members assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah unload care packages and Christmas gifts during mail call on Forward Operating Base Farah, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Matthew Stroup)

By Military1 Staff

A question recently posted on Quora asks: “Do troops enjoy getting mail from strangers while deployed?” Check out the answers below and add your own in the comments.

Bacil Donovan Warren, U.S. Army veteran

I’ll echo a common theme here: care packages from anyone, random stranger or friend or family, were greatly appreciated. Sending a care package to deployed soldiers is not as innocent as it used to be, however, so before trying to do so I would contact a local military PR/outreach officer to get clarification on what can and can’t be sent, and exactly how to address them.

For my part, I still have every letter I received, no matter who sent it, from Desert Shield & Desert Storm. Like others here, I didn’t (couldn’t) write back to every “Dear Any Soldier” author, though I did correspond with a few. It was particularly moving to see the letters from elementary school children, some of whom were just learning to write, and the heartfelt support from older soldiers who wrote in to remind us we weren’t forgotten. That part was pretty cool.

Jomer Belisario, U.S. Navy veteran

ABSOLUTELY. Deployed twice on a ship which had no contact with the outside world at times (no internet or phone comms) and days can get so routine, mundane, boring, and a little depressing at times. So receiving an unexpected package, even if it's from a complete stranger, is a huge morale boost because it reminds us that there's people out there who took the time and spent their own money to make and mail off this care package and people who really do appreciate the work that we do and the long hours that we put into our job.

I still remember getting my first ever care package during the middle of my first deployment which contained letters from elementary school kids thanking me for my service and I had to go hide in a corner to prevent my shipmates from seeing the tears form in my eyes.

All in all, keep the letters coming! Support the troops!

Martin Bayer, veteran

We used to receive boxes filled with pictures and cookies from elementary schools across the US. Unfortunately, the cookies were stale by the time they reached us, but it was nice know that people cared. A lot of people put time and money into baking cookies for a bunch of dirty sailors.

We never got actual letters, just a bunch of pictures drawn by the kids. The pictures from the girls were always of homes, families, and happy suns in the sky. They would have pleasant messages like “come home soon” and “be safe” on them too.

The pictures from the boys were a scream though. Most all of them were of tanks, soldiers, burning buildings and explosions. The messages were usually things like “send me a gun” or “blow something up for me”. They were great for some laughs.

So I guess you wouldn’t have called them comforting as much as amusing. They were something different to look at for a little while.