An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
If you’re currently reading this then I’m probably going to guess that you either have a loved one going into basic soon or they’re already currently in it. My name is DeAnna, I’m 19 years old and my boyfriend Christian is currently gong through basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina and is scheduled to graduate on February 12th, 2016.
The reason I wanted to create this blog is not only for marine/recruit girlfriends but also for any family member or wife/husband of a marine/recruit. I wanted to create a blog where people could share their fun times with their recruits/marines or talk and get advice from other people on how to deal with current situations they’re going through. I hope that by this one post it will bring a great deal of relief to you because I’m going to write a lot and there is going to be a LOT of advice!
For starters, when my boyfriend left for basic I had no idea about the marine lifestyle or anything about basic training. For some they have had past family members go in but I was on my own. Granted, my boyfriend tried to explain somewhat what he thought he would be going through. He was raised in a military household while I, on the other hand, was not.
When They Leave For Basic
When any loved one leaves for basic training it’s never going to be easy. It’s going to be stressful for the both of you. If you’re a girlfriend or a wife of a recruit going in I would highly recommend not taking things personally if he lashes out at you for no reason one to two weeks before going in. Emotions run high and believe it or not, our guys are nervous. They have no idea what they are about to endure for the next 13 weeks of their lives. Just keep in mind that they may say things that they don’t mean out of fear and anxiety.
The first week that they’re gone will be the longest week of your entire life. I was used to talking to my boyfriend every second of the day for the past half of a year and then suddenly all source of communication just stops and you’re in nothing but silence. But fear not girls, the letters will come! If you’re anything like me, I am highly anxious about everything and I will jump to every worst possible conclusion there is. So before your boyfriend leaves he may say that he’ll write you that first week or even the second week. I am warning you now, do not expect a letter the first week. They don’t get a chance to write home until a week after they’ve been there and that’s just a form letter to the family. If you’re a spouse then they may send the form letter to you but if you’re a girlfriend, you have to wait. Luckily for me his family texted me his address as soon as they got it but some girlfriends aren’t so lucky.
The letters are one of the most stressful parts of basic training for us. You’re going to be looking in your mailbox every day and you’re probably going to get looks from your mailman that you’re crazy but don’t worry, we all do it! If you’re like me, I had this crazy fear that my boyfriend would change his feelings for me in there and change his mind about me. I went crazy. During that week I wished that I had someone else’s perspective so I could know if what I’m feeling is normal or not. Thus one of the reasons I decided to start this blog!
You are not crazy for having the fear that they’ll change their minds about you. I went through it and I’m sure many others have gone through it as well. My boyfriend promised me that it would be two weeks at the latest before I received a letter and at the end of the second week I almost went into a full blown anxiety attack because still, there was no letter. Shortly after on that Monday though I finally got one and cried tears of joy!
One thing you have to remember about the letter writing process is that every single platoon is different. Every single recruit is different. They can promise that they will write you as soon as they can but once they get there they are thrusted into a world they have never seen before. Every single recruit handles it differently and they are the busiest they will ever be. They endure more pain and sweat in one week then you will the whole 13 weeks you wait for them to graduate. So, don’t expect a letter right away. Many recruits have to get adjusted to the new routine they’ve been thrown into and when they have time to write, I promise they will write you. If you’re a family member of a recruit then you are guaranteed that form letter the second week they’re there. But if you’re a girlfriend, you have to either wait for him to write you or wait to get the address from the family.
Every recruit gets four hours of free time on Sunday’s. How they choose to spend their time is up to their discretion. They could use it to write letters, they could use it to go to church, or they could use it to catch up on studying. Like I said before, every recruit is different.
My boyfriend is the guide of his platoon. That means that he is at the top of his class and is required to train and motivate all of the recruits in his platoon and he is expected to be the best of the best and set the prime example. Every platoon has a guide and they are selected during the first week after they are evaluated and the initial strength test. If your recruit has been selected as the guide of his platoon, expect even less letters. It sucks, I know, but they have twice as much pressure as the other recruits there and they have no free time whatsoever. My boyfriend goes to church on Sunday’s and has to write me after lights out due to being so busy. He writes me when he can but do not be discouraged if they don’t write you right away or frequently. Do not expect a letter every week because i’m telling you right now that most likely won’t happen. Some get letters from their recruits once a week, but most don’t. This does not mean they don’t love you it just means that they are extremely busy and simply do not have the time.
Tips Before Sending Letters
When that opportunity does arrive where you finally get to start writing your recruit a letter these are some very good tips to follow:
1. Do not send anything to your recruit unless requested by them. If you send your recruit anything aside from a letter they are instructed to open it in front of their DI’s (Drill Instructors) and it could cost them and their platoon a lot of extra work that you don’t want to put on them.
2. Do not send any pictures containing nudity. You’d think that this would be obvious but you’d be surprised.
3. Do not spray your letters with perfume or put lipstick marks or anything on the letters you send him! Do not draw hearts, do not draw anything. Only put his address and a return address on the envelope. If you do so, you are risking your recruit getting into trouble and having them or their DI read your letter aloud to the entire platoon.
4. Do not refer to your recruit as MARINE or any other title. They have not earned the title of a Marine until they pass the crucible and complete the emblem ceremony during the 12th week.
5. Do not write your recruit any negative thoughts or anything negative at all. They are going through way more than you know there. They wake up at about 3 am every morning and go to bed at 8:00 every night. Between those times they are working themselves non-stop and continuously getting yelled at. Your letters are their escape time to get away from the yelling. Not to receive more negativity. Even if you are missing them like crazy and i know it’s hard… do not tell them to please come home or anything like that. What they need right now during these 13 weeks is for you to be their rock! Nothing less. That is probably the most important role we play in their basic training. The letters mean the entire world to them and they make my boyfriend so happy.
The more letters, the better. I write one every single day and mail it out but if you don’t want to spend that much on postage I would still recommend writing every single day, just mailing out your letters once every three days. Your recruit may be too busy to sit down and write a letter but they are always in the mood to read them! Write write write. Seriously, it is so important. It helps them so much more than you know!
What Do I Write Him?
If you don’t know what to write to your recruit then here are some tips that I have:
Tips To Get Through The Agonizing Wait!
I know that it seems impossible that you will be able to undergo three months without your recruit. The time seems to go by slower and slower with each day that passes but trust me, if you keep yourself busy… time will go by fast! I always think about my recruit wherever I go and for me, time goes by the quickest when I focus on him. Which is weird. There are ways to feel closer to your recruit while he is gone! Here are some tips that I have:
Hm… I’m trying to think if there’s anything else that I’m leaving out but I think I’ve covered all of the bases! I guess I wanted to write this because when my boyfriend left I had no clue what to expect or how to handle it. I thought I was going crazy and insane and I just know that a post like this would have really helped me get through it. The tips and everything would have really helped! That’s why I decided to write this.
If you have a loved one in basic training or have a loved one going into basic training always feel free to talk to me about anything! I’m still going through the process and waiting for my boyfriend to graduate but I just thought I would let everyone know my point of view and my tips and pointers! :)
I’m not always on here, so if you do have any questions feel free to inbox me!
Update For Me:
My boyfriend is currently going into week four… so he has been there for almost a month and a week now. We are almost out of Phase One! Wahoooo! Week 4 is also swim week and since he doesn’t know how to swim… please keep the prayers for him in mind! I’m hoping all goes well but I will keep you updated! <3
Best of luck to all of your recruits. I hope they are nothing but successful and have positive outcomes! Sending blessings your way, xoxo.